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2020 State Of The Pool Industry

2020 State Of The Pool Industry

We all know 2020 hasn’t been the best year—well, quite frankly, it’s been atrocious. COVID-19 has been a devastating pandemic to not only the United States of America, but the entire world.

We’ve faced challenge after challenge in society, and that includes industries like the inground pool industry.

Since we’ve all spent more time at home this year, everyone has searched for ways to keep themselves occupied. Some have taken up new hobbies, some have enjoyed the outdoors more, some have been able to work from home, and many have taken up a number of other things. But for us in the pool industry, we’ve seen an increase in business as many people have begun the process of purchasing and installing an inground pool.

This has been great for pool builders like us as business is booming, but COVID-19 has affected the industry in other, not-so-great ways and may continue to do so through 2021 and beyond.

So, we’ll be taking a look at how the inground pool industry has been affected in 2020 as well as some of the ways the industry may change heading into 2021.

Expected Price Increases

As is normal as we head into a new year in the pool industry, prices of pool products can be expected to increase. Usually, these prices see very small increases as they keep roughly the same pace as (or less than) the rate of inflation of the US Dollar.

Price increase are a result of increases in manufacturing costs and tend to occur every other year. However, we could see many products rise in price due to the effects of COVID-19 on the swimming pool industry. Whether that increase in price is more than expected remains to be seen.

Changes in Manufacturing

Every industry in the world has been impacted by COVID-19, especially through manufacturing processes.

Not only is it difficult to get products shipped in a timely manner nowadays, it’s difficult to get specific products and materials made in the first place. Non-essential items have been put on the back burner, so-to-speak in order to provide the world with cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies to combat the pandemic as best as possible.

Therefore, the rate at which pool products, equipment, and other materials are manufactured is slower than usual. This is due also in part to the safety protocols put in place which slow down the rate at which these products are produced, including social distancing and sanitization practices. Additionally, many manufacturers have had to lay off employees. And we know what happens when there are less workers—yep, fewer products available.

So, as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the world, we expect that manufacturers will continue to struggle to make enough products available not just for the pool industry, but for every other industry as well.

Increased Demand

We probably all know the cycle of supply and demand: when demand is low, supply is low, and when demand increases, supply increases.

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However, in this case, the demand for pool products has skyrocketed because everyone has been stuck at home searching for something to do. And naturally, on the precipice of the summer months, many families placed their focus in swimming pools so they can have something to enjoy at home—which was great for business because so many pool builders had more requests for new pools than usual. The bad thing, though? Well, because of the changes in manufacturing, there hasn’t been enough supply of the necessary products.

Customers may be limited in their options for swimming pools or be booked for late 2021 or even 2022 because of the amount of new pool buyers.

So, put simply, manufacturers just can’t keep up with the demand under current circumstances. And we really don’t know when things will go back to normal since the pandemic is changing by the day.

Shipping Delays

As we noted earlier, shipping is another issue brought about by COVID-19 as products are not arriving on a schedule that we consider “normal.” Regardless of whether products are being shipped from overseas or domestically, shipping times have increased since the pandemic struck, which in turn can make it difficult to complete construction on time and fail to keep up with the demand for products by consumers.

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Shipping prices have also increased during this time as companies shut down and shipments built up without being delivered. Thus, products weren’t available to consumers and the financial cash flow was essentially put to a halt for consumers, manufacturers, sellers, and shipping companies.

Shortage of Chlorine

Aside from COVID-19, other situations and events have had a large impact on the pool industry, including the destruction of the Trichlor plant in St. Charles, Louisiana in August by Hurricane Laura.

The plant, which accounted for around one-third (1/3) of trichlor production in the United States, burned down when Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana and therefore couldn’t keep up with the increased demand for chlorine brought about by COVID-19.

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Trichlor prices have almost doubled since the incident and may continue to increase as we move into 2021.

Alternative Means of Sanitization

While chlorine is in a shortage, we have seen an increased use of secondary sanitization systems such as Ultraviolet and Ozone systems by pool owners.

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Other means such as Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) systems and Hyper Dissolved Oxygen (HDO) systems are being used more to increase the efficiency of chlorine since it is going through a shortage. So, with systems to help chlorine be more efficient, consumers may be able to conserve the chemical and limit the negative effects of the shortage on their pools.

Additionally, we may see an increased use of other chemicals that compliment chlorine and can take on some of its workload such as:

  • Phosphate remover
  • Enzymes
  • Clarifiers
  • Sequestering agents

Where is the Pool Industry Heading?

For pool builders, business has been booming this year and it looks like it will continue into 2021 and perhaps beyond. Some builders, like us here at Royal Pools and More, are booked up through 2021, which is great. However, manufacturers may have trouble meeting previous year’s accomplishments in terms of sales.

If the COVID-19 pandemic continues well into 2021 and business are still struggling to operate fully, we could see a shortage of supplies, materials, and products that make the pool industry go ‘round.

There is a lot up in the air right now for everyone involved in the pool industry, and only time will tell where we go from here. We all have to adapt and that may cause that some pool manufacturers and builders to make tough choices that aren’t exactly consumer friendly. But, if they want to stay in business, those tough choices may very well be what keeps them afloat.

As always, if you have any further questions you can contact us at (219)-322-4797 or visit our Learning Center where we are always keeping you up to date with trends in the pool industry!