A report on the level of hot tub ownership sparked a tidal wave of national publicity surrounding home spas last month. A much welcomed shot in the arm for the spa trade, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Express, several radio stations and a major feature on the BBC One Show raised awareness of the benefits of owning a back garden hot tub. The source of the media interest was an inaugural report, commissioned by Lloyds TSB Insurance. Garden Values is the first part of the bi-annual Britain at Home report designed to build a comprehensive landscape of British home life and spending priorities, The report, the insurance group says, was based on research of 2,000 UK homeowners carried out between February and March 2013. The research highlighted that Britons are increasingly choosing to ‘make over’ their outside spaces with luxury lifestyle items, such as hot tubs (10%), trampolines (22%) and summer houses (8%). In fact, the report went on to identify, that 20% of households in the Midlands all own home spas. The report quoted a source from the British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association, confirming that hot tub sales are rising steadily year on year, with the miserable summer of 2012 only helping to boost the number of hot tubs sold.
Whilst the publicity was welcome, with 24.3 million households in the UK, the Lloyds TSB Insurance figure equates to 2.43 million hot tubs in British homes. Official industry sources put the number of hot tubs in the UK at about 100,000.
“The problem with the article in the Times is it was a pack of lies and completely misleading,” said one leading industry figure, who asked not to be named. “If anyone puts their life savings into setting up a hot tub dealership based on this information it will be a tragic disgrace, sloppy Journalism at its worst and nothing for our industry to crow about.”
The report goes on to quote that, on average, we spend just over half an hour in our garden every day – although nearly a third (31%) would like to spend more time in the garden. The average value of a UK garden is £1,928 and the average amount people have spent on the garden furniture and decorations in the past year comes to £894. Almost one in 10 (8%) admits to spending money on the garden as they can’t afford to move home. Horticultural expert Frances Tophill, presenter of ITV’s Love your Garden, is quoted in the report as saying: “We don’t often get a chance to peek over the garden fence of the nation, but as homeowners become too time-poor for gardening, features like decking, summer houses and leisure items have moved into prime position in our back gardens.” As one in five claims to use the garden for entertaining friends, it perhaps doesn’t come as a surprise that 29% now own a barbecue, while one in 10 has invested in patio heaters to stay warm outside