Sales of new pool equipment are on the rise this spring as manycustomers who ordered repairs in previous seasons are now making the leap into new purchases.
“We’ve seen an increase of more than 100 percent in
equipment sales, and about a 50 percent reduction in part
sales,” said Terry Brown, vice president of Buddy’s
Pool & Spas in Baltimore. “When customers have equipment
that’s in need of repair, more and more are telling us that
they’d prefer to upgrade instead.”
So far, the trend is mainly limited to more prosperous pool markets
in Texas and the East Coast.
However, the growing enthusiasm isn’t just limited to minor
equipment — servicepeople say their clients are increasingly
willing to purchase new pumps, filters and heaters as well.
This marks the reversal of a more conservative purchasing trend, in
which many customers opted for repairs, or minor replacements (such
as pump motors), in lieu of replacing an entire component of the
equipment pad. That drop in new equipment sales coincided roughly
with the start of the recession — approximately three years
ago — and held steady until late last year, when pool
professionals began to notice heightened interest in new
Industry insiders have suggested several reasons for the shift.
“The economy is beginning to get a little better, so customer
behavior is starting to revert back toward normal,” said
Manuel Perez de la Mesa, president and CEO of PoolCorp in
Warranties provide an additional motivation for new purchases.
“Customers are still watching their money,” said Ben
Graves, service manager at Claffey Pools in Southlake, Texas, a
Pool & Spa News Top Builder. “But they’re becoming
more likely to spend it on something new that comes with a
warranty, rather than just fixing something that’s
Energy efficiency also provides a central selling point. Service
technicians and retailers in many areas report a steady increase in
sales of variable-speed pumps and other energy-saving technology.
For the time being, customer interest in equipment upgrades seems
to be holding steady — and the trend may even be showing
signs of growth.
“Sales haven’t slowed down; they’ve been holding
steady,” Graves said. “If anything, they’re
continuing to increase throughout the season.”