Reluctant to gloat, at a time when so many other sectors, and the country as a whole, face unprecedented challenges, the UK’s residential swimming pool sector is nevertheless quietly celebrating a record year. Covid-19 has not just created a wave of ‘holiday at home’ investment but triggered a tsunami of domestic interest in health and wellness. While many of the UK’s leading pool builders admit to being booked out until summer 2021, incredibly, some are taking deposits for bookings for new pools as far ahead as 2022 with customers clearly being prepared to wait for their preferred installer.
“THE RESIDENTIAL MARKET WENT INTO ORBIT WITH SOME PRODUCT LINES, SUCH AS HEAT PUMPS, INCREASING BY 300 %”
“Our dilemma is always, should we risk expansion by taking on new people to get those pools built more quickly, or do we risk waiting, in the knowledge that we can see orders ahead of us for 18 months,” shared one pool installer who preferred not to be named. “We concluded that bigger is not necessarily better for us. Instead, we have opted for the safer route of a steady pace we know we can manage with our existing team. “Amazingly, the customers are prepared to wait for us – which is the biggest compliment we can be paid.” The trend for outdoor living generally includes everything including the kitchen sink with driving sales on outdoor kitchens to sit alongside pools, saunas and al fresco escapes – all in the most eco-friendly way. “2020 has certainly been a topsy- turvy year for the UK pool industry,” says Dyfed Thompson Smith, of AstralPool UK. Dyfed confirms 2020 saw strong sales on key residential items such as heat pumps and Laggettho above ground pools.
“TELL-TALE SIGNS REFLECTING THAT ANXIETY ARE THE TIGHTENING OF COMMERCIAL BUDGETS AS CASH FLOW DWINDLES”
“On the flip side, the shallower recovery curve in the commercial market, mirrored the staggered opening of commercial sites and of those that operated at significantly reduced capacity, in particular within the public sector,” he says. “Other areas added an element of frustration,” he continues. “Some product lines were unable to be replenished quickly enough due to the completely and unprecedented demand affecting the manufacturing and supply chain. “There is clearly heightened interest in investing at home and in wellness as customers look to invest not just in swimming pools but the whole outdoor living experience,” he shares.