It’s been a busy few weeks at Golf Datatech US, with the release of the April Retail Sell thru data, April Rounds Played, and the 2018 Evolution of Custom Fitting study, the 7th edition (going back to 2001) which tracks attitudes and opinions of the custom fitting process by nearly 1,700 Serious Golfers.
Some of the Rounds Played/Retail Sell Thru highlights (or lowlights depending upon your perspective) are as follows:
One of the key metrics in golf, rounds played are the engine that makes all others go. Long term if you don’t have rounds, you don’t need golf equipment or golf apparel, so this critical measure looks at the foundation of the business.
And unfortunately, April rounds played (down 13.5%) were a bit of disaster, negatively impacted by poor weather, particularly heavy precipitation and very cold weather in northern markets during the month. YTD the Southeast continues to struggle after a dismal Q1, fighting thru cold and wet weather.
YTD April Retail Sell Thru Data-Golf Equipment and Apparel
With four months in the books, retail sales of golf equipment remained healthy thru April even with some significant headwinds due to weather which have dampened rounds played…but not equipment sales. On the other hand, apparel has not fared as well as equipment and is lagging vs. 2017.
Consumables (Balls & Gloves): Down 1.8% YTD in total dollars, likely negatively impacted by the poor weather situation which continued, particularly in the Southeastern US.
Light Durables (Bags & Footwear): Up 6.6% YTD, led by footwear which enjoyed a very good start to 2018.
Clubs: Up 12.9% YTD, led by wedges, with irons and woods up the most while putter sales remain flat. Clearly the weather has not negatively impacted club sales, with sharp sales increases in both the On and Off Course channels.
Total golf apparel sales are down over 5% YTD, primarily impacted by weak Green Grass sales due to the aforementioned weather issues.
No single product category grew thru April 2018, however the two which got closest to breakeven were outerwear and men’s tops, both of which tend to sell more when the weather is poor.
The Off Course Specialty channel, which is the smaller of the two channels had marginal growth while the Green Grass was down significantly.
Bottoms which are primarily shorts and skirts were substantially down in the Green Grass (20%).