In a year that kept us busy with household cleaning products, puzzles, Nintendo Switches, and yeast, pools could be the next.
“I can’t nearly keep up with the number of calls I get,” said Matt Collins, owner of Apollo Pools and Spas on Route 44 in Lakeville on the Raynham Line.
“We have already sold three times as many above-ground pools as we would normally sell year-round,” said Collins, who has 16 employees and has been in the business for 15 years.
As people are urged to stay home for most of the summer – which means potentially hot summer days with limited or no access to ocean beaches, urban swimming holes, or neighborhood pools – more and more consumers are looking to buy their own garden pool.
That’s exactly what customers say to Apollo, said Collins. You have kids and want to make sure they have some fun this summer.
In-ground pool sales are up a bit, but nothing he has seen in above-ground pools, he said.
“Many people can’t afford $ 60,000 or $ 70,000, but many can afford an above-ground pool of $ 5,000 or $ 6,000,” said Collins.
Collins is not only fully booked for installations until at least July, the manufacturers are gradually running out of pools and other devices, he said. But Collins continues to urge customers to call and he will try to find a way to accommodate their requests, he said.
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Google consumer search traffic shows that pools are the third most searched commodity, up 200% from the previous month. Sprinkler accessories ranked even higher in second place, and inflatable water slides ranked sixth.
All types of pools are in demand, from inflatables available at most big box stores to above-ground models based on the search data. Industry experts say there is also a lot of interest in high quality in-ground pools.
“It’s too early to say sales have increased,” said Dominick Mondi, executive director of the Northeast Spa & Pool Association. “But anecdotally, any pool builder I talk to on the phone for any reason is busy.”
Getting a pool this summer is easy for Sabeena Hickman, executive director of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance.
“People want a controlled environment to enjoy this summer and a backyard oasis for their family and friends to breathe,” she said.
They are also good for family time, a source of physical activity, and have mental health benefits. The Centers for Disease Control also announced early in the pandemic that COVID-19 could not be spread in a properly maintained pool or hot tub.
On Cape Cod, Chris Dittrich, owner of Shoreline Pools, has already seen an increase in demand. Pool owners have requested that their pools be opened much earlier than normal and the demand for new builds has increased “tremendously”. With the state restrictions eased, Dittrich is now increasing its workforce to meet demand.
“Be patient,” he said. “Be kind to the people in your yard (who work on your pool) because they are doing their best to ensure you have a great summer.”
And if you want a professional pool, both Dittrich and Mondi have said you need to start now as this is a 6 to 10 week build period under the best of circumstances.
“If you want to swim this summer, give me a call while you read this,” said Mondi.
With reporting by Rebecca Hyman