Choosing which brands to offer constitutes one of the most important decisions a company can make. These brands not only occupy the shelves, constructed projects, and service routines of pool/spa companies — optimally, they help elevate firms by mere association.
To provide professionals a sense of what brands their peers use and regard, PSN has conducted its first Brand Use Study. It is based on an online survey that yielded 887 responses from builders, retailers and service professionals. For 20 product categories, respondents indicated which brands they are familiar with, which they’ve used in the past two years, which one they use the most and which one they believe offers the highest quality.
In most categories, respondents ranked product quality and performance as their most important factor for choosing a brand, while regarding price as the least important.
The study will be covered in three parts, looking at the top three brands for each product category. Here, we look at those related to hydraulics, maintenance and water treatment.
CHEMICALS & WATER TESTING
When it comes to familiarity, the top four ranking brands are neck-and-neck, falling within five percentage points of each other. Not surprisingly, perceived quality did translate to brands used most. In ranking these brands, respondents stated that quality and performance are most important, averaging a score of 6.65 out of a possible 7. Price sat at the bottom of the priority list, garnering a 4.22.
CONTROLS & AUTOMATION
The Big Three Manufacturers dominated here, with Pentair leading in all four of rankings below. In regional breakdowns, not shown, Pentair and Hayward performed about the same in each area. In comparing its regional familiarity scores against each other, Zodiac did best in the South, at 89% compared to 77% in the Northeast. Under “Brands Most Used,” Pentair saw its highest rating in the west, Zodiac in the South and Hayward in the Northeast.
AUTOMATIC POOL CLEANERS
While the Big Three made another prominent showing, this time Maytronics took positions in three of the four rankings. Pentair ranked as the Brand Used Most, while Zodiac received the highest scores for Overall Quality. Under Brand Used Most, Maytronics received the highest scores of the bunch in the Northeast (40%) and the Midwest (34%). Zodiac was the most widely recognized in the South (35%), while Pentair clearly dominated in the West (49%).
FITTINGS, JETS & BLOWERS
Hayward clearly dominated this category, taking the top spot in each ranking, followed by Waterway then Custom Molded Products (CMP). Under factors leading to their brand choices, respondents ranked quality and performance highest, followed by solid delivery, good brand experience and ease of installation.
HEATERS, PUMPS, MOTORS & FILTERS, EXCHANGERS & SOLAR
Here, Hayward and Pentair are joined by Raypak for the various top three rankings. Across all regions of the U.S., Pentair ranked first under “Brand Most Used,” with Hayward second and Raypak third. Unde“Highest Quality,” Pentair also earned the highest score in all four regions.
MAINTENANCE & CLEANING EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES
Here again, the top three is occupied by the Big Three. These companies have clearly saturated the country when it comes to brand recognition: Under brand familiarity, all three received 75% to 90% across all regions of the U.S. Under “Brands Used,” Pentair received the highest score in the West at 85%, the South at 79% and the Midwest at 73%, while Hayward received the highest score among Northeastern firms, at 75%.