The private swimming pool, a French passion

If there are those who do not have time to take a dip, and even less to paddle on a slice of inflatable watermelon, it is the swimming pool specialists, drowned under the controls. Diving in its swimming pool has indeed become, in recent years, a French passion. With three million existing basins (one for 27 inhabitants), our country is the European champion, far ahead of Spain and Italy, and the second in the world, behind the United States. Orders took off from 2014 and exploded during the first containment of 2020, leaping 28% compared to 2019, or 197,000 swimming pools delivered, including 60,000 underground basins. “We will not reach 200,000 per year, because the industrial tool does not follow, the 3,000 swimming pool specialists in France are already working to the maximum of their capacities and are even lacking in manpower”, notes Stéphane Figueroa, president of the Federation of swimming pool professionals (FPP).

Everything contributes to the desire to swim at home, not only the repeated heatwaves or the industrialization of the sector, which makes prices more accessible, but also a movement of withdrawal into the home and the family unit, exacerbated by the Covid pandemic. 19 and travel restrictions, far from crowded, chlorinated, noisy municipal swimming pools and sometimes theaters of incivility (and we are not just talking about those who forgot to pick up their Curly).

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Habits upset

The French have confirmed, from poll to poll, the attachment to the house and the garden and, especially for the past two years, have been planning less and less to move away from it: “The confinement has upset habits and caused an unprecedented drop in the rate of departures on vacation, from 62%, before the crisis, to 42%, in May 2020, explains Sandra Hoibian, of the Research Center for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions (Credoc). Unheard of in more than forty years since, by way of comparison, during the 2008 financial crisis, this rate had fallen by only 4 points. Financial reasons are the first reason, but there is also the difficulty to organize and, for a fraction of the French, the distance or even the deterioration of the links that the crisis has revealed between them and their relatives. “ This desire to stay at home, to tinker, to garden, therefore also translates into the desire to have a swimming pool of one’s own, hence the soaring market.

“The sun and the heat are our best commercials”, proclaims David Moreau, one of the founders of Esprit Piscine, a group of thirty professionals, specializing in rather high-end tailor-made and underground concrete pools, which delivers around 300 per year at prices ranging from 25,000 to 300,000 euros. “No more azure blue bean: the trend is for simple, rectangular shapes, torrent gray color, with a wide step where parents can sit, with their feet in the water, and watch the children, and sometimes, a space whirlpool “, explains Mr. Moreau.

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