Prefabricated pool and spa sales are booming amid the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a short-term boost for a global market that is forecast to expand 3.5% annually through 2023, according to a Freedonia Group analysis. In the world-leading US market, demand for all pool types – from in-ground to above ground to kiddie pools, whether molded vinyl or inflatable – is surging as summer approaches, driven by a number of factors related to the pandemic. For instance:
- Cooped up homeowners are spending the money they saved on canceled vacation plans on “staycation”-oriented splurges like pools and spas.
- As many public and community beaches and pools remain closed for the summer – and many people remain reluctant to visit ones that are open out of concern about COVID-19 – consumers are investing in low to high value pools and spas to beat the heat at home.
However, the elevated demand is leading to supply shortages that could limit the boost, particularly given the seasonality of the pool and spa market in much of the country and the long waitlists many consumers trying to buy a pool are now facing.
Large Untapped Consumer Market for Pools & Spas
According to a Summer 2019 Freedonia National Online Consumer Survey, roughly 25% of US adults had a pool or spa at home and a similar number reported having access to a pool or spa maintained by a private neighborhood association or apartment/condominium complex. Therefore, there remains a large segment of the population that might be seeking private water recreation options this summer as access to public and community options is limited or slow to open.
For consumers without the space or the capital for an in-ground pool, prefabricated pools are the solution. However, as a result of the heightened demand this summer, many pool and spa retailers are experiencing stock shortages, driving customers toward suppliers in areas where temperatures have yet to spike to summer levels, which grow fewer every day.
Some Staycationers Aren’t Just Installing Pools & Spas, They’re Building Outdoor Living Spaces
While many consumers purchase pools simply to beat the heat, others – particularly wealthy homeowners – view these units as centerpieces to evermore elaborate outdoor living concepts. Outdoor living essentially means integrating indoor features (e.g., outdoor furniture, grills, heating products, and kitchen equipment) into outdoor areas to enhance their comfort and functionality. In 2020, the market for outdoor living products – including outdoor kitchen equipment, furniture and grills, and a range of gardening and landscaping products – is expected to exceed $30 billion.
Driven by the popularity of home improvement reality shows and social media platforms like Pinterest, outdoor living concepts continue to grow increasingly elaborate, ranging in cost from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars, or more. Though the market for the highest end installations is rather niche – particularly given weakened economic conditions amid the pandemic – the value they generate can be very high.
In particular, outdoor kitchens are a fast-growing segment of the outdoor living market where major pool and spa suppliers such as PoolCorp have increased their involvement in recent years. Like in-ground pools and spas, high-end outdoor kitchens are often site-built with hardscaping by local contractors, and homeowners may install these areas at the same time to optimize the flow of the outdoor living space.
Other Side Effects of the Pandemic on the Pool & Spa Industry
Despite heightened consumer sales of pools and spas, a side effect of the pandemic could be weakened sales of water treatment chemicals and equipment, the US market for which totaled $2.1 billion in 2020. Given the importance of the commercial market for pool and spa water treatment chemicals and equipment (and the often comparatively lax water treatment standards of consumers), sales in that sector will be restrained by closures or restricted use of commercial pools (e.g., community, hotel, amusement park, and other publicly and privately owned pools that are not for private residential use).
Looking for More?
For more information, see The Freedonia Group study Global Pools & Spas. Also, follow Freedonia’s COVID-19 Economic Impact Tracker for expert insight on the latest developments in the pandemic’s impact on global and US markets.
Global Pools & Spas provides historical demand and forecast data in unit terms for the global number of pools and spas in use (excluding inground units) and annual new pool and spa sales, which are segmented by type, region, and national market. The study also covers the global market for pool and spa water treatment equipment and chemicals by product type and major region and national market. Historical demand is presented in US dollar terms for 2008, 2013, and 2018, and forecasts are made for 2023. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.
About the Author:
Peter Kusnic is a Content Writer with The Freedonia Group, where he researches and writes studies focused on an array of industries.