Golf Datatech recently released the January 2018 On/Off Course Specialty Retail Sales data for the equipment categories, and for some of the biggest segments it was not a pretty picture. Consumables fell 1% in dollars while Clubs were down double digits, with Drivers specifically down 35% and irons falling 15%. While that might look like a horrific start to the new year, there are several extenuating circumstances to consider before running out of the house screaming like your hair is on fire:
- January is the smallest month of the year for equipment sales, and thus it is the most volatile and also the easiest to recover from having a slow start.
- January 2018 weather was terrible for golf, and we would expect to see a sharp drop in rounds played for the month when they are released in a few days. Rounds and sales of equipment do not always track together, however a month as poor as this January would likely dampen (pun intended) the enthusiasm of the golfer to buy new product.
- In January of 2017 both TaylorMade and Callaway new club launches were already available and selling in the market, while in 2018 both did not hit the market with new models until the month of February, so the comparison’s of one January to the other is without the new product from two of the largest club brands.
So while we never want to get off to a slow start, there is no reason of panic…February and March data will provide significantly better insights into where the year is headed.