How good a year was that?

2021, like every year, was ushered in with a host of predictions. In the Chinese calendar it was the year of the Ox forecasting good fortune and hard work. The UN designated 2021 as International Year of Peace and Trust and the UK media saw 2021 as the year that vaccines would save our summer, or Easter, or sports event… or Christmas, but how did it pan out?

The thing that comes most immediately to mind when I think of the beginning of 2021 is a trump. Not the last few days of the Donald’s presidency, but Joe Wicks blasting off with his live mega trump at the start of his first online PT session of the year.

It might have been a sign that the year may not go exactly as planned.

A year full of surprises.

The first COVID-19 vaccine had been granted regulatory approval on 2nd December 2020 and by mid February 2021 over 17million people had been jabbed. People weren’t inoculated nor were they vaccinated. They queued up for their jab. They were jabbed.

Perhaps the idea was to make it more popular. It seems to have worked.

It has become the most successful mass jabbing in the country’s history and for many people, after the government’s rather shaky record on lockdowns and advice as to whether to wear a mask or not, that in itself has come as something of a surprise.

Of course surprises come in two flavours: good and bad.

We were promised that the jab would be our get-out-of-jail-free card but, although it has made a tremendous difference to hospital admissions and transmission rates, almost a year into the program many of us are still wearing a mask and many are still working from home.

The year hasn’t turned out like we thought it would.

Is it warm in here?

Climate change is running Covid a close second for ‘crisis of the year.’ A common factor is that both have the potential to significantly impact everyone who lives on the planet.

Another common factor is that nation’s are reacting to both challenges in very different ways and with differing levels of success. Greta Thunberg described COP26 as ‘blah, blah, blah’ but she also made the point that, “Many are asking what it’ll take for people in power to wake up. But let’s be clear – they’re already awake. They know exactly what they’re doing to maintain business as usual.”

From our perspective at Golden Coast we have seen climate change and Covid accelerate a move towards many products our industry has been pushing for some time now such as heat pumps, energy efficient pool pumps, solar powered products and more efficient filtration.

We have also been looking more closely at ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance.), which helps guide our policies on issues such as our carbon footprint, how we work with staff and interact within our local community and how we put in place internal practices that lead to effective decision making. ESG will soon be standard practice for all businesses.

Save, save, spend.

Although there are varying figures bandied about, the Financial Times reckoned that post lockdown, Britons were preparing to splash the cash and are on course to have amassed an extra £180 Billion in their bank accounts. That money comes from holidays not taken and people only commuting as far as the spare bedroom or kitchen table.

With such low interest rates as we have experienced for some time now, equity release has seen a 30-40% increase this year and with a nation more in tune with home, health and wellness it would be a reasonable expectation for a good percentage of that to filter down to our industry.

Judging from what we hear as a distributor, it’s clear to see the industry has had a good year and it certainly looks like there are still some good times to come but it’s always worth considering squirreling away some of your hard-earned profits for that rainy day ahead.

Pools, spas and wellness.

The anticipation of getting together again at Coventry in February is a bit like a child waiting for Christmas morning. It just can’t come quickly enough.

SPATEX promises to be a fantastic opportunity for the industry to spend a few quality days together exchanging news and views and generally enjoying the chance to relax amongst friends.

It is also the time that we get to share the Wet Leisure Industry Survey Report with everyone in the industry.

Now in its eleventh year, the survey brings together facts and figures from all types of businesses and from all over the country and shows us all how the industry as a whole has been fairing and where the best opportunities for future growth might be.

The astonishing thing is that we appear to have had a great year against a background of issues ranging from lockdowns and stock shortages to price increases and shipping delays but that’s just from our own experience and from talking to our friends in the industry.

If you haven’t taken the survey yet can I urge you to do so as the more responses we get the more accurate the picture is. You can take the survey here.

And finally…

2021 has been a voyage of discovery for us all and I think I would be right in saying that as 2021 draws to a close we’re all feeling pretty tired and looking forward to a well-earned break so I hope the year has been good to you and can I wish you and yours compliments of the season.