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With the real estate market in the greatest downturn since the Great Depression, installations of new swimming pools and hot tubs declined significantly, leading to lower demand for the industry's retailers.
The combined effects of the real estate market collapse and declining disposable income during the recession adversely affected demand for aboveground pools, chemicals, equipment and recreational pool items, which led to consistent industry revenue decline from 2007 to 2009.
Less money has been spent on luxuries, while consumers have had to spend more on necessities. Swimming pool sales have been affected, along with pool equipment and maintenance products. Commercial, public pools across the country have closed and construction of residential in-ground pools has slowed.
Demand steadied in 2011, however, and began recovering in earnest in 2012, when the value of residential construction jumped 12.3%. In 2013, revenue is anticipated to continue its recovery, increasing 6.3% over the year.
One factor fertilizing the market is America's heightened interest in fitness; in the past 20 years, the percentage of athletic club members has nearly doubled and this trend is expected to continue.
Swimming pools are often part of the fitness equation - especially for baby boomers and the elderly looking for a low-impact gentle workout. Individuals in need of a convenient place to exercise have helped to spur a demand for more apartment complexes, retirement centers, schools and other types of residential and community facilities, which sport gyms as well as swimming pools.
In order to save energy and support a healthy environment many consumers are looking to go green by installing solar powered pumps and heaters for their swimming pools. Solar power is especially suitable for swimming pools, as the majority of pools are located where there is plenty of sunshine.
Pool Corporation is considered the biggest swimming pool supplies and equipment wholesale distributor, operating 312 sales centers in North America and Europe. The company has three of the biggest suppliers including Pentair Water Pool and Spa (18% of the total purchases), Hayward Pool Products (11%), and Zodiac Pool Systems (8%).
In the past four years, Pool has consistently generated growing sales and net income. Its top line increased from $1.54 billion in 2009 to more than $1.95 billion in 2012, while net income rose from $19.2 million, or $0.39 EPS, to nearly $82 million, or $1.71 EPS, during the same period.
Currently, there are approximately 80 million US homes that could have space for a swimming pool, but only around 9.6 million homes have pools. Thus, according to the company, there is a huge growth potential for swimming pools.
For more information on the US swimming pool construction market, see the latest research: US Swimming Pool Construction Market
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