Sales surge in 2020 provides welcome boost for wet leisure industry
The results of the 10th annual Wet Leisure Survey produced by leading independent distributor Golden Coast revealed some fascinating insights into how the sector performed in 2020.
Not least of these was the fact that despite — or perhaps because of — the pandemic, the market remained remarkably buoyant with 87 percent of respondents reporting OK, good or extremely good sales.
Created by Golden Coast to help the industry by gauging thoughts, feedback and statistics across the entire spectrum of stakeholders, the Wet Leisure Survey is completed anonymously by respondents working all around the UK, and is supported by many organisations including BSPF, SPATA, BISHTA and ISPE, as well as industry press.
Golden Coast Managing Director Jamie Adams explains: “Based on the responses we received it seems the sector has fared well despite the turbulent times created by COVID-19. 2020 was certainly an unprecedented year, providing countless challenges for the entire nation. That said, it is clear that as an industry, wet leisure provides customers with products and services that aid health, wellbeing and relaxation, and perhaps there was never a time when this was valued more.”
Hot tub sales in particular soared. The companies that took part in the survey saw a 30 percent sales increase in the hot tub market. This could be due to the population spending more time at home, with many being furloughed, during an exceptionally warm Spring and Summer.
“Historically the weather has been the biggest influence on what kind of year we have,” adds Jamie. “Of course, COVID and the initial lockdown impacted everything at first, but we were aided by the sunniest May on record and hottest August in 17 years.
“It seems that customers were spending money on their pools and spas to make the most of their time at home. So it stands to reason that many respondents in the Wet Leisure Survey have reported a boom in areas like installation and maintenance. In fact, above-ground pools also saw their best year ever recorded by the survey.”
In terms of sales, 96 percent were attributed to middle and top-end product ranges, implying many customers were investing in quality. Top-end sales were most prevalent in the South East and South West.
Perhaps reflecting a wider uncertainty across society, only 16 percent of respondents expect business conditions to be extremely good in 2021, while 39 percent expect them to be good, given that the same contributing factors are unlikely be repeated this year.
“COVID had the most immediate effect on the wet leisure industry, but it remains to be seen how Brexit will impact the UK economy, and in particular what this will do to import and export tariffs, which is something many participants in the survey highlighted,” says Jamie.
“The survey has always been an invaluable barometer of what the industry is thinking and how it is performing, with the feedback and statistics helping to inform decisions over the coming months. As difficult as 2020 was for everyone, it seems some positives can be taken, so let’s hope that continues throughout 2021.”The full Wet Leisure Survey results are available at wetleisure.com.