Here are the most recent trends of note (thru September 2016)
*Overall US sales of golf products thru the On/Off Course/Online channels continue to lag prior year thru the 3rd quarter of 2016.
*Unit sales are down significantly in most categories while Average Selling Prices (ASP) have moved higher, due to a combination of higher priced new products and a more efficiently managed system for manufacturer’s launching and closing out products. Less inventory of second/third generation products means fewer “screaming deals” at retail.
*The best performing product category in 2016 is wedges, where sales in value are up mid single digits. Over the past decade the wedge business has remained healthy as golfers today carry significantly more wedges than the players of years ago. With the advent of stronger lofts on iron sets an opportunity exists for golfers to carry 3 or 4 wedges rather than “the old days” when a typical player had a pitching wedge and a sand club.
The US Market in Q4 of 2015 enjoyed some excellent weather across the entire US, driving rounds played higher and bolstering sales, which may create challenging comps for the rest of the year.
In the end, golfers respond to technological breakthroughs, and more than one manufacturer believes they have the products to drive sales to new heights over the next 12 months. Only time will tell.