After the inaugural pandemic year of 2020, who would have imagined 2021 could have gotten any crazier? But it did. A riot on the nation’s capital. A gas pipeline held for ransom. Tornados that flattened towns in Kentucky and hurricanes that traveled from the Gulf Coast all the way up to New England. And then, ending where we started … with another version of COVID stressing out and sickening people around the world.
Through all the ups and downs of 2021, including massive supply and demand challenges, companies have pulled together to keep products flowing and their people employed.
In response to severe weather events and natural disasters, the portable fuel containers industry worked hard to meet staggering demand this year for 21 million portable fuel containers.
“In today’s marketplace, where there are extreme situational challenges, along with staffing and COVID-19 health concerns, it’s very significant that our company was able to successfully unite to fulfill accelerated fuel container demands in 2021,” says Daniel Marshall, vice president of marketing and business development with Scepter.
Demanding Year Right from the Start
Marshall relates that product demand started early in 2021 when January ice storms and the 2021 Ground Hog Day Nor’easter impacted the East Coast. Immediately following those events, there were power outages in February in Texas due to a deep freeze. Every situation had consumers scrambling for fuel containers to operate generators and equipment
“While we can sometimes foresee bad weather circumstances and ramp up in advance for them, there was no way to plan for the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack in May,” says Marshall. “Gasoline shortages were immediate, which meant people were reacting by wanting to fill fuel containers. This was happening right about the time of National Hurricane Preparedness Week in May when people are starting to think about hurricane prep. The amount of fuel containers required during this month skyrocketed.”
Second Half of Year Push
As the summer of 2021 progressed, so did the 2021 Hurricane Season. In late August/early September, Category 4 Hurricane Ida brought strong weather from the Gulf Coast all the way up throughout the Northeast. In total, there were 21 named storms in the season, with seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes --- all good reasons for people to prepare their homes and businesses to handle wicked weather.
“While many people always keep fuel and water containers filled and ready to go, there are greater numbers of people who purchase containers reactively, based on severe weather forecasts,” says Marshall. “They may never have been in a location impacted by bad weather before. Then along comes a mega storm and they need to prepare. That’s when people seek out reliable containers. And that’s why our team works so hard to create those containers and keep the inventory available.”
The various “unplanned events” impacting container sales during 2021 occurred over just 25 to 30 specific days --- or seven percent of the year. According to industry reports, on those specific days, consumer purchasing hit its peak for fuel container sales. Almost five million fuel containers were sold during a total of those days online and in stores such as Walmart®, Lowe’s® and The Home Depot®. When totaled, that’s close to 25 percent of all the containers purchased by consumers from all manufacturers for the entire year. On those extreme, high sales days, an average of 200,000 fuel containers were purchased every day. That’s enough to fill between 75 and 100 semi truckloads each day!
A Year for the Books
“This is the second record year of high demand for fuel containers for our industry,” says Marshall. “It’s actually a bit surprising. We see many items in the world transitioning to battery operation --- like lawn equipment, generators and even some cars. That would make you think that demand for fuel containers would be down. However, it’s just the opposite. Consumers are purchasing more gas, diesel and kerosene containers than ever before.
“We’re proud that Scepter sold more fuel containers than any other company in 2021. And we are exceptionally proud that we accomplished this milestone without any business interruptions, and while doing this under continued COVID restrictions.”
Scepter fuel and water containers can be found throughout the U.S. in Walmart®, The Home Depot®, Lowe’s®, AutoZone®, Pep Boys, Amazon and Northern® Tool + Equipment stores. Visit www.scepter.com for more information.