April Key Data-Rounds Played, Equipment & Apparel

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:

Rounds Played

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.

Equipment

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.

Apparel

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%).

 

 

2018’s Hot & Cold Start-Q1 Golf Roundup

With the First Quarter of 2018 equipment and apparel sales data released over the past few weeks and Rounds Played coming out late last week, it’s time to take stock of where the Golf Industry stands.  

Looking at the big picture, rounds played have been hampered by cold and rain (and unfortunately anecdotal evidence suggests April won’t be much better), however new product offerings have generated substantially improved consumer demand, driving club and shoe sales substantially higher.  Golf Apparel, which has been the shining star in golf products for the past 7 years is off to a slow start in 2018, with weather issues hitting a lot of warm weather golf courses and resorts.  

Rounds Played

Rounds during the month of March fell by 3.8% and remained down 5.6% Year to Date.  Poor weather across the southeastern US has been the primary culprit with cold temps and higher precipitation creating a negative environment for golf.  Rounds in the South Atlantic are down 10.5% and 15.2% in the South Central, two regions that typically represent a disproportionate percentage of rounds early in the year. 

And while the northern tier doesn’t typically play a lot of golf in the winter months, normally some diehards are on the links, particularly by March, however a late spring has slowed those markets to a crawl and they’re all down substantially.

Retail Sell Thru YTD Thru Q1-Golf Equipment

Consumables/Light Durables

Consumables (Balls & Gloves)

Negatively impacted by the weather situation, both golf ball and golf glove sales were down low single digits vs. Year Ago in units and dollars.

Light Durables (Bags & Shoes)

The Golf Shoe category was up sharply in both units and dollars the end of Q1, improving by double digits, while the bag business was level in units and up 4% in value.

Total Consumables/Light Durables:  +3% vs. Q1 2018.

Golf Clubs

Woods

Driver, Fairway and Hybrid ASP’s were all up significantly thru the first quarter of 2018, and even though units were slightly lower than year ago, the total value of woods improved by 7%.  After a very slow start due to changes in launch strategy/timing by some of the larger Brands, the wood category flourished in March and is expected to continue to be strong throughout the first half of the year.

Irons

Iron sales surged in Q1, increasing by 5% in units and 17% in dollars, a substantial increase in value sales in both the Green Grass (+36%) and the Off Course Specialty channels (+15%).  Pent up demand, a significant increase in Custom Fitting (which also increases the per stick ASP), and some exciting new products have driven demand for irons.  And unlike woods, units (sticks) within the iron category were also up for the quarter, suggesting a strong under lying foundation to iron sales early in 2018.  

Wedges

Wedge sales in dollars were up 29% thru the end of the first quarter, while units were up 31%, and ASP’s were slightly lower.  New product launches in March and lower prices on second generation product helped buoy the market early in Q1, longer term success will ride on the back of continued sell thru of premium priced wedges.  

Putters

The putter category is the “odd man out” thus far re: growth in 2018 among the various club products, with units up 2% and dollars flat.  In several recent years, any category that was “treading water” and not declining would have been considered a top performer, not so this year.  It’s worth noting however than new Scotty Cameron/Titleist putters were not available for sale until the very last day of the month, so it would not be a surprise to see a significant pop in category sales in April.

Total Golf Clubs:  +12% vs. Q1 2017

Total Golf Equipment:  +9% YTD

Retail Sell Thru YTD Thru Q1-Golf Apparel

YTD every product category of Golf Apparel is down on a YTD basis in value, and in total Golf Apparel sales fell by 6%.  The Off Course Specialty channel is performing better than the Green Grass, with the former down 1% and the latter down 8%.

Men’s Apparel

Men’s Golf Apparel sales were down 7% On Course but up 3% Off,  with all categories declining thru the Green Grass and all Specialty store product segments showing sales improvement.  

The largest category of Men’s Golf Apparel is Men’s Shirts, and those are down 6% thru Q1 On Course, but are up 2% Off Course, with ASP’s remaining relatively level thru the first quarter in each channel.

Women’s Apparel

Retail sales of Women’s Golf Apparel was down in all product segments across both channels thru the end of Q1, with Green Grass sales down 14% and the Off Course falling by 8%.  Sales declines in Women’s Golf Apparel are broadly based, however both Women’s Tops and Women’s Bottoms were off by more than 20% YTD.

Outerwear

Outerwear is a gender neutral category, and YTD sales are down 2% with the Green Grass level and the Off Course dropping by 8%, with ASP’s dripping by 2%+.

Total Golf Apparel:  Down 6% YTD

Total Golf Sales, Equipment and Apparel Combined, On/Off :   +8% YTD

 

January Results in Equipment…Take a Deep Breath

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

The “Amazonization” of Golf, Part III, Golf Equipment

In Part I we explored a general overview of how Amazon is impacting golf retail, in Part II we dug deeper into how Amazon is impacting the sale of golf apparel, and in Part III we analyze some of Amazon’s effect on golf equipment sales.

For the sake of this discussion we define “Golf Equipment” as balls, gloves, bags, shoes, woods, irons, wedges and putters, and further segment them into Consumables/Light Durables (balls, gloves, bags and shoes) and Durables (all club categories).  Total sales of Equipment thru the On/Off Course channels for 2017 totaled $2.35 billion, with Consumables/Light Durables accounting for roughly 45% of sales and clubs the rest.

Because their purchase cycles and usage habits are not alike, Consumables/Light Durables and Clubs track on substantially different paths.  Typically, consumption of balls and gloves are more influenced by frequency of play, because gloves wear out with use and balls get scuffed/dinged up, or more likely, lost or drowned.  Light Durables like bags and shoes have longer purchase cycles than balls or gloves, but due to the nature of their typical components and materials, they also wear out and need to be replaced more frequently than clubs.  Golf clubs rarely “wear out” (wedge grooves perhaps the exception to that rule), instead they are taken out of play most often when their owner is enticed to put aside their old “gamers” for a new shiny object, that promises the hope of improved play.

Defining the differences in the two categories is particularly relevant when discussing Amazon, because purchasing behaviors on the platform are vastly different by product category.  Golfers buying from Amazon are much more likely to purchase consumable golf products than golf clubs, primarily due to the convenience.  Push a button, and within hours or days (depending upon the delivery method selected) the balls or gloves of your choice show up on your doorstep, no muss, no fuss.  Enough “ammo” to last weeks…or months, depending upon how much the golfer is willing to stock up.  Since ball and glove models do not change often, and golfers tend to use and purchase them according to how frequently they play, buying multiples online for convenience is consistent with similar behavior inside a Brick and Mortar Off Course Specialty Store or Sporting Goods location.  However, when buying online thru Amazon or any other Online seller, the buyer never has to leave their chair or office.  In the Green Grass channel, where balls are more often bought in three-ball sleeves, the pricing is much higher and “need” (often necessary to play the round) is frequently the impetus behind buying, thus the impact of online competition is far less.

In today’s world, premium golf clubs aren’t a particularly good fit for the Amazon business model, at least in its present form.  Because high-end golf club models change frequently, clubs are often custom fit, and golfers like to try them in person prior to purchase, the Amazon experience isn’t ideal.  No online merchant or OEM has yet to develop an adequate online fitting tool or app for golf clubs.  This isn’t to say that one could not be developed and become popular, however at present the technology and user interfaces are not easy to use, accurate, and preferable to in person interaction.

Given that premium priced clubs are typically sold for the same price online as in Brick and Mortar stores, there’s less incentive to purchase golf clubs online, and even less of a reason to consider doing so from Amazon vs. other retail options.  Amazon is perceived as a large general merchandise marketplace lacking in golf expertise, which is important when buying clubs, meaning the site isn’t perceived as a place where golfers go to buy top of the line clubs, at least thus far.

While the Amazon Impact Study helped clarify attitudes and opinions around Consumables (Amazon is a good match) and Clubs (Amazon is a poor match for premium priced product), Lightweight Durables were in the middle…sometimes good, sometimes bad.  Like almost any footwear sold online, Amazon is a good place for golfers to buy golf shoes, however  golf bags have been less than a perfect fit so far, though a significant percentage of respondents to the study indicated they’re interested in buying bags from Amazon at some point in the future.

Details about purchasing the full Amazon Impact study are available from Golf Datatech at info@golfdatatech.com.

 

 

The “Amazonization” of Golf, Part II: Golf Apparel

In Part I we explored a general overview of how Amazon is impacting golf retail, in Part II we dig deeper into how Amazon is impacting the sale of golf apparel, and in Part III (coming soon), we will analyze Amazon and golf equipment.  

Golf Apparel is a difficult product to easily define and measure, because a polo shirt sold at Target, Nordstrom’s or PGATSS could all be worn to play golf.  Or to the office.  Or to mow the lawn.  Where the product is sold is as important as what the product is when defining “golf” apparel.  There are many brands that specifically focus on golf apparel, and in the process use design and/or material differences to create products that work best for golf, however in reality that same product could have multiple uses, and once it leaves the shop, store, or warehouse no one knows what it will be used for.  Whereas in golf equipment, there aren’t a lot of alternate uses for that new driver you just bought…it’s pretty much going to be used to play golf, or be made into the worlds most expensive tomato stake.

For the sake of our discussion, we are assuming “golf apparel” consists of clothing designed and sold primarily to be used for playing the game, and most frequently sold by those that focus on golf.  However, that is clearly not a hard and fast definition, as the page below demonstrates…Amazon is a major factor in golf apparel, and golf is but a tiny fraction of their total sales.  And for context, according to many experts that track general retail sales in America, Amazon passed Macy’s to become America’s largest apparel seller in 2016, and without a doubt it has only increased their leadership position since.

How Amazon Sells its Own Product…First

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 8.54.31 AM

On a recent day I went to the Amazon website and entered “Golf Apparel” in the search box, and what you see above was how the site delivered possible matches to my inquiry.  It will  surprise no one that works with or follows Amazon that the first product delivered to was their own “Essentials” line, at extremely competitive pricing. In 2016 Amazon made a significant investment in broadly expanding their private label business in several product categories, and the Essentials line is a representation of how they compete in golf apparel.

It’s no surprise that Amazon’s highly proprietary and closely held search engine (known as A9) placed its own product first, followed by other brands determined via algorithm, which no one outside of Amazon comprehends.  There are hundreds of online articles and consultants hoping to guide individual brands thru the steps toward improving their standing inside Amazon searches, so this post will let those experts take the lead, and instead we’ll focus on the bigger picture of perceptions of Amazon and golf apparel.

Macro Level Golf Apparel

Golf Datatech estimates the On/Off Course channels sold over $1.1 billion in golf apparel in 2017, an increase of nearly 6% vs. 2016.  Of that, well over 3/4 of those sales are made in a Green Grass golf shop.

Prior consumer research by Golf Datatech suggests over one half of all golf shirts being worn today feature a golf club/course logo, making a large part of the golf apparel market impregnable to anything Amazon can do to make itself a viable competitor to a local golf shop.  Instead, Online sellers (including but not limited to Amazon) as well as Off Course Specialty stores, are left to battle for more basic apparel items that do not have logos, and are often entrenched in a price battle.  And pricing is an area where Amazon often, but not always, has a step up over the competition.

Buying Golf Apparel From Amazon

In “The Amazon Effect” we specifically probed consumers about what products they have purchased from Amazon in the past, as well as those they are likely to buy in the future, and Golf Shirts topped the future list, along with Shorts/Skorts, Jackets, Rainwear and Sweaters all among the top 10 products in golf.  While most golfers likely won’t buy all their golf apparel thru Amazon, they are very likely to view it as a place to buy some items, particularly those which typically don’t feature a club logo, such as bottoms.

And to keep matters in perspective, while Amazon is definitely a player in selling online golf apparel, in the big picture it still remains worth mentioning that only about 20% of total respondents to the Amazon Effect survey have ever purchased a single piece of golf apparel from the site.

Impact of Amazon Prime

Prime members are significantly more loyal to the platform, and it is no different when it comes time to purchase golf apparel.  Those who are members of Amazon Prime are far more likely to be looking toward buying golf apparel on Amazon.  Once Amazon can convince a consumer to agree to pay them to be a “member”, their loyalty to the platform increases exponentially.

Brand Strength and Product Differentiation Matters

The objective of Amazon’s search engine is simply to optimize the customer experience for the buyer while maximizing revenue per visitor for Amazon.  The opaque nature of the search engine, along with the knowledge that Amazon’s own product will likely be featured at the budget price points, makes the platform very challenging for any manufacturer attempting to sell basic golf apparel.  However, if the manufacturer has a well-developed consumer brand, is well designed, has a technology story or material difference built into their product, they stand a good chance to break thru and sell a lot of product on the platform.

Looking Forward

Amazon is ideally suited to sell their own “Essentials”  line of price point golf apparel, however their inability to compete with golf course logos means a significant piece of the category will never be within their reach.  Additionally, branded non-logoed golf apparel will always be available thru Amazon, either direct from the manufacturer, or thru secondary sellers, however that same product could also be purchased thru competing websites, or in person at a traditional brick and mortar retailer.

As Amazon continues to expand, grow and become even more fully integrated into the retail fabric of America, their impact on golf apparel will be substantial, however many golfers still enjoy the experience of personal engagement that only occurs in an actual retail environment, either in the Pro Shop, their nearby Golf Specialty Store, a Sporting Goods store, or a major retailer.

For anyone interested in purchasing the full “Amazon Impact” consumer report, focused specifically upon the apparel category, please email info@golfdatatech.com or click on the link below for more information and pricing. 

The “Amazonization” of Golf-Part 1

The following are some thoughts on how Amazon is impacting the business of golf, most based upon results from “The Amazon Impact”, a study of how Serious Golfers view the #1 Online Retailer in America, conducted by Golf Datatech and released early in 2018.  Part I is a big picture view of Amazon’s impact, while Part II and Part III will be released in the upcoming weeks and address specific product categories like Golf Apparel and Golf Equipment.

Few topics create more passionate discourse in the golf business than bringing up the 8,000 pound gorilla (ten times bigger than the 800 pound one) that’s in the room.

Amazon

To some Amazon is the devil.  To others a savior. To American consumers it’s a habit that would be hard to kick, if you wanted to kick it, and most do not.  Amazon is a complex layered selling machine designed to make the buying process simple and seamless to the ultimate consumer.

Point, click, and within a few hours or a few days your product of choice appears on your front doorstep, with the Amazon smiley face adorning the exterior of the package.  From the consumer’s perspective it could hardly be easier to order and receive delivery.  And Amazon is certainly not done pushing the envelope when it comes to making the purchase and delivery process as easy and timely as humanly possible.  In fact, they even forgo humans and employ automated processes whenever possible, such as robotic driven pickers in warehouses, cashier-less grocery stores, and delivery drones.  Amazon is always testing the outer limits of making the process simpler, faster, and more efficient, seemingly all the while investing in the future, eschewing short-term profits while always looking toward the far horizon.

While it’s hard to argue with all the benefits accruing to the consumer from using the Amazon platform, these improvements do not come without a cost to the broader fabric of America.  After several years of relatively unfettered expansion and upward scaling of the business, Amazon has started to receive pushback from small segments of society that are concerned over one entity having too much power.  While many doctoral thesis’ will likely be written about the impact of Amazon on society as a whole, our immediate concerns are with how it is impacting the golf business.

Amazon & Golf

First and foremost, Amazon’s model for engaging with the golfer works well, as golfers tend to be well educated with higher than average incomes, a good match for the Amazon selling platform.  Golf Datatech just completed study on the Attitudes and Usage of Amazon by Serious Golfers,  called “The Amazon Impact”, and determined that golf balls, gloves, shoes, distance devices and apparel are all well positioned to be purchased from the largest US online retailer, however those products that require engagement, interaction, trial and fitting (golf clubs in particular), are poorly suited for effective selling.  It’s not to say Amazon may not look to find ways to overcome those obstacles, they’ve certainly done it before (think Whole Foods acquisition), but at the moment the lack of personal interaction have been too significant to overcome.

And to set the record straight, while Amazon has gained significant traction over the past year in consumables and packaged golf goods, it remains but a piece of the overall marketplace, not the dominant player.  In golf balls and golf apparel the Green Grass channel is far larger than Amazon and in clubs the Off Course Specialty channel controls the bulk of the sales.

When Part II of this blog exploring Amazon and the golf business comes out, we’ll focus on Golf Apparel, followed by Part III which will address equipment in more detail.

Details about purchasing the full Amazon Impact study are available from Golf Datatech at info@golfdatatech.com.

 

Better Times Ahead? Recap of 2017 & Looking Toward 2018

As the 2018 PGA Show recedes into the rear view mirror, here are some insights into where the golf equipment and apparel industries find themselves moving toward Spring.  And we all know that Spring is when the fun really begins in the golf biz:

2017 Recap

*Golf Equipment:  In virtually every category of golf equipment, unit sales were lower and Average Selling Prices were up, in many cases substantially.

*While equipment sales in total were off a little over 2% in dollars, apparel sales were up 6%, and combined the equipment and apparel categories improved by 1%.  After a very slow start +1% seems like a very big win.  For comparison sake, total US GDP was +2.3% so we were not far from the norm while facing significant shifts in distribution channels.

*We have tracked and projected apparel sales since 2010 and they have been up in six of the past seven years.  Clearly apparel has been the best performing segment, however it has not been immune to unit declines of late, which were offset by increasing prices.

*The Green Grass and Online channels both gained significant market share while the Off Course Specialty channel contracted, the primary culprit being the bankruptcy of one of the industry’s leading retailers, Golfsmith.  Even though Dick’s picked up a chunk of the Golfsmith stores and re-branded them as Golf Galaxy, the majority of doors closed and wreaked havoc in the channel as a whole.

2018 Direction

*Signs point toward a better macro economic environment: with GDP up, asset values at all time highs due to stock market prices, and additional funds available in many American’s paychecks come February, as tax reform lessens withholding and most people have more cash in the pocket every pay-day.

*Consumer research by Golf Datatech late in 2017 suggested the US Golfer is finally adjusting to higher prices for new equipment, adjusting to the reduced new product cadence by the major manufacturers (which means fewer close outs/price point offerings), as well as higher launch pricing, all of which have driven ASP’s to record levels in most categories of golf products across both hard and soft goods.

*Golf Datatech believes the declines in units sold in many categories will bottom out this upcoming year, and we might even see the beginnings of an uptick.  For 2018 to be an “up year”we will likely need improvements in units, as we believe there will be limited upside in ASP’s coming off the substantial increases enjoyed over the past two years.

2018 PGA Show, Kicks Off the Season

While we’re always careful not to read too much into enthusiastic opinions at the PGA Show, this was the first time in many years there was a near unanimous positive vibe rumbling throughout the Orlando Convention Center.  Lots of new products, launching into relatively clean channels with minimal old inventory, combined with a consumer who is starting to feel good about their financial position and has been very conservative the last few years when buying new golf product…and all felt right with the world…even if it was just for a few days in January.

As we said earlier, the fun in golf begins this spring, but all the ducks appear to be in a row for a good start, now if only the weather cooperates!

 

Q3 in the Books

US Golf equipment sales thru the 3rd Quarter of 2017 are in the books, and many of the trends that developed earlier in the year have continued:

-Unit sales generally remain weak and Average Selling Prices continue at very elevated levels.

-Dollar sales in several high profile categories (balls, drivers, fairways and hybrids) improved vs. prior year, and several of the other segments which had been lagging, have started to slowly rebound.

-Higher ASP’s might have dampened the Golfer’s appetite for buying as many new products as often, however those higher prices have been beneficial to many manufacturers who for over a decade endured virtually no pricing power and suffered lower margins while seeing their costs rise.

-2017 Sales thru the Green Grass channel have been excellent, with the On Course segment up nearly 12% Year to Date, with most product categories up.  As the Off Course channel contracted substantially, the Golf Shops On Course were ready, willing, and very able to fill some of the void and meet the consumer’s needs to see, demo, and buy new clubs.

*Woods=  +29% YTD

*Irons=     +20% YTD

*Putters=  +11% YTD

*Balls=      +10% YTD

*Bags=      +  9% YTD

*Wedges= + 5% YTD

*Gloves:    +  5% YTD

-The Off Course channel in total contracted significantly in the first three quarters of 2017 (down 12%), heavily impacted by a substantial drop in the number of Off Course shops available for consumers to visit.  Many Off Course operators who remain in business have had a solid year as some of their largest competitors in specific markets disappeared, however the total channel could not offset the closure of nearly 100 outlets.

Looking Forward

Golf Datatech’s Golf Product Attitude & Usage (GPAU) study for the summer of 2017 suggests there could be some upside momentum building in equipment as we move toward the end of this year and into the next.  Indications suggest some of golf’s most influential consumers are ready to start buying…for more information on purchasing the GPAU please contact Suzie Phillips at info@agolfdatatech.com.

 

 

 

Where Have All the Golf Stores Gone? (Part 1)

Over the past decade the golf equipment business, not unlike most of the US Retail environment, has undergone a radical transformation, with consolidation replacing expansion as the industry’s watchword.  Whereas the US golf market once had more than 1,600 Off Course Specialty stores, today only +/-750 remain.  While the Off Course channel remains the heart and soul of golf club sales and sells more than its fair share of bags, balls, shoes and apparel, its overall reach declined substantially with the closures of nearly 100 outlets in 2016, the bulk of which were formerly Golfsmith stores.  Even though roughly three dozen Golfsmith’s were recommissioned as Golf Galaxy outlets, there are wide swaths of prime US golf markets that are currently operating with few, if any, Off Course Specialty stores available to look at new product, to try new product, or to be fit prior to buying.

These rapid changes in distribution channels leave golf companies and retailers asking a lot of questions:

*With fewer Off Course Specialty Stores available, where are golfers going to purchase their new golf clubs?  To be fit?  To be exposed to new concepts and products?

*Where are golfer buying their golf balls?  Golf Shoes?  Apparel?  Online from their couch or from a bricks and mortar outlet?

*How much impact have Online Retailers had on the traditional brick and mortar golf retail business?

*What golf products are selling well thru Online Retailers?  Which are relatively “slow”?  What kind of golfers buy online?

*Every product category in American retail is concerned over the potential impact of Amazon…what has Amazon’s impact been in sale of golf equipment and apparel?

*How has the Green Grass channel fared in 2017 as their Off Course competitors have faded away? (Spoiler Alert:  Very well as a channel thru the first half of the year)

*And what of the remaining Off Course Specialty stores?  Is their business booming with fewer competitors?  Or are they being impacted like the rest of American brick and mortar retail by declining store visits and lower sales volumes?

*Sporting Goods, once the fastest growing golf channel, is also undergoing consolidation as Sports Authority went bankrupt in 2016, and Dick’s Sporting Goods grew even stronger in their role as the dominant player in the channel.  What kind golfers are going to Sporting Goods stores? What are they buying?

*What new channels are emerging?  While companies frequently cite the impact of Online Retail, what about the newly emerging category of Club Fitting Specialists?  Using the latest in high tech equipment this channel has become significant as more and more golfers decide to get their clubs fit to their particular swing and playing ability.

Golf Datatech attempts to answer these questions and many more with the recent release of the  the “2017 Serious Golfer Buying and Shopping Study”, a deep dive into how the golfing public goes about the shopping and purchasing process, understanding their attitudes about the various channels, and their likes and dislikes down to the individual retailer level.  Over 2,500 respondents form the basis of the analysis that covers a wide range of challenges facing the golf industry in 2017 and beyond.

To inquire re: purchasing the Study please contact Suzie Phillips at info@golfdatatech.com.