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Predictions for 2015, based on the 2014 Pool Spa Patio show…

By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.

This may be the easiest newsletter I’ve written in a while. After every International Pool / Spa / Patio show, I write a summary of what I sense is “the pulse of our industry.”  Over the years I’ve gone into some detail, explaining touchy-feely attitudes such as “caution” or “fear” or “hope” or “depression.” LAST year, the message I brought back was “2014 will be BETTER.” THIS year, the message is:

“If 2014 was BETTER, then 2015 will be MORE BETTER.”

And that’s a GOOD thing, because LAST year, all indicators were POSITIVE for the new pool business. Hanley Wood economist Tobi Morrison mostly echoed what we heard from his predecessor Jonathan Smoke a year ago, namely:

  • Housing starts will continue growing at a 10% click. Home remodeling remains upwards of 20%.
  • New Homes continue to get LARGER and NICER. (35% of all NEW HOMES will be >$350K.)
  • “Cheap home” inventory has dried up.
  • We’ve “recovered” to where we were in 2007, but fortunately are NOT expected to return to the unsustainable heyday of 2005.
  • Oil fracking and natural gas will continue to propel our economy steadily forward for quite some time.
  • Homeowners will continue to make major buying decisions (homes, pools, etc.) based on FAMILY and QUALITY of LIFE.

Now let me share a few other observations from last week’s show in Orlando, in no particular order:

  • Traffic may have been a little light, but it was still steady throughout most of the show.
  • Every exhibitor I spoke with told me they had “signed new deals” with people they met at the show.
  • There are still (inexplicably) plenty of doofuses who blow their $5,000 to $10,000 booth investment by fixating on their mobile phones rather than engaging with passers-by. (Who hires these idiots?)
  • The International Awards of Excellence winners were likely somewhat disappointed in the overly-loud venue (BB King’s House of blues), conjoined with an otherwise outstanding Welcome Party. But it’s still massively better than the old “on-the-show-floor” event, and I’m sure it will be even better next year, with a little fine-tuning by APSP.

I uncovered only two “negatives” at the show. First is that banks are still being overly-rigid with funding, so you may still lose the occasional deal due to financing problems. And secondly, NOBODY was enthusiastic about the Orlando venue – predominantly because of hassles with taxis and shuttle buses. (In fact, somewhat ironically, I saw very few Florida pool builders at the show. Most of us were “from somewhere else.”) Thankfully, these issues will be resolved when we return to Las Vegas next year.

On a lighter note, I was surprised to see the giant iconic pink Genesis pig conspicuously ABSENT from its normal perch, hovering proudly over the show floor. But no need to worry. Rather than rather than “ominous foreboding,” it seems the Genesis organization is in fact stronger than ever, and launching some major initiatives that ALL of us in the industry should be interested in. I suggest you to keep an eye out for that.

In closing, it was great to see many happy and familiar faces. If you didn’t make it, I hope we cross paths in Atlantic City, or in Las Vegas next year.

To your success,

©2014 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin, Inc. May not be used without permission.

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