Sales of Golf Apparel thru Green Grass/Off Course Specialty/Online channels of trade were down over 5% for December, and down 5.5% for the year. 2016 sales were down in 10 of 12 months, with the only significant positive bump coming long ago in February (+3%). And sales in six out of seven categories were lower than in 2015, with only Women’s Tops (Sweaters, Vests, Fleece) selling more.
Unlike equipment where Average Selling Prices have been skyrocketing over the past two years and dampening demand, ASP’s in Apparel were up marginally in a few of the categories and down slightly in others, generally running in a tight range compared to last year (+/-3%).
Trade inventories have generally been running a little high throughout 2016 (likely a direct result of lower than expected demand) and we are finishing the year with stock levels particularly high on the women’s side of the ledger.
While the results are similar to golf equipment (lower sales) the two categories are very different. Equipment sales (other than balls and gloves) are heavily skewed toward the Off Course channel, while Apparel tilts toward the Green Grass. Online sales are growing in both product categories, just as they are in the broader worldwide market for all goods, however hard goods didn’t enjoy as much of a positive bump as soft goods.
With Rounds Played up for 2016 (+1% YTD thru November), it would suggest more traffic moving thru golf shops, which typically produces higher levels of sales from items like apparel, which are heavily impacted by merchandising and exposure at the point of sale. However, Golf Apparel and Golf Equipment both were down significantly even while rounds improved.
If you’re in the Golf Apparel or Golf Equipment business and you don’t get Golf Datatech data regularly, you should consider contacting Suzie Phillips at email@example.com for further information. Every month Golf Datatech projects sales in units and dollars, inventories, and Average Selling Prices for the industry down to the Brand and Item level.