It was a good year all around for the wet leisure industry but the spa market was particularly buoyant and some businesses in that sector had an excellent season.
So it seems only natural to look at those respondents who described 2014 as being an ‘extremely good’ year. That group has grown to 15.5% of the respondents in this year’s survey; up from 10.8% in 2013.
These businesses predominantly operate in the South East, South West and the Midlands but Wales and the North are also represented. In terms of staff numbers they conform closely to the survey average, so size as represented by employee numbers doesn’t seem to be a factor.
They are slightly more likely to operate in the spa and sauna sectors than the survey average and they put equal emphasis on installation, consumables, service and repairs suggesting that they give a more ‘rounded’ service than the industry norm.
If we look at the numbers of products they sold, we see the first real difference from the survey average results. They sold a lot of spas; over twice as many per business as the industry average.
In terms of marketing and advertising, they were very much more likely to be using social media than the rest of the industry.
And do they have concerns about next year? Yes, they do. Like many of us they worry about the future of the economy and the weather forecast. They are also concerned about being able to recruit staff of a high enough quality. Perhaps it is that focus on having the best possible employees that has helped lead to their success?
If we look across the industry as a whole, spa sales are particularly strong in the middle price range. Sales those respondents describe as being middle-market are predominantly spas. Over 75% of spa sales in the UK that the survey records are in this category. And really, that should come as no surprise.
“There seems to be a lot more consumer confidence in the Hot Tub sector and more disposable income available allowing for more £7- 10k sales.”
That is obviously good news for the whole industry although some respondents sounded a note of caution.
A greater volume of spa and hot tub sales could encourage cheaper foreign imports to the UK and businesses should use social media and marketing to inform customers of the potential problems there.
“The Internet selling cheap Chinese tubs for £2,500 is stopping it from being an incredible year and is giving hot tubs a bad name.”
In other sectors, sauna and steam sales continued to be strong as health and well-being maintained their importance as motivating factors to purchase across the whole economy.