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What is in store for the pool industry in 2021?

By Steve Leslie

Although there may be more people with less money to spend, there will still be many who have more than enough money to invest in their backyards.
Although there may be more people with less money to spend, there will still be many who have more than enough money to invest in their backyards.

Over the last year, the world has undergone tremendous change. Looking back just one year ago, the world had become overwhelmed by the devastating coronavirus, the stock market crashed, and interest rates declined to an all-time low. Many people were in panic mode, buying and hoarding essential items such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Many were also glued to their screens watching for news updates every hour.

Further, North America saw an exponential burden on people’s mental health through lockdowns, an emotional breakdown between political and scientific views, and massive protests and riots exploded from racism. It sounded grim; it sounded hopeless. It even sounded like H.G. Wells had returned to write a sequel to his 1897 novel, The War of the Worlds. But no, this was, and still is reality.

While most of the nation is still in an anxious state of uncertainty, the pool and spa industry is wondering if this year will be even more successful than last. This mentality can easily lead companies astray as there are other factors in motion that must also be considered as the year unfolds.

Hindsight is 2020

Amidst the uncertainty last year, this author informed pool and spa companies of the enormous potential of the ‘staycation’ amidst all the chaos. Despite this advice, most pool and spa companies failed to act. The prevention of new construction for most of the country did not result in loss of business but, rather, it created a ‘kink’ in the pool and spa industry ‘hose.’ When new construction could continue and the country began to open once again, the pool and spa industry exploded. Manufacturing wait times went through the roof, while accessories vanished off shelves for months at a time. In fact, at the time of writing this article, similar events are occurring again; however, this time, many pool and spa companies have elected to place orders months in advance, taking advantage of incentive programs wherever possible.

As 2021 begins to take shape, it is important to regard what is most likely to unfold throughout the year. Higher coronavirus case numbers will likely result in longer lockdowns and protocols until the warmer months approach. The U.S. will likely undergo similar strict protocols as Canada with the Biden administration now in office, which will likely lead to more shutdowns along manufacturing lines, resulting in more product shortages later in the season. The year should be highly successful once again, though the landscape may shift dramatically as the season comes to an end.

As this author stated in his article published in Pool & Spa Marketing’s June 2020 issue, which advised readers the financial crisis taking place was not the result of a global pandemic, but rather something bigger. The response to the coronavirus has perpetuated this crisis even further to a point where the global economy may take years to recover.

After the credit market came to a standstill for a day in September 2019, the U.S. Federal Reserve (unofficially) began quantitative easing. The week the stock market had a record crash came about two weeks after it had hit record highs—all while, quantitative easing in the credit market was still taking place. Suspicions that China would announce an economic loss at the end of February were going to rock the world markets.

Coincidently, as media outlets quickly looked for a scapegoat to blame this ‘unexpected’ crash on, the coronavirus had also began to take hold of Italy at an exponential rate. News reports wrote off the historical market crash and China’s economic decline as a result of the coronavirus, even after the BBC reported in January 2020 about China’s poor economic performance in previous years. That said, those expecting the current economic recovery to last, even once the global pandemic is under control, may be in for a rude awakening.

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