November Consumer pull thru in the On/Off/Online channels turned sharply positive, up 7% in value, with growth across many product categories, running counter to 2016 trends.
After declining for seven consecutive months, combined sales increased slightly in October (0.6%) followed by a substantial burst in November.
Green Grass sales were up almost 5% for the month, led by golf balls which increased by double digits and account for a substantial percentage of all sales thru the channel. Wood sales thru the Green Grass remain anemic, but iron sales soared in September and October before cooling in November.
Off Course there is a lot happening, as Golfsmith’s “Going Out of Business” sale helped fuel some of the category growth, however overall sales among other Off Course Specialty stores was up significantly (ex GOOB Sales). November Wood sales were positive for the first time in all of 2016, while ball sales were up double digits.
What caused the change in direction? New products? Promotional pricing? Great weather across the country? The end of a very contentious election season? All of the above?
Clearly one month of positive sales doesn’t make a trend, so it would be wrong to assume all is well and that the golf industry has turned the corner. However, rounds played are up for the second consecutive year, and now we are seeing the first significant broad improvements in equipment sales.