Hot tub retailers often find themselves in close proximity to one
or more direct competitors, not unlike furniture stores or
dealerships in an auto mall.
One example is Accent Spas and Hot Tubs, which sits along
Interstate 45 in Spring, Texas, a few miles from The
Established in 1981, it’s among three hot tub dealerships
within a mile or so of one another.
But the current recession, and subsequent drop in demand for hot
tubs, has thinned the ranks considerably in a number of markets,
“There are definitely fewer spa companies,” says Amy
Barto, co-owner of Barto Pool & Spa in Phoenixville, Pa., who
cited as proof the dearth of competition at a recent home
“Our two main competitors have dropped out,” she adds.
“There [were] only three spa companies now, where there used
to be at least six — and one of those three is from New
Based on the latest data from the Association of Pool & Spa
Professionals, residential portable hot tub sales peaked in 2004,
with 417,000 units sold. The numbers have declined steadily since,
bottoming out in 2009 at 175,000 tubs; in 2010, sales ticked up
slightly to 182,000.
In the Bay area city of Dublin, Calif., David Seim says a local
dealer base that three years ago numbered a half-dozen or more has
been whittled down to just two.
“Around 2008 we had 20 within a 50-mile radius,” says
the general manager of Dublin Spa Center. “Now we have about
four. There’s just a lot less competition out