Pool supplies running dry as industry faces Omicron woes
Pool owners may struggle to keep up with maintenance and supplies, with Omicron supply chain issues hitting the sector hard.
An industry body said the blow the coronavirus outbreak had dealt the economy in general was being felt by pool sellers and technicians as well.
“We’ve never had such a product shortage before,” said Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia chief executive Lindsay McGrath.
“And it's not just for manufactured products (like pumps) – you’ve got commodity products like sodium bicarb and chlorine which are manufactured globally.
“(The impact on the movement of) shipping containers alone, especially in commodity products, it just increased prices exponentially.”
Poolwerx CEO John O‘Brien said the rainy La Nina summer had exacerbated the problem by causing pools to become less clean, while at the same time driving down the supply of salt, which is used to maintain the majority of Australian backyard pools.
He also said close contact requirements had limited his workforce of technicians by as much as 30 per cent in some parts of the country.
“It's almost a perfect storm,” he said.
Another factor putting pressure on the industry is the fact demand for pool supplies and services had skyrocketed during the earlier phases of the pandemic, Mr McGrath said.
That's because many locked-down Australian chose to invest their money in the backyards where they were stuck.
“When Covid hit, everyone was cocooning at home. And while there was a lack of travel, people still had cash flow … the demand went through the roof,” Mr McGrath said.
Mr McGrath said he hadn't seen price gouging happen – rather, margins have become slimmer for pool professionals.
Sodium bicarbonate and chlorine are both used to keep pool water fresh and clean.
Mr McGrath said consumers may have to use other products than they’re used to while supply issues remain, and recommended pool owners to service their pools regularly.
“Don’t wait until September and have a green pool and a bill costing hundreds of dollars,” he said.
Mr O’Brien said some who normally rely on professionals to maintain their pools may have to learn to do it on their own.
“My advice is people should do it themselves – there are all sorts of websites with information on how to maintain your pool.”
Originally published as Pool supplies running dry as industry faces Omicron woes
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