Weather Stops Play in April’s Rounds Played

Golf Datatech releases April rounds played study

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rounds played were down broadly across most of the US in April, and thus far rounds have declined by nearly 10% on a Year-to-Date basis.  While no one likes to blame weather for a poor showing, a very wet and cool April across the northern tier delayed a lot of course openings and kept golfers off the links.  April is always a transition month, and some years the weather is great for playing, and other years, like 2022, are less than ideal and delay the start of the season.

april 2022 US round played year to date

 

 

 

 

 

 

On top of poor weather, we are undoubtedly losing some rounds to golfers returning to pre-pandemic activities with their families, going into the office and reducing the ability to play during the week, traveling for work or leisure, etc.  It’s going to be a real challenge for the industry to hang within 5%-10% of the 2021 levels, which were nearly all-time highs for rounds.  However, we remain well above 2019 levels as we head into the heart of the golf season.

To take part in this essential monthly study, please enter your Rounds Played information, please visit http://www.golfdatatech.net/course-search/

More Good News for Golf Apparel

The total US Golf Apparel retail sales numbers are published this week with confirmation that they are up for the third consecutive month. Sales have increased in 21 of 22 months since the shutdown months in the early stages of the pandemic, with the only decline coming in January of 2022.

Total sales were over $150 million for the month, only the second time total sales have eclipsed that mark.  The only prior $150+ million month was June of ’21.

Total US Golf Apparel Market

On-Off Course April ’22 vs. ’21:  Dollars +6.5%

On-Off Course YTD thru April ’22 vs. ’21:  Dollars +5.0%

April Equipment Sales Down on 2021

 

 

 

 

 

US April 2022 Total Equipment Sales

On-Off Course April ’22 vs. ’21 Dollars:  -4.9%

On-Off Course April ’22 YTD vs. ’21 Dollars: -2.9%

In the retail sales figures, published this week, we can see that golf ball sales for April fell sharply which might, initially, be a cause for concern.  However it’s important to note that, due to supply constraints, most golf ball brands did not offer their traditional spring promotions designed to get the golf season off to a robust start and pre-sell balls for the upcoming season.  Due to that shift in sales programming, April and May unit sales will be significantly lower than prior years.

Over to another category, Club sales were off in April 2022 vs. 2021. However, the drop wasn’t as severe as in March and most brands report large back logs of orders. Until component availability improves, sell thru will remained constrained.  On a YTD basis, 2022 total club sales (woods, irons, putters and wedges) are 4.4% below 2021 but 48% ahead of 2019.

 

 

 

New Gambling & Golf Study Estimates $5bn Market

golf datatech estimate $5 billion market in new Gambling & Golf Study

This week, Golf Datatech published the first-ever “Gambling & Golf Study,” providing insights into the state of wagering on the game, both during every day recreational play, and betting on professional golf tournaments.

Gambling and golf have always gone hand in hand, and betting on the sport has entered a new phase that transcends buddies betting on their weekly match to wagering over the 40-week professional tournament season. This study provides insights into the current state of this new world order in golf gambling, based on a survey of 1,000 Serious Golfers.

Gambling on sports is currently legal in 30 states plus the District of Columbia, and an additional 5 have legalized it but are not yet operational, while 20 states allow online sports gambling. The American Gaming Association estimates that the 2021 Sports Betting Industry “Handle” (amount wagered regardless of outcome) was just shy of $53B, and Golf Datatech estimates regulated legal betting on professional golf to be in the $4.5- $5 billion range, not including the side betting that takes place on the golf courses among friends every day.

“There is no participation sport in the United States that is as closely connected with wagering than the game of golf,” said John Krzynowek, co-founder of Golf Datatech. “Most recreational golfers wouldn’t consider playing a round of golf with friends without some kind of bet on the outcome, whether it was for a beer, a $5 Nassau, or something more significant. In fact, handicaps by their nature are an attempt to level the playing field and allow a +1 handicap and a 15 handicapper to compete head-to-head and still have a friendly match, very often accompanied by a wager.”

Krzynowek adds, “With the advent of legalized sports gambling across much of the country, it should come as no surprise that betting on professional golf has grown rapidly. It is more than just a niche category, as many golfers have a voracious appetite for regular ‘action’. Televised golf tournaments regularly show the odds for the various outcomes on air, so where gambling was once a shadow industry it’s now commonplace to see the odds at the professional level. In fact, while 10% of golfers regularly bet on the pro game, an additional 14% do so during a major, which has a particular impact this week heading into the PGA Championship.”

Among the highlights of our 2022 “Gambling & Golf Study” include insights into the following:

·        84% of total respondents are likely to wager on their own golf game while playing.

·        Younger and better players are most likely to bet on the course, as well as on professionals.

·        The average wager on professional golf is 48% more than they bet on their own game.

·        More than half of all professional golf wagering is done online or via an App.

·        A significant percentage of respondents who wager don’t understand the odds, as well as other insights into both wagering on their own game as well as on professional golf.

Adds Krzynowek, “Betting on professional golf provides some degree of comfort to the gambler, because they know Tour players are performing every week for a pay check, versus a professional athlete with a guaranteed contract who can have an off day and still get paid or choose not to play. A golfer’s professional life depends upon performance, making it far less likely for anyone to question the result of any tournament. FedEx points determine where you get to play, and for many, if you get to play at all, so there is very little reason or opportunity for anyone to try and negatively influence the outcome of an event.”

For more information on Golf Datatech’s “Gambling & Golf Study,” visit:

https://golfdatatech.myshopify.com/products/2022-gambling-golf-the-state-of-wagering-on-the-game

or call 888-944-4116.

 

Strong Signs for Apparel this Month

The retail sell thru data is now out for the U.S. Apparel category and, despite slow sales for equipment, apparel seems to be faring well with total golf apparel sales for the month of March up 5.3%.  Interestingly, both Green Grass and Off Course sales have improved by similar amounts.

March 2022 Apparel Sales Summary

  1. Men’s shirts, which are the largest single apparel category, were up 4% for the month and YTD. While units have declined, Average Selling Prices on men’s shirts are up 10% YTD and are at all-time highs.
  2. YTD Average Selling Prices are up mid to high single digits across most apparel categories
  3. Inventories remain very tight in several product categories, in particular in men’s shirts, where inventories are 8% below last year and 28% below 2019 levels.

On the latest results, Golf Datatech co-founder, John Krzynowek commented:  “Contrary to equipment, which hit a rough patch with slowing sales, apparel sales remained brisk even with limited availability of some key products, such as men’s shirts. Demand seems robust but, so far, the major brands continue to chase supply.  Whether it is raw material issues, manufacturing/Covid outbreaks or shipping, the apparel category is succeeding thru Q1 of 2022 despite itself.  Limited supply results in higher prices, which may impact demand down the road, but for the moment the category continues to grow.”

 

Equipment Sales: Weather Affects Northern Markets

March saw the continuation of a cold, wet Spring across our northern markets, which has not helped equipment sales.  An increase in precipitation and lower temperatures created touch circumstances, limited play and likely dampened demand for equipment.

US March 2022 Total Golf Equipment Sales

  • On-Off Course March ’22 vs. ’21:  Dollars -8.4%
  • On-Off Course March ’22 YTD vs. ’21 YTD:  -1.7%

Notably, equipment sales for the month of March were down 8.4% vs. same month 2021, with every category falling except for gloves.

It’s worth noting that March of 2021 was the largest March in history for golf equipment sales, surpassing the previous largest March (2018) by 40%.  While March 2022 saw a decrease in sales over 8% vs. last year, they remain 34% ahead of 2019, and this March was the second largest March in history.

On the data from equipment sales last month, Golf Datatech Co-Founder John Kryznowek commented, “March of 2022 can be viewed as either a “glass half full” or as a “glass half empty”.  For the optimist, this March is the second highest March in history and is well ahead of pre-pandemic levels, even though in some product categories inventories remain tight.   Overall, trade inventories of equipment are moving toward normalization.

“For the pessimist, the 8% decline is the most significant slowdown since the big drops in March thru May of 2020 when much of retail world was shut down and might suggest the golf equipment business is stabilizing or about to decline”.

 

 

 

April, The Masters and the Start to the Golf Equipment Season.

the masters 2022
For those lucky enough to live or spend winters in the southern climate, the golf season never really ends.  In the darkest days of winter, between January and the end of March, the most significant changes to the game for warm weather golfers are all the extra people trying to get a tee time at your favorite golf course. In those markets, balls, clubs, bags, shoes, gloves, distance devices and apparel continue to sell briskly, however in the less temperate climes there are no tee times to enjoy, and sales of golf products slow dramatically, lying low like spring flowers just below the surface, ready to “pop” at the first sign of warm weather.

For golfers, early April has become synonymous with improving weather and a trip down Magnolia Lane, at least virtually or thru the power of broadcast TV. It’s also the time when golf product sales explode.

The Masters typically kickstarts the golf season, and it’s now upon us. Even if the weather hasn’t totally flipped from cold to warm everywhere, the worst of winter is clearly behind us, and the “itch” to pick up a club, to make swings, to practice, to play, and to buy new equipment, infects most golfers in the north. Rising from their hibernation, it’s time to test out the new “move” as well as look at what new product can help them hit it further or lower their handicap.

Based upon Golf Datatech’s Retail Sales data, the first three months of the year typically represent about 17% of total year sales, rising sharply to 36% for the second quarter. The Spring Effect isn’t equal across all product categories, but interest rises significantly in April.

Given the short supply of many leading products, April of 2022 is not the time to procrastinate. Any golfer who is thinking about new clubs or shoes will likely want to move quickly. And stocking up on your favorite brand of golf balls or gloves isn’t a bad idea either, as they may not be in stock later this year.

April, Augusta, and new equipment…they go hand in hand. I hope you all enjoy a fantastic few days of golf!

Seven Apparel Categories Up in February

Retail sell thru data for apparel is published today with total Apparel sales for the month of February through the On/Off Course channels up +9.0% and +3.3% YTD

Seven out of eight categories were up for the month, with only Outerwear declining.  The fastest growing category was Men’s Bottoms, which included pants and shorts, +16.7%.

Average Selling Prices (ASP’s) rose for every product category, some double digits, as inflationary pressures build and impact every step of the manufacturing and distribution process

On the latest results, GDT co-founder John Krzynowek said, “Golf apparel is not exempt from feeling the pinch from higher costs, and then passing those costs on to the golfer.  Manufacturing apparel is facing increased labor and material costs, along with the expense of shipping, which has caused retail prices to rise significantly over the past two years.  Ultimately these higher retail prices are going to curtail consumer demand and cause an overall slowdown in sell through.”

 

Weather Drives Equipment Sales

February 2022 Summary

Total On-Off Course February ’22:  Dollars +2.6%

Total On-Off Course YTD February ’22:  Dollars +4.2%

February equipment sales continued on an upward trajectory, increasing by 2.6% for the month and up +4.2% on a YTD basis.  The increase was led by consumables which benefitted from excellent weather in key markets that were open.

Worth Noting

-Golf Balls were up 17.8%, while Gloves improved by 21.1%

-In Golf Clubs, 3 of the 4 categories had small declines in dollar sales, with only putters up (+13.3%).

Expert Comment

On the release of February figures, Golf Datatech co-founder John Krzynowek said, “Equipment continues to face headwinds in terms of raw material and component availability, but higher average selling prices allowed the industry to grow in total for the second consecutive month.  Consumables were sharply higher but stick sales of clubs were sluggish.

From a channel perspective, after two years of substantial expansion, Online retail slowed appreciably in February.

It’s worth noting that January and February are small months in the big picture, representing well under 10% of total equipment sales, so March and April will be critical to help understand how the full year is going to shape up.”

Now is the Time for Golf Brands to Determine Optimal Price Points

optimise price points with Atenga Insights and Golf Datatech

Through the last 18 months, unit sales of golf equipment and apparel have been constrained by supply chain and transportation issues, limiting sales potential, and negatively impacting profitability. If a company’s sales are limited by how many sticks, dozens, pairs, or pieces they can procure and ship, what could be more important than maximizing the price you get for each, and every item sold?

Every organization has multiple levers they can pull to boost the bottom line, and some of the most frequently used are:

1) Reduce overhead. However, in a period of rapid growth like we are currently experiencing, most companies are adding people and processes to expedite and work within the current financial frameworks.

2) Reduce product costs. In an environment where most brands are hard pressed to meet demand, reducing component costs is improbable.

3) Sell more units. If supply is constrained, selling more units is nearly impossible.

4) Increase unit pricing of the product or service. And this is where the Golf Datatech/Atenga Predictive Demand Pricing research can provide insights that maximize not just sales, but also profitability.

Pricing is the hottest new research niche, and Golf Datatech/Atenga’s Artificial Intelligence-driven platform provides improved accuracy and allows for rapid interpolation of raw data. Utilizing Golf Datatech’s Serious Golf Database of over 40,000 active and avid golfers, we can significantly reduce both the cost and turnaround time of a given survey to 4-5 weeks instead of months. More importantly, this real time relevancy means that what was once viewed as an academic endeavor by insulated staffers, is now a key operating tool of brand champions with P&L responsibility.

Understanding Price Walls

The latest pricing research technology not only showcases the optimal price point for both profits and revenue, but also highlights potentially dangerous price inflection points or “price walls”. Identifying and understanding price walls is critical to maximizing sales and profitability. Push too far with a price increase and unit volume may plummet. Leave a price below the optimum and you are leaving profits on the table for others to scoop up. Or they may just go unrealized.

There is seldom a direct dollar by dollar relationship between unit price and unit volume. Rather, there are price plateaus that occur where unit sales remain relatively steady, while unit prices increase up to a point. At that inevitable inflection point, even the slightest increase in prices can push a specific product into an abyss where unit volume drops sharply.

Price walls are unique to every brand and additionally within each product’s life cycle, which is why they need to be measured frequently by brand and product category.

The best situation is that in a supply constrained environment, price increases are “sticky” and will hold even after output is increased. Quality, well positioned products, and services attract loyal customers who tend not to be as price sensitive. Companies with strong Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are exceptionally good candidates to successfully raise their prices.

Maximize Sales with Minimum Risk

A Golf Datatech/Atenga Pricing Demand Analysis additionally provides significant insights into how various product attributes and brand positionings will affect golfers’ views of your brand. Whether your company makes and sells balls, clubs, shoes, gloves, apparel, bags, trolleys, distance devices, tee times, custom fitting sessions or any other goods or service within the golf industry, a Predictive Pricing Demand Analysis will allow you to maximize sales and profits and minimize the risks associated with making an incorrect decision.

Leading edge pricing research platforms can take much of the guesswork out of the critical question of “how high is too high”? Golf Datatech/Atenga Insights are at the forefront of the pricing research revolution within the golf space. Atenga has completed close to 1,000 projects involving clients of all sizes and product categories, in some fifteen countries. And in an acknowledgement to how successful and well received these programs have been, about half of all clients undertake follow-up or create semi-annual projects.

Pricing research is indeed a pragmatic business practice today when supplies are tight during these unique times.

 

Robert Tinterov – CEO Atenga Insights Partner

Stockholm/Los Angeles Robert.tinterov@atenga.com

 

John Krzynowek – Golf Datatech

Kissimmee, FL  Jkrzynowek@golf-datatech.com