If a rising tide lifts all boats, so the saying goes, it makes sense that the hot tub industry is gaining momentum. With the economy in a strong position and both salaries and discretionary income on the rise, hot tub dealers are seeing a modest uptick in sales.
Sixty-seven percent of those who took our State of the Industry hot tub survey report their sales are increasing — an 8 percent increase from last year. Many of these dealers say the sales boost is simply the result of a healthier economy, while others credit the growth to improved marketing; hot tub retailers are increasingly turning to lead generation campaigns, social media and SEO marketing to help get the word out.
Arguably the biggest development in the hot tub industry over the past few years is the renewed commitment to the health and wellness message among both manufacturers and dealers alike. In spring 2015, Watkins announced it had changed its name to Watkins Wellness and debuted a new slogan — "Feel good. Live well." — designed to tap into the health-conscious market. Other spa manufacturers, like Marquis, recently broke into the swim spa market for the first time. And others continue to make improvements to existing models by adding more hydrotherapy options as well as workout options.
Last year, 48 percent of SOI hot tub retailers reported they sold swim spas. This year, the numbers have climbed to 59 percent. While more retailers are on board with swim spas, many say they're still waiting for the category to take off.
As one survey taker wrote:
"Swim spas in theory are really good. But because of the lack of education to the consumer in our greater market, the value is not perceived. Personally, I feel there's a niche market for the units, but our manufacturer has convinced us that it is the thing of the future so we're looking towards the future, not the present."
Where does the hot tub industry stand? For more on revenue, spa features, big box competition, preferred brands and more, check out the full report below.