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The life aquatic: swimming pool ownership in Australia

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January–December 2014 (n=15,944). Base: Australians 14+

With Australian summers getting warmer (2014-2015 was the fifth-warmest on record) and sharks making their presence felt on our beaches, what’s a sweltering Aussie to do? Sure, a cold shower will do the trick, but for 12% of the nation’s population, relief can be found in the form of a home swimming pool.

Renowned for summer maximums that regularly surpass the 40-degree mark, as well as for its sharky beaches, Perth is Australia’s swimming-pool heartland. Almost 18% of residents in the Western Australian capital live in a household with a swimming pool, well above the national average. Pool ownership is also above average in Sydney (16% of residents) and Brisbane (15%).

The capital city with the lowest proportion of home swimming pools is Hobart (where only 4% of people have a pool at home), with regional Tasmania even lower than that (3%). In fact, swimming pool ownership is generally less common in country Australia than in its capitals, with one key exception:  regional Queensland, where the proportion of people with a swimming pool (17%) is almost as high as in Perth.

Swimming pool ownership around Australia

swimming-pools-by-state

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January–December 2014 (n=15,944). Base: Australians 14+

Besides a warm climate, the presence of children in a household increases the likelihood of swimming pool ownership. Just over 15% of Australians with kids aged 6-11 have a pool at home, a figure that jumps to just over 20% for those with older children (12-15 years). Among people with kids aged under six, however, the ownership rate is even lower than for childless folks (just under 10% vs just over 10%).

Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Nobody who has flown into Perth during daylight hours would be surprised to learn that it leads the country in pool ownership: this fact is strikingly visible from the air. Considering how hot Perth summers are, and how long they seem to last, owning a pool could almost be seen as a survival measure.

“Although temperatures in regional WA are frequently much higher than they are in Perth, pool ownership is much less widespread. Indeed, the same can be said of country areas in all states except Queensland. Given that the mean annual household income in regional Australia is 25% less than in capital cities ($79,000 vs $99,000), the reason for this could well be economic.

“Of course, kids usually love swimming pools, and people who live in households with children are generally more likely to have pools than those without (except when the kids are under six, in which case, safety is an issue).

“Factor in additional, fluctuating influences such as water restrictions and consumer confidence, and it becomes even more important for pool and spa retailers to understand their target market in depth: where they live, their financial circumstances, and what kind of household they live in, for starters.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2