Price gouging has started in the above ground pool market
While the shelter was still in place, I went over to my cousin’s house to go swimming with my daughter, her cousin, and my aunt. My cousin had an above ground pool set up in her backyard, which looked nicer than some of the other ones I had seen online. It was brown on the outside and blue on the inside. There was also a little window on the side and a ladder to help you climb in the pool. It was deep enough for me to swim in and shallow enough for my daughter to swim safely in it. We both had fun swimming in it, so I told my husband about it. Once I told him about it, he thought maybe we could get one for our backyard too, so we started looking online, but the choices available were minimal, and the prices were two to three times more than what my cousin had bought her’s for at Walmart a few years ago. So what was going on? Price gouging.
According to Wikipedia, price gouging is when a seller increases the prices of goods, services, or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair. Usually, this event occurs after a demand or supply shock. In this case, the good is above ground pools. This has started happening because there are very low levels of these in stock now and there is a very high demand for them. So, why are there so few available now and why is the demand higher? The answer is COVID-19.
COVID-19 has caused many factories in China to slow down manufacturing, which has lead to a decrease in the availability of many products. My guess is that the parts needed to assemble above ground pools are likely made in China, which has created a low supply of above ground pools available in the United States.
The other factor causing price gouging in the United States for above ground pools is the high demand. Many counties and states in the United States have Shelter-in-place mandates right now which inhibit the use of public pools. It is summer now, so people want to go swimming, but can’t go to the pools they once were able to get cooled off in, so they are trying to find a solution, which is above ground pools. This situation has thus created a higher demand for above ground pools.
Resellers are also taking advantage of this by purchasing these above ground pools and selling them for higher prices on eBay and Amazon. If you find them on Amazon you can’t find any with PRIME available, so shipping takes longer than you might want as well. These are very heavy pool kits, so the shipping is often around $200.00 on eBay. You can’t even find a good quality one in physical stores in the Bay Area now.
In the end, after discovering all of this, we decided to wait until the markets get back to normal. We considered the time and money it would take to maintain the water quality in the pool, and then what if it arrived and something was wrong with it. We could not justify the purchase.
This article can also be found on Medium here.