The tide has turned for the UK’s hot tub retailers who have seen sales stall amid growing consumer concerns for the country’s economic fortunes, the escalating cost of living and alarming energy costs that have trebled. After two years of fending off enquiries as the must-have product for home-owners, pro-active retailers are now back on the county and home interest consumer show circuit, working hard to close sales.
Hydropool took its re-designed high profile exhibition display to major consumer events like the Ideal Home Show and specialist events like the World of Park and Leisure Homes. Crucially, in-house staff supported retailers at county shows all over the UK including the Jersey Boat Show. Those who have ridden the recession wave previously are not surprised to hear reports of high-end sales such as swim spas and top price hot tubs holding their own while entry level product struggle.
The focus for the majority is on maximising the potential of add-on sales like replacement covers, outdoor kitchens, pergolas and core water treatment as well as accessory sales. Many are diversifying with a varied range of home wellness offerings from home fitness equipment to pool tables and from saunas to decking. Others have dipped into the home hot tub hire market to keep essential revenue flowing into the business.
“The low end is dead but the high end remains healthy,” confirmed Richard Hart of the Aqua Warehouse Group. “Our retail showroom is doing exceptionally well,” he added. Companies like Sunbeach Spas are pinning their colours to energy efficiency in a bid to quell running costs fears. They are collaborating with Climacube to bring to market the Sunbeach HB1200; a compact, heat-pump type heater unit specifically designed to work with hot tubs up to 1200 litres capacity. Climacube’s patented thermodynamic technology brings up to 80% savings on power usage and is up to 60% quicker in heating.
With stock still an issue in many areas, good timing then for Paramount, normally know as a pool supplier, to see the potential of its Thermofoam cover material for swim spas. Available now, from its UK manufacturing base, the thermofoam cover system is a bespoke offering, designed to keep swim spas safer and energy-efficient. Easy to open and close manually and available in eight colours, the material consists of a 6mm Therma- float blanket encapsulated within two layers of 630gm fabric safety cover material.