The global pool and spa market experienced considerable volatility in the past decade as the financial crisis severely restricted the ability of consumers in the mature US and West European markets to afford new installations. Preventing outright market declines during that time was the rapid influx of new pool and spa sales in large developing markets, such as China, which saw annual growth approaching 7% from 2008 to 2018.
However, while the global installed base for pools and spas reached 119 million units in 2018, purchase rates for pool and spa water treatment equipment and chemicals have decreased somewhat, in part due to the lax water quality standards prevalent in China and other developing countries that lead to:
- less intensive use of pool and spa water treatment equipment and chemicals in general
- greater demand for lower-cost, less technologically sophisticated products
According to a new Freedonia Group study, the dynamics of global markets for pools, spas, and related equipment and chemicals are expected to renormalize going forward based on mature-market trends, though continued expansion of developing markets will boost gains.
Mature Markets to Resume Normal Growth Patterns in New Pool & Spa Sales
Through 2023, new pool and spa sales in the US and Western Europe are expected to return to normal levels after spiking over the 2013-2018 period:
- During that time, demand pent up during the recession was finally released, as consumers regained the means and the confidence to make big-ticket purchases.
- In the US, for example, annual growth from 2013 to 2018 approached 12%.
- As the most likely purchasers of new pools and spas are likely to have bought one over the historical period, growth in the number of pools installed in these mature markets will decelerate sharply going forward.
Accelerating Demand Growth Expected for Pool & Spa Water Treatment Products
Meanwhile, demand for pool and spa water treatment products is projected to accelerate through 2023 based on:
- innovation driving sales of higher-value equipment that is perceived to be more convenient and sustainable in mature markets, such as robotic pool skimmers and vacuums and smart disinfection equipment
- continued expansion in the pool and spa installed base in developing markets, supported by rising consumer incomes as well as growing tourism and hospitality sectors, which will translate to a higher number of sales if not higher sales values
The leading equipment segment of the pool and spa water treatment product market is projected to increase its share of global demand at the expense of chemicals going forward. For example, ozone and ultraviolet disinfection systems cost more than conventional filtration systems and biocides, but these more advanced systems offer long-term cost savings by reducing need for chemicals.
Asia/Pacific Region Buys Far More Equipment & Chemicals than Rival Markets, But Spends Less
Unsurprisingly, penetration of high-value equipment and chemicals in the Asia/Pacific pool and spa water treatment market is extremely limited outside of upscale resorts and other hospitality facilities that serve affluent clientele. For example:
- In China – by far the world’s largest pool and spa market – most pools and spas are owned and maintained by price-sensitive municipal governments, because consumer incomes are generally insufficient to support many residential installations.
- Public pools and spas typically rely on low-cost commercial-grade filtration systems and basic sanitizing chemicals such as chlorine, even in more developed markets.
- While commercial-grade products cost more than products designed for residential use, municipal facilities serve many households while residential pools and spas often serve just one.
- Lax (and laxly enforced) water treatment standards prevail in China, resulting in low purchasing rates of equipment and chemicals relative to the number of pools and spas in the country.
Nevertheless, rapidly expanding in-bound foreign tourism and hospitality industries in otherwise lower-income Asia/Pacific countries – such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam – will provide a source of demand for higher-value equipment and chemicals in the region.
Want to Learn More?
For more information on these and other relevant industry trends, see Global Pools & Spas, a new study from The Freedonia Group. The study covers the global markets for new pool and spa sales, the number of pools and spas in use, and pool and spa water treatment equipment and chemical demand by type, region, and major national market. In addition, the study provides regional market analysis – including Country Spotlights of important national markets including the US, Australia, Brazil, and China – and covers competitive strategies, mergers and acquisitions, marketing and distribution trends, and other supply-side activities of leading global industry participants.
About the Author:
Peter Kusnic is a Content Writer with The Freedonia Group, where he researches and writes studies focused on the consumer goods and packaging industries.