How the Harsh Winter has Affected the Swimming Pool Industry

Rough start

Well most of us know that this past winter was exceptionally harsh.  Here in northern Indiana we had temperatures close to – 30 degrees F, not to mention thigh deep snow or more for most of the winter.  I think the thing that made it seem even worse than that was the fact that it seemed like it lasted way too long.  If I remember correctly we still had snow in April.  I know that things here started off slowly in regard to swimming pool season.  People just couldn’t open there pools as early as they have been able to in years past.  For all of you folks living in southern states where your pools remain open all year, here in the north we have to close are pools each winter.  Closing a pool consists of disassembling the plumbing components and clearing all the plumbing lines of water.  In addition to that most people will put antifreeze in their plumbing lines.  If the water is not removed from the lines then there is the possibility of them freezing and bursting.  So pool openings and closings are a big part of the industry up here.  With this past winter being so bad and long many openings were delayed and kind of put a damper on things.  Sales were down in the first few months and many worried what the rest of the year would look like.  So now that we are once again approaching the end of our swimming pool season we get the opportunity to look back and see how things went.

Starting off slowly

I have spoke to several retailers and builders about how their year has gone with the harsh winter starting it off.  As I expected most of them reported a slow start.  Pool openings were down at first and retail sales were down as well.  I did have one person say that they were fairly busy early on with service calls for covers that had been damaged by the crushing weight of all the snow we got.  Obviously for the pool owner that is very unfortunate but for the service company that went out to fix them I sure it was a relief to have the business.

Things begin to pick up

As the weather got better the market seemed to improve as well.  All those openings finally happened and people started buying chemicals again.  I think that the harsh winter, forcing folks to be cooped up all winter gave them a feeling of cabin fever.  When the weather finally broke people were very eager to get back outside.  I think that many of us fear that this coming winter will be as bad or worse than our last one.  For that reason I think people are even more amped up about spending time outside now while it is nice.

Why sales are up

Many pool stores, where one would buy their chemicals and accessories also sell things like patio furniture, grills, and outdoor kitchens.  The idea behind this is to invest in a “staycation”.  People are going all out and upgrading their plain backyard for the one straight out of a magazine add or from one of those t.v. shows where the people spend X amount on a home and then use the rest of their money to improve on it.  Another reason people may be more willing to spend this year more so than years before is partly because many feel that this “recession” is lifting a bit and allowing people to be a little more relaxed with their money.  Regardless of the reason it seems as though this year has been pretty good for the swimming pool industry.  I mean it is august already and some builders have at least 15 more pools to put in this year.  I understand that some companies may yet be struggling this year but I think that overall it has been a decent year for most.  I am not an expert in economics or anything, I am just relaying information given to me back to you.

What you should do    

I know that not everybody has the means to purchase an inground pool, or an out door kitchen, but at the very least you can do what I am doing.  Get outside, enjoy the weather while it is still nice.  Don’t make excuses to stay inside.  It will be winter again soon and more than likely it will be another harsh one.  We will all be cooped up again in the house with nothing to do.  With that in mind, use this nice weather to get outside.  If you have small kids, let them stay up a little later to go out a catch fireflies, plan a trip to the park for a day and have a picnic, and all you daddy’s out there, or mommy’s take the opportunity to camp out in the backyard before it gets too cold.  Take your kids on nature hikes, get them away from the t.v. and video games, and do something fun and exciting outside.  If you have the means, think about getting a pool.  I mean really give it some thought.  Research the pros and cons, read my blog posts related to the benefits of owning a pool because there are many.  Owning a pool is an investment, not just in your backyard, but in the lives of you and your family.  Save the money you would spend on vacations, get a pool, and stay at home.  Have cook outs, and pool parties, and let your kids invite their friends over to enjoy the pool.  It will change the way they look at the you and the world in general.  Remind them that there is still fun outside of the virtual world.  Get unplugged!