The UK’s residential swimming pool sector is roaring in to the 2020s with the challenge to meet an ever-more discerning client with bespoke pools and complicated installs. Ocea UK, a main supplier to the UK trade, says demand is at its highest ever level with an ever-evolving market where clients demand a turnkey approach to their home water leisure. “Five years ago we just supplied covers while ten per cent of our turnover was more complicated pool projects,” comments Ocea UK’s Managing Director, Alan Thorne. “These days those joined-up projects are nearer to 80 per cent of our orders that are bespoke builds and more complicated installs,” he explains. Ocea UK offer automated slatted cover system for top-end pools with the back-up their Infinity range of security covers to ensure all angles are literally covered.
“While covers used to be sold as an odd-on, now they are part and parcel of every pool project undertaken,” Alan observes. He says customers are far more educated and informed when it comes to energy efficiency and hi-tech automatic control of their pools “Once upon a time there was a pool and the builder would send their guys to dig a hole and fill it,” Alan points out. “I don’t think there is any such thing as a straight forward pool any more. “Now there can be umpteen variations on that pool as builders are insulating in different ways, using different techniques, many remote access features via wi-fi, and we have to move with the times to tailor our systems appropriately,” he says. “It could be possible, ten years ago, for a company to send a sketch with dimensions and we could make them a cover”.
“You cannot do that these days with so many more aspects especially timing and fitting in with other contractors on site to a meticulous timetable.” Covers are, more than ever, an essential part of the sale with energy efficiency as a key factor. Alan has also noticed a geographic movement of wealth that is growing from just the southern areas, further north. “The market is growing in size and geography,” Alan reports. “You used to have a pool in sunnier climates, but we can see wealth is spreading as we receive more orders from northern regions with educated customers who are also expecting more for their money.”
Recent recruitment and restructuring is enabling Ocea UK to adapt to the changing market and better support its trade customers. “Automated slatted covers remain the crème de la crème, not least because it disappears in to the floor, but we offer a cover solution regardless of what is specified. “It is now the norm for a cover to always be included,” he adds. “We are simply inundated with enquiries and have seen our role change from not so much sales people as specialist advisors who support our trade customers.”