Wellis Spas, based in Hungary, was one of the most talked about stories of the National Pool and Spa Show in Las Vegas last week. The European hot tub maker took the show by storm with a large display of hot tubs and swim spas in an effort to break into the United States hot tub and swim spa market.
Since it’s inception in 2003, Wellis Spas has recognized the demand for quality products in the European markets and made strides to position themselves to capitalize on that consumer demand. Wellis has been one of the fastest growing hot tub manufactures in Europe over the last decade and the more recent investments they’ve made in their manufacturing facility and cutting edge production techniques has put them in a nice position for even more unprecedented growth. With over 300 employees and capacity for more production the company is seeking opportunities here in the United States. The national Pool and Spa show in Las Vegas is the place to be for making relationship with dealers and retailers across the United States. Dealers come to this large industry show to shop for new hot tub lines and products so it’s no wonder Wellis chose to go big when displaying at the show. With that said, there are already some 80 hot tub brands across North America and the industry is somewhat saturated. It will be interesting to see if Wellis is able to find success in this already well established market. In fact, many North American hot tub manufacturers have found a great deal of success exporting to the European markets in the last 10 years because that’s where all of the growth and demand has been especially in the midst of the 2009 recession when the hot tub industry experienced major contraction here in the United States. It is also challenging as an overseas manufacturer to have an effective presence in the U.S. because manufacturing lead times, service, and support are all critical when competing with domestic manufacturers. Wellis will have to figure out a way to workaround these challenges if they are going to be successful.
All things considered, competition is always a good thing because it improves quality and creates new innovations so we feel confident that Wellis Spas expansion into the United States is sure to shake things up a bit and have all of the other manufacturers stepping up their game.