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Survey Results:
Pool And Spa Industry Economic And Political Survey

08/02/11

"Survey Results From Our Pool And Spa Industry Economic And Political Survey"

Dear Advertiser,

Over the last two weeks, we had conducted a survey amongst our advertisers and sponsors.  We thought you might like to see the results (see below).

The survey was sent to any of our advertisers and sponsors that are involved with the pool & spa industry only (not like our Home Depot or Bellagio or Jaguar - type advertisers). It was not publicly on our web site, and was only available by invitation only. Basically it was a mix of pool & spa manufacturers, dealers, service companies, and various product manufacturers.

This was by no means a nationwide survey (like our consumer surveys are), and you have to assume that all the respondents are in our industry, currently advertise to some extent on our site, many of which subscribe to our lead service, and are clearly pre-disposed to doing consumer-direct advertising over the internet. So it is skewed somewhat according to those qualifications for these respondents.  This was meant to be an internal survey for the use of our sponsors to see how everyone else is doing. 

Please remember that this was NOT a consumer-based survey.  We will be conducting a large nationwide consumer-based survey within the next few months, and we will share those results once that survey is completed.

When you do a survey like this one (to business people), you never know what kind of results you are going to get. Anecdotal stories do not always tell the real truth about what is going on economically - especially within our industry.

We were quite surprised at some of the results!  Our own comments are noted after each question.

We hope this information may be of interest to you....


"Survey Results From Our Pool And Spa Industry Economic And Political Survey"

1. Overall, how would you rate your sales so far this year?

About What We Expected - 66%

Worse Than We Expected - 33%

Best Year Ever - 0%

Worst Year Ever - 0%

Our Comments about this question - We really thought that most people would report far worse sales than the results indicate. We really thought we were going to get a lot more "Worst Year Ever" responses, but that did not prove to be the case.


2. Numerically, how would you say your sales have been this year (compared to last year)?

38.8% Down compared to last year

33.3% About the same as last year

27.7% Up compared to last year

Our Comments about this question - We were happily surprised at the responses to this question.  Over 60% responded the same or better sales than last year.  From the stories we have been hearing, you would think that everyone's sales were way down, but that seems to be untrue from these results.


3. Do you think the government is doing the right things to help the economy improve?

87.5% No

12.5% Yes

Our Comments about this question - We want to know who that 12.5% is.  What were they thinking?


4. In your opinion, what is the SINGLE MOST important factor that is causing depressed pool and spa sales?

38.8% We cannot get adequate financing for our customers

27.7% My target demographic has no money

16.6% Many of my dealers have gone out of business

11.1% My target demographic is having problems with housing issues (underwater mortgages, foreclosures, etc.) 

5.5% We are not having any problems, our sales are great

Our Comments about this question - No surprise here.  Especially among the swimming pool builders.  Financing is key to that industry segment, and no one (banks or government) seems to be doing anything about this.


5. What are your customers mainly buying this year? 

41.9% Portable Hot Tub Spas 

19.4% Pool & Spa Related Accessories

18.1% Swim Spas

11.7% Inground Swimming Pools

5.8% Above Ground Swimming Pools

0.0% Inground Hot Tub Spas

Our Comments about this question - Kind of surprised that Swim Spa sales were this high, but that is very good. We kind of thought that Inground Pool sales would be this low.  We were shocked at how low the Above Ground Pool sales were though.  And whatever happened to the Inground Spa market ???


6. Are you ? (We mean the person answering this survey)......... 

41.4% Republican

22.2% Democrat

17.6% Independent

15.6% I am not politically involved

Our Comments about this question - We thought that this would skew a bit higher on the Republican side.  We were also kind of shocked that only 17% were independents as well.  From the news on TV these days, you would think that many more people were calling themselves "Independents", but this was not the case with these respondents.


7. Normally, do you vote on a regular basis ?

83.3% Yes 

16.6% No

Our Comments about this question - About what we figured.


8. If you do vote, do you normally vote....... 

38.8% Mostly Republican

22.2% Independent

12.4% Mostly Democrat

11.1% I do not vote

Our Comments about this question - About what we figured.


9. How much do you think National Politics affects your business? 

50.0% Somewhat

36.8% A lot

7.5% Not really at all

2.3% I do not know what this means

0.8% I do not follow Politics

0.0% Not at all

Our Comments about this question - We're just guessing here, but we bet that the 7.5% that answered "Not really at all" are probably the same group of people who are reporting lower sales this year.  But that's just a guess.


10. Where do you get MOST of your leads? 

38.1% Your own web site

21.5% Poolandspa.com lead service

19.2% Google

11.1% Local print advertising

6.1% Other

Our Comments about this question - We were so happy with these results. Finally, others in our industry are finding great success with getting leads from their own company web sites.  This is quite a change over the last 36 months, when very few people were getting actual "leads" from their own company's web sites. Obviously we were happy that 21% answered the "Poolandspa.com lead service".  We were kind of surprised that Google did not trend higher.  Actually when we focus-grouped the questions for this survey, almost everyone was sure that Google would be the #1 answer by far.  But that was not the case with these respondents.


11. Does your company follow up the leads you get from Poolandspa.com? 

83.8% Yes

7.5% No

3.5% I do not know what this is

Our Comments about this question - We were very shocked at this.  We used to hear from many companies that they do not follow up the leads they get from Poolandspa.com for various reasons (too expensive, too hard, too time consuming, bad dealers, etc.). But in this economy, it seems that most companies now realize that each and every lead is important.


12. If you DO follow up the Poolandspa.com Leads that are sent to you each week, how are your sales FROM THOSE leads?

35.2% About average

23.5% Really good 

17.6% Lower than average

8.7% I do not follow up those leads

5.1% I do not know what this means

Our Comments about this question - This is almost exactly what we expected.


13. Where do you feel that you get your BEST leads from? 

33.3% Your own web site

27.7% The Poolandspa.com weekly lead service

16.6% Your dealers

11.1% Your Google Ads

7.9% Other

0.0% Your magazine ads

0.0% PoolSearch.com

0.0% SpaSearch.com

0.0% BuyersZone.com 

0.0% Other paid lead service

0.0% TV or Radio Ads

Our Comments about this question - Again, we were very happy with these results.  Still surprised that Google trended so low.  Also a bit shocked at the number of 0% responses, especially for magazines, TV and radio.  Maybe what they say is true.....maybe the Internet is killing traditional media in the eyes of consumers.


14. Did you vote for President Barack Obama in the 2008 election?

47.0% Yes

35.2% No

11.6% I did not vote in the 2008 Presidential Elections

0.7% Other

0.0% I do not know who this is

Our Comments about this question - This is about what we expected.


15. Would you vote for President Barack Obama again? 

51.9% No

23.5% Yes

11.7% I do not vote 

9.2% Maybe, depending on what he does this year

0.0% I do not know who this is

Our Comments about this question - We were a little bit surprised that 23.5% answered "Yes" and 9% said "Maybe". We thought this would skew into the high 90% range for "No", given the current state of the economy.  But we were wrong when it came to this group of respondents.


16. Thinking about the economy, politics, and the current economy, do you plan to....

72.2% Keep our advertising efforts the same as 2011

11.1% Increase my company's advertising efforts in 2012

8.1% I am not in control of my company's advertising budget, so I cannot answer this question

5.5% Decrease my company's advertising efforts in 2012 

Our Comments about this question - We were surprised at these answers.  We fully thought that the highest response, by far, would be "Decrease my company's advertising efforts in 2012".  Nice to see we were wrong.


17. Which of the following describes yourself (the person answering this survey) ?

41.4% Been here for a while (employed by this same company for over 24 months) 

38.8% The Business Owner, President or CEO

7.5% Other

3.5% New hire (less than 12 months)

2.2% Sub-Contractor (such as a lead generation service, ad agency, consultant, web designer, etc.)

0.0% Recent hire (in the last 12-24 months)

Our Comments about this question - These results were absolutely 100% opposite of what we expected.  From what you hear, it is thought that a lot of companies have fired many of their middle management and sales people, and re-hired younger workers at reduced salaries and benefits.  We assumed that "Recent Hire" and "New Hire" would be the top two answers. But we were dead wrong with this one.


18. Which of the following do YOU PERSONALLY own ? (select all that apply)

18.5% An HD Big-Screen TV 

17.2% A house

16.0% A Smart Phone (like an IPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc.)

11.1% A Portable Spa

7.4% A Gun (any type) 

7.4% A Video Game Player (via a TV interface)

7.4% A boat

6.1% An Inground Swimming Pool

6.1% A Jet Ski

1.2% An Inground Spa

1.2% An RV (Recreational Vehicle or Camper)

0.0% A Swim Spa

0.0% An Above Ground Swimming Pool

Our Comments about this question - OK folks.....we just have to make an observation here.  Everyone who took this survey was somehow involved in the pool & spa industry. Only 11% owned a spa, only 6% owned a pool, and 0% owned a swim spa???  So everyone is trying to sell pools & spas to everyone else, but they don't even have one of their own products?  This was a very odd and unexpected result from this respondent group. 


19. Do you PERSONALLY do any of the following activities? (select all that apply)

28.5% Drink (even occasionally or socially)

19.6% Use Facebook (either personally or for business purposes) 

19.1% Play sports (any)

10.7% Gamble (either in casinos or in home-type games)

8.9% Smoke

5.3% Play video games (either online, personally on my box, on the computer, or via Smart Phone, Iphone or Ipad, etc.)

5.3% Blog (as a verb, at all, either personally or for business purposes)

1.7% Tweet

Our Comments about this question - When formatting surveys, there are always some "sneaky" questions utilized.  This was one of those questions. We were primarily only interested in seeing how many people were using social networking (Facebook, Blog or Twitter) with this question.  The other possible answers meant nothing.  We were very surprised at the low trending for social networking use.  Maybe this respondent group skewed a little bit older than we had figured.  But in any event, all you hear about is how everyone is Tweeting everything, Blogging away every little detail of their lives, and are addicted to Facebook.  Certainly this was not the case with these respondents, to say the least.  Not quite sure why...


20. How often do YOU PERSONALLY check your email (via personal or business computer, Iphone, Blackberry, Andriod, Google TV, etc.) 

66.6% More than every hour (I check it more than once, per 60 minute period)

16.6% Every hour

11.1% Twice per day 

5.5% Once per day

0.0% I only check it MORE THAN every 48 hours apart

0.0% I do not use email, in any form

Our Comments about this question - This one was also a bit of a shocker.  Over 83% of the respondents checked their email AT LEAST every hour.  We did not think that would be the case at all.  We thought the #1 answer would definitely be "Once per day", but as you can see, we were so wrong on that one!  Email use and email marketing must not be quite as "dead" as a lot of people are saying nowadays - at least among these respondents.

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