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54-59 HOT TUBS:SPN Master pages 19/11/08 02:08 Page 3
here’s no point in denying it. The too many brands who thought they didn’t ground pools in terms of being hardest hit.
UK’s hot tub market ends 2008 in a have to promote and the internet would Swimming Pool News spoke to a lot of
bloody and battered state. sell their tubs.” dealers and distributors and the message
How bad a state it’s in no-one really “I can see 20 brands disappearing over was surprisingly up beat. There were four
knows. Two established brands in the UK – the next 10 months and we shouldn’t be basic messages:
HotSprings and Sundance have failed in surprised and we shouldn’t panic. Some Yes, sales will continue to be tough
the first two weeks in November. Up to as have spent too much on promotion – but spas in the £6,000 plus price
many as half a dozen other companies are others haven’t spent enough. The ones ranges are still doing well – and
known to be finding trading perilously who have got it right and will survive have customers respond to innovation and
difficult and the industry expects to see invested in good products at the right uniqueness
more failures. Up to 20 brands altogether price with good stock levels and The need for advertising and
may disappear. aggressive web, local and trade continued quality promotion and good
The specialist hot tub industry, which advertising. They’ve developed good PR is now essential. “ We just need to
started the year predicting annual sales of dealer relationships, motivated and work support anything which gets the hot
around 7,000 has had to lower its hard with their dealers and they will have a tub message over to the consumer”
expectations. How much the market has good year. Margins may be lower but sales BISHTA now has to be more proactive
slipped is almost impossible to tell but in will probably increase. and lead the industry
the second half of the year some “Is it a bad thing that some will Quality and new technology linked in
manufacturers say the overall market has disappear? I think it’s very sad when to the ‘wellness’ benefits are still great
fallen by between 20 and 25%. brands like Sundance are effected but messages to get out to the consumer
In the United States the estimate is that there‘s a chance someone will pick it up
the hot tub market has crashed by as much and support it. Others we as a trade won’t On the down side, the impact of
as 50% in the last few years. The ‘glass be sad to see go.” liquidations and companies going into
half-full’ news is that there are still 250,000 Even now it’s difficult to get the exact administration could leave a lot of hot tubs
hot tubs sold there every year. number of brands available to prospective being sold cheaply on the market.
The British market has had some very UK hot tub purchasers. “All those hot tubs linked in with failures
good years recently climbing to a market A south coast dealer told us: “I counted will have to be sold and none of us know
value of over £50m with another estimated up to 93 once and I didn’t get them all. what impact that will have, “another
£17m in extra sales through chemical and You can add another 15 which I don’t distributor said.
accessory sales. know about.” Troy Labelle from Canadian Spas said
One distributor told us; “I think this was As little as five years ago there were as the market was challenging but there were
always going to be a tough year – but not few as 30 brands. So the brand explosion still consumers who had discretionary
this tough. It was clear at Christmas last has been dramatic. income to spend on luxury items.
year there were too many products Leo Reynolds committee chairman of “Seventeen million people took a holiday
chasing too few sales. The boom hot tub the hot tub trade association, BISHTA was last year. What we need to do is persuade
sales in other parts of the world had spot on when he confirmed recently: ”If those people to install a hot tub.”
everyone looking at the UK and thinking – you add the pressure which has been on He said in any downturn it was the
there’s a good new market – let’s go margins then it’s clear that the hot tub companies that hadn’t got their costs
there. The result was too many hot tubs, market is probably second only to above- related to sales right who would suffer. ”I
THIS: Spa Crest Europe were one of a number of companies who exhibited at Piscine in Lyons trying to give 2009 sales an early boost
OPPOSITE: The imported Riviera range distributed by Certikin
Visit our website at DECEMBER 08 swimming pool news 55
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