Thank you for your question! It is a tough one because folks in the
industry are very proprietary about their numbers. Everyone fears
their competitors will find out something that may give them an
and everyone has a slightly different estimate.
I spoke with Pat Fitzgerald, the V.P. of Marketing at Taylor
Technologies, one of the major sellers of test kits. She declined to
give away any specific company
numbers, but gave this as her best guess of the total units sold
"The National Pool and Spa Institute says there are 11 million pools
in the country, so my guess is that owners buy 11 million test kits or
bottles a year." She says owners would need to buy one per year, but
the number could vary widely by the amount of testing done, and
the pool was open all year (Sunbelt) or closed in winter. She doesn't
a proportion for the numbers of kits vs. strips sold.
Alissa Sard-Pollack, who does P.R. for two of the major test-strip
and chemicals firms, says that test "strips" are the big thing now in
pool testing. She says that pool men and people who are really
interested in chemistry may use the traditional "kits", but that most
home users are satisfied to use the much simpler test "strip," which
is similar to those used by diabetics to test for blood sugar.
Carvin DiGiovanni, a spokesman for the umbrella agency, National Pool
and Spa Institute, tells me his agency hasn't broken out the pool kits
numbers separately from other "aftermarket" sales, which are $3.9
billion annually. His agency does have a great amount of residential
swimming pool info available at:
PKData, which does market analysis for the Pool and Spa industry,
does not have a specific figure for total pool test kit sales,
to their spokesman Loren Brown. You can find their extensive reports
on the pool and spa market here:
Now for pool service people: According to David Dickman, editor of
Pool & Spa Service Industry News,
there are an estimated 5 million pools and 5 million spas in the U.S.
above ground pools.) Dickman says that about 25% of those, or
are serviced by professional pool people. (He estimates 25,000
servicing pools). According to Dickman, once a week would be the usual
interval for pool service. Less than that would damage the pool. No
would use a service just once a month. (Pat Fitzgerald disputes this,
and says some use service less than once a week. No hard figures.)
Dickman ads that in the Sunbelt, pool care is an all-year business and
largely undertaken by individuals and small businesses. In the colder
it is a seasonal business and is undertaken by larger, multi-employee
from Memorial Day to Labor Day. During the winter there, pools are
down and there is no service.
The following site,
is a Market Report from Pool & Spa Marketing (a Hubbard Publication)
titled "United States Swimming Pool Market." This report is old,
reflects business activity up to and including the calendar year of
2000, but is located in the 2002 Reference and directory.
The numbers there are also based on estimates and vary just slightly
Dickman's numbers. They summarize that there are 4 million 210
in ground pools in the U.S. and 3 million 219 thousand above ground
pools. They further break out a "Hot Water" or spa units number for
of 4 million estimated.
By the way, according to Mr. Dickman those above ground pools are
generally serviced by the owners, not pool companies, and would be a
market for the pool test kits.
Of possible interest to you, there is a International Pool and Spa
Expo coming up in Dallas next week. Wed-Fri, October 29-Nov 1. You
would be able to gather a lot of information from the folks there, if
you're anywhere nearby. Here's the
I have given you the best guesses of everyone I can reach. Hope this
of help to you. If it is, let me know and I'll post it as "My Final