COVID-19 has had an impact on several industries around the world, including the swimming pool industry. From shutdowns and travel bans to masks and stay-at-home mandates, many people turned to the pool industry to beat cabin fever and have a safe stay-cation option.
While Swimming Pool Discounters is fortunate to say that we have continued to grow during the pandemic, it is important for anyone considering buying a pool to under how this growth has affected the buying experience throughout the entire pool industry.
With stay-at-home orders, in combination with our normal business during the peak season between the beginning of Spring and July 4th, there was a major increase in demand for pools. This demand came from the people who planned on buying a pool before COVID-19 and those who decided to create a relaxing oasis during COVID-19 since they would be spending more time at home.
During early spring of 2020 was the traditional peak period and when the nation’s stay-at-home orders were enacted. As we entered late spring of 2020, the number of people looking to buy a pool quadrupled and put a major strain on the industry.
As we entered the early summer of 2020, manufacturers were working hard to reopen, with their dates being pushed back with the ever-changing COVID-19 regulations in their area. When they did reopen, they had to do so with reduced staff numbers and time set aside for deep cleaning. This caused production to take longer than normal, added to the ever-growing lead times.
Manufacturing has had the most major impact on the pool industry in 2020 and 2021. The stock of available pools at distribution centers began to dwindle, and there were no new shipments coming in to restock since only one pool manufacturer was allowed to remain open, Doughboy pools.
Doughboy pool was permitted to remain open due to the lack of COVID-19 cases in West Helena, Arkansas, where they are located. Other major pool manufacturers are in areas like New York, where case numbers were much higher. Although Doughboy Pools remained open, they still had to follow safety procedures to remain legally open, which included social distancing protocols. This significantly reduced the number of employees permitted in the building.
With this reduction in manpower, while receiving almost all the nation’s orders for pools that would have normally been spread across multiple companies and locations. This number is 400% higher than average, and according to Doughboy pools, the number of items that needed to produce was six times higher than normal.
Lead times continued to grow week by week during COVID-19. From 1-3 days and 5- days, they grew to 1-2 weeks, 2-4 weeks, and so on. We worked to make sure these leads times were communicated to customers when applicable and made sure to set realistic expectations for our clients. Lead times increased due to the increased demand for swimming pools in 2020, combined with a lack of raw materials available to create pools.
Ascertain above ground pool models went out of stock quickly, the only way to resolve the 3–8-week lead times, it was crucial to offer customers upgrades, other sizes, substitutes, and whatever we had available in stock or that could be ordered from Doughboy Pools.
There are a variety of factors that will affect when you should buy a pool this year. In some cases, it may be too late for the 2021 season since some orders placed now may not be ready until 2022. This will depend on your location and what features you are seeking in a swimming pool.
Two major things that will affect your ability to get a pool in 2021 will be what type of pool you want to build and that material is available. It will also rely on the availability of your local pool building. With the increased demand in 2020 and the delay in receiving the order, many builders in your area may be booked through 2021. This factor will not affect you if you choose to install the pool yourself.
Winter season lead times are still high, so be sure to remain flexible. By working with Swimming Pool Discounters, we can work to provide you with multiple options in hopes of making your 2021 pool vision come to life. Contact us today to see what is available for the 2021 season.