Now that the weather is getting warmer, there are new shortages among hot commodity items.  One of the hottest items on the market right now are pools, along with other outdoor items such as swing sets, trampolines, fire pits, and more.  The high demand for these products paired with manufacturers still battling shorter hours and less production from Covid-19, has negatively impacted people's ability to purchase these items.

Due to Covid-19, many summer vacations and camps have been  cancelled.  People are putting the money they are saving on these cancelled activities into their homes, particularly their backyards.  In addition to these cancelled activities, strict guidelines for community pools and beaches are another motivating factor for people to invest in a pool.  Backyard pools can serve as a safety factor in regards to social distancing guidelines, while providing entertainment for the family.  mom of four said she invested in an in-ground pool after finding out her kids' sleep-away camps were cancelled.  Many other families are investing in pools, particularly above ground pools, due to their relative affordability and ease of installation.

Popular stores who offer pools are having limited supplies or are sold out already.  Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot are among the many stores experiencing limited stock of above ground pools.  People who were early to the rush are re-selling above ground pools with a massive markup.  An Intex brand pool that was selling on Walmart for $370 was being resold on eBay from $1,000-$1,500, while a Bestway pool that was selling on Walmart for $31.56 was being resold on eBay for $95.  Steven Metz, the owner of Central Jersey Pools in NJ, stated how his sales have tripled this season.  He also mentioned that for the first time ever, he is completely sold out of above ground pools until at least mid-July.  Other pool store owners have said they sold their last above ground pool as early as the end of May.

In addition to pool stores seeing a drive in demand, landscapers and retailers of gardening soil, mulch, and firewood to be used for fire pits are soaring.  In addition, trampolines and swing sets are hard to come by.  A large swing set distributor on Long Island has been taking orders via phone and online, causing them to be out of stock since March.  Hardware stores have also seen an increase in sales, as their tools are needed for home improvements and the assembly of these hot commodity items.  The VP of the North American Retail Hardware Association said nearly three quarters of its members reported an increase in sales during the pandemic.

Various businesses are continuing to have difficulties with their supply chains due to Covid-19.  These issues have translated into smaller inventories and marked up prices.  While many companies have tried to find new manufactures, it is simply not enough in terms of keeping up with demand.  As the season is changing, new items are entering a shortage. 

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Nicole O'Connell

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