When the coronavirus began heating up across the U.S., more consumers looked to cool off. With kids out of school and home all day and the weather getting warmer, sales of inflatable pools and pool toys at online retailer PoolCentral.com have been bubbling up, says Nathan Gordan, chief information officer for the retailer’s parent company, Gordan Companies Inc.
“We are seeing huge growth in our pool, pool toys and outdoor sales,” Gordan says. “The second the lockdown went into effect, our sales ballooned like crazy.” When the pandemic first became widespread in the United States in mid-March, the retailer experienced more than 500% growth in some outdoor product categories, he says.
“Our biggest challenge has been keeping items in stock and getting the reorders in to make sure we can keep getting the sales,” he says. Gordon Companies also operates Christmas Central, No. 910 in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.
According to an analysis of spending trends at 850 retail sites by digital marketing vendor Listrak, online sales of toys, hobby-related items and sporting goods products are up 40% year over year from April 12-June 24 compared with the same period a year earlier. Earlier in the pandemic, online sales for that category were even stronger, Listrak reports. Sales for those products were up 150% year over year in the weeks before and after the national state of emergency was declared on March 13, Listrak says.
Gordon says PoolCentral.com experienced its largest spike in sales during the entire month of May. While sales of pool and outdoor products are now starting to taper, they are still up between 250-300% year over year. Conversion rates and basket sizes are both “up significantly” over last year, Gordon says, without being more specific.
“One of the craziest things we saw was when we got our container of pools in. Once the inventory was live on our site, we saw 100% sell-out in under 2 hours,” Gordon says. “I have never seen anything like that before.” Gordon says his company has brought in additional staff and are working weekends to keep up with demand.
Data shows consumers have been buying more to make their homes and yards more entertaining and comfortable as they geared up to stay in more this summer. According to ecommerce security and fraud prevention vendor Signifyd, online sales of leisure and outdoor items increased 93% from March 3-June 22 compared with the same period a year earlier. Signifyd’s data is derived from sales data at more than 10,000 global e-retailers.