Italian Pool Building Dips By Eight Per Cent

The Italian pool and spa sector is stuck in a deep recession. Facing considerable cost increases for both the population and industry in energy costs and tax burdens, the downturn looks set to continue. The knock-on effect has been a fall in employment as companies struggle to recover debt or gain credit. The situation has made the pool and spa market a precarious business. Although requests for new constructions are still in demand, companies put themselves economically at risk to fulfil those requests as they juggle the demands of receiving payments while earning sufficient monies to pay their suppliers. This underlying current is deterring new clients from taking the pool plunge as with an uncertain future and, feel, they need to take a rational and prudent approach; postponing decisions to purchase big items like swimming pools. An estimated 19.000 new pools were installed in 2011, which was eight per cent down on the previous year. On the plus side, one of the biggest area of potential for improvement is the growth in the wellness market. In general, the wellness market substantially held its own, even though margins are believed to have fallen. Demand continues to grow even though the time to confirm contracts has been lengthened. There is still room to be optimistic for the Italian market. The total number of pools for residential use is around 300,000 that equates to 250,000 in-ground and 50.000 above ground, for a total population of around 60 million people. It is interesting to note that in Italy, the ratio between users and number of completed pools is the lowest in Europe (EUSA countries), therefore there is a large margin for growth. In addition, the majority of existing pools more than 10 years old and therefore need renovation and modernisation. The perspective from Assopiscine, the Italian association of pool industry professionals, for the next five years predicts a continuing slight decrease in new builds. In the general maintenance and servicing sectors, predictions include an increase in automated appliances such as dosing systems as well as heavy interest in cleaning systems and general accessories.

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