Asian Golf Industry Federation – World Golf Report

Asian Golf Industry Federation | AGIF

WORLD GOLF REPORT CONFIRMS PROMINENCE OF JAPAN AND KOREA

Kissimmee, Florida, United States: The golf markets in Japan and South Korea feature prominently in the World Golf Report 2021, the industry’s only global golf retail study.

According to the report, produced by Golf Datatech, LLC, and Yano Research Institute Ltd, two of the golf industry’s leading independent research and data firms, Japan and Korea rank second and third in the listing of the ‘top five World Golf Markets’.

Furthermore, Korean golfers spend more per capita on their golf equipment and apparel than any other country, while the US and Japan are responsible for about two-thirds of the world golf equipment market.

The 2021 report, which marks the fifth overall edition, provides an in-depth global retail market summary based upon geography, size and economic significance of the nearly US$14 billion golf equipment and apparel market.

In 2013, Golf Datatech and Yano Research collaborated to introduce the golf industry’s first worldwide market report, a benchmark study designed to capture the true size and scope of the global golf retail market.

Now in 2021, and on the heels of golf’s shutdown in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the two companies have updated and expanded the report, featuring a broader scope of data points while capturing more complete golf retail sales from around the globe.

“While the objective of the Worldwide Report has always been to look at long-term trends in the sales of golf equipment and apparel, the impact of the coronavirus in 2020 obviously becomes a key focus of this year’s analysis,” said John Krzynowek, Partner, Golf Datatech, LLC.

“And despite the worldwide pandemic, golf participation and sales are higher, with 2020 global sales of equipment and apparel up 3%, at US$13.93 billion. Consumer demand for golf equipment was higher in the majority of countries around the globe. However, our data also shows a broad decline in apparel sales this year.”

Specific to the global pandemic, severe government restrictions on socialising, travel, and life in general, caused some of the major golf markets to decline by 15%-50% on a YTD basis through May, with sales in some countries falling by more than 80% in a single month.

“It was a long, hard, painful first half of 2020, but the game, and the business of golf, quickly gained momentum during the late spring/early summer months,” said Krzynowek.

“Golf courses were soon full and rounds played soared, including an influx of newcomers to the game, while many others who used to play decided to come back again.

“As a result, sales of golf equipment exploded, and even those countries that were severely impacted by the early 2020 shutdown enjoyed record months during the summer and continue to trend positively.”

Top-level findings of the 2021 World Golf Report include the following:

  • Top five World Golf Markets: #1, United States; #2, Japan; #3, South Korea; #4, Canada; #5, United Kingdom.
  • US and Japan responsible for about two-thirds of the world golf equipment market.
  • Korean golfers spend more per capita on their golf equipment and apparel than any other country.
  • Sweden was the fastest growing country, up over 50%.

World Golf Report 2021

Golf Datatech & Yano Research Institute Unveil World Golf Report 2021 

The Industry’s ONLY Global Study of Golf Equipment and Apparel Sales

Global Retail Market Summary Provides Analysis of the Geography, Size and Economic.  Significance of the Nearly $14 Billion Golf Equipment and Apparel Market; Effects of the Global Covid-19 Pandemic Highlighted in Report

Golf Datatech, LLC, and Yano Research Institute Ltd., the golf industry’s two leading independent research and data firms, have introduced the World Golf Report 2021, the industry’s only global golf retail study. The 2021 report, which marks the 5th overall edition, provides an in-depth global retail market summary based upon geography, size and economic significance of the nearly $14 Billion golf equipment and apparel market.

In 2013 Golf Datatech and Yano Research collaborated to introduce the golf industry’s first-ever worldwide market report, a benchmark study designed to capture the true size and scope of the global golf retail market. Now in 2021, and on the heels of golf’s shutdown in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the two companies have updated and expanded the report, featuring a broader scope of data points while capturing more complete golf retail sales from around the globe.

“While the objective of the Worldwide Report has always been to look at long term trends in the sales of golf equipment and apparel, the impact of the coronavirus in 2020 obviously becomes a key focus of this year’s analysis” said John Krzynowek, Partner, Golf Datatech, LLC.  “And despite the worldwide pandemic, golf participation and sales are higher, with 2020 global sales of equipment and apparel up 3%, at $13.93 billion. Consumer demand for golf equipment was higher in the majority of countries around the globe, however our data also shows a broad decline in apparel sales this year.”

Specific to the global pandemic, severe government restrictions on socializing, travel, and life in general, caused some of the major golf markets to decline by 15%-50% on a YTD basis thru May, with sales in some countries falling by more than 80% in a single month.

“It was a long, hard, painful first half of 2020, but the game, and the business of golf, quickly gained momentum during the late spring/early summer months,” said Krzynowek. “Golf courses were soon full and rounds played soared, including an influx of newcomers to the game, while many others who used to play decided to come back again. As a result, sales of golf equipment exploded, and even those countries that were severely impacted by the early 2020 shutdown enjoyed record months during the summer and continue to trend positively.”

Top-level findings of the 2021 World Golf Report include the following:

  • Top 5 World Golf Markets:  #1 United States; #2 Japan; #3 South Korea; #4 Canada and #5 United Kingdom
  • US and Japan responsible for about 2/3 of the world golf equipment market;
  • Korean golfers spend more per capita on their golf equipment and apparel than any other country.
  • Sweden was the fastest growing country, up over 50%.

“The alliance between Golf Datatech and Yano Research Institute continues to yield new data that speaks not only to the state of the worldwide equipment and apparel markets, but also details the impact of the global pandemic, while providing trends and insights to help companies better react to changes across golf marketplaces and adjust their business strategies,” said Tom Stine, Partner, Golf Datatech, LLC.  “As with our previous editions, the 2021 World Golf Report continues to analyze all countries that have a significant golf footprint, providing a wealth of data, highlighted by key insights into the golf markets, unit sales estimates by country and product line, as well as countries with the most significant business growth and declines throughout the year.”

“We are very pleased to now unveil the 5th edition of the World Golf Report,” said Takashi Mizukoshi, President of Yano Research Institute Ltd. “This report, especially as golf has endured tremendous challenges with the global pandemic, is an essential business resource, providing our customers with expert insights designed to help them better run their businesses.”

To purchase click HERE.  For more information on World Golf Report 2021, contact Golf Datatech at info@golfdatatech.com or by calling 888-944-4116.

Golf Rounds End Year up 14%, Equipment up 10%

Posted on 1/26/2021, by Jack Crittenden

Even though golf courses were all but shut down in late March and April out of initial concerns over the spread of COVID-19, the boom in play that started in the summer continued through the end of the year — resulting in a 13.9% increase over 2019, according to Golf Datatech.

It is the largest annual increase since Golf Datatech began tracking rounds played in 1998, and it is even higher than what the market research company projected in the fall.

“While the global pandemic wreaked havoc on many segments of our economy, the golf industry experienced a significant boost in rounds played and equipment sales,” said John Krzynowek, partner, Golf Datatech. “On the equipment side, sales increased by low single digits in both 2018 and 2019, but the double-digit gains in 2020 can only be attributed to the pandemic and golf being a respite for so many.”

Equipment sales were 10.1% higher than 2019. The previous high for rounds play growth was in 2012 when near perfect weather helped the industry grow by 5.7%.

“While there is no doubt that the pandemic provided a positive jolt of energy to the golf business in 2020, a warmer and drier climate across broad swaths of the US also generated more potential tee times, which the golf community passionately consumed … and continued to ask for more,” Krzynowek said.

Joe Beditz, president and CEO of the National Golf Foundation, previously said 2020 marks the largest increase in rounds in one year since 1997, when Tiger Woods had his breakout year. During the past 20 years, rounds played have moved up and down no more than a few percent each year, making 2020 remarkable, Beditz said.

The growth has been fueled by a combination of avid players, newcomers and infrequent golfers. In 2020, spending reached near record levels, as overall golf equipment sales eclipsed $2.81 billion, the third highest annual total of all-time, trailing behind only 2008 ($2.91 billion) and 2007 ($2.87 billion).

It has never been good news for every segment in the industry, however. Apparel sales dropped by 14.2%. Golf apparel is predominantly sold thru on-course golf shops, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, many pro shops were not fully operational for several months. Additionally, a lack of international travel and lockdowns during the critical spring season in warm weather markets hit resorts hard. Resorts sell a significant percent of logoed golf apparel.

While on-course sales declined, apparel sales at off-course specialty outlets, particularly those with a strong online presence, enjoyed significant growth in 2020. Moreover, the last two months of the year saw total apparel sales up 11%, a hopeful sign heading into 2021.

Private clubs continue to perform well. Private courses are up nearly 19% year-to-date, higher than all other categories.

“To the surprise of many, the market for club memberships and golf community real estate has been encouraging this second half of 2020,” wrote Jason Becker, president of Golf Life Navigators. “Since June, we have seen buyer sentiment shift dramatically with 15 to 30% of buyers (who had originally planned to pause their search of a club) decide to restart their search in November.”

He said golf community real estate sales are also increasing, up 20 to 40% in many Sunbelt markets.

“The market for private club golf is on fire, and we should embrace the demand,” Becker wrote. “However, the door of opportunity could close at any time, just as it opened unexpectedly this summer. Our suggestion: Keep marketing and keep engaging with prospects so those pipe-lines of buyers remain full throughout 2021.”

Insights Into the Business of Golf Equipment and Apparel

US Golf Equipment Sales Surge Continues in January 2021, +43%

What a wild ride it’s been.

January was another big month for Golf Equipment Sales in the United States according to Golf Datatech’s latest data which was released on February 18, with total sales improving by 43%. Wedges surged over 60%, while irons and bags both jumped 57%, distance devices were up 51%, woods +45%, and golf balls +39%. Even categories that grew significantly slower than total equipment enjoyed substantial improvements, with putters (+29%), gloves (+22%) and footwear (+17%) all improving at levels that would normally be headline material.

Total Golf Equipment Sales* in the United States improved in 15 of the last 19 months, however the months with declines were severe, falling by as much as 75% in April of 2020, when most of the US was in a lockdown, golf courses were shut, and very few retail options other than online, existed. Once the momentum flipped in July of 2020, sales surged, improving by more than 30% in 5 of the past 7 months.

So, when does this roller coaster ride stop?

Inevitably, the rapid expansion in consumer demand for golf equipment will slow down, but when? Probably not anytime soon, at least not when comparing to prior year. February 2021 features a significant amount of exciting new products hitting the market, even as much of the country battles thru a difficult month weather wise. But the markets that are traditionally open for golf in the dead of winter remained relatively unscathed by the extreme cold and snow. March thru May of 2021 will comp against some extremely depressed sales numbers from last year, so the first real test likely won’t occur until June or July. From that point onward, the mountain of consumer demand from 2020 will be a substantial foe.

For most golf equipment brands it’s important to maintain perspective. In the short run we’ll see huge improvements over 2020, and it could be easy to become over exuberant. Don’t do it.

And when the unavoidable slow down in total industry sales hits toward the back of 2021, nay sayers will quickly point to the “demise of golf”. Don’t believe them.

Like most things in life, the truth will lie somewhere between the polar extremes.

*Total Equipment Sales= Retail Sell Thru of products thru the Green Grass, Off Course Specialty, and Specialty Online Golf Retailers. Product lines include: Golf Balls, Drivers, Fairways, Hybrids, Iron Sets, Wedges, Putters, Bags, Shoes, Gloves and Distance Devices

jkgolfdatatech | February 19, 2021 at 4:51 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: https://wp.me/p82DyE-zE

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Golf Datatech Releases 2020 Retail & Rounds Performance Report

Golf Datatech Releases 2020 U.S. Golf Retail Performance Report and Annual Rounds Played Data Exclusive Insights Indicate Record Breaking Year—Golf Rounds Up 13.9%, Equipment Sales Jump 10.1%

Rounds Growth is Largest Full Year Increase in the History of Golf Datatech’s Data; Golf Equipment Sales Eclipsed $2.81 Billion at Green Grass Golf Shops & Off Course Specialty Stores; Apparel Sales Drop 14.2%

 Kissimmee, Fla., January 25, 2021 – Golf Datatech, LLC, the golf industry’s leading independent market research firm for retail sales, consumer and trade trends, today unveiled the 2020 National Golf Performance Report, a first-of-its kind annual report analyzing rounds played and retail equipment sales in the U.S. Golf Datatech’s report indicates rounds soared by 13.9% and equipment sales increased by 10.1% over 2019. The year-over-year surge in rounds and retail sales are primarily a result of golf being positioned as a near ideal socially distanced activity during a pandemic. The 13.9% increase in rounds is the largest total year increase since Golf Datatech began collecting and projecting rounds played in 1998, topping the previous largest increase of 5.7% in 2012. The 10.1% improvement in retail sales bettered the previous all time high percentage gain of 10.0% in 2005.

Fueled by a combination of avid players, newcomers and infrequent golfers, 2020 demand for all things golf surged during the second half of the year. In fact, 2020 spending reached near record levels, as overall golf equipment sales eclipsed $2.81 billion, the third highest annual total of all-time, trailing behind only 2008 ($2.91 billion) and 2007 ($2.87 billion).

“While the global pandemic wreaked havoc on many segments of our economy, the golf industry experienced a significant boost in rounds played and equipment sales,” said John Krzynowek, Partner, Golf Datatech. “On the equipment side, sales increased by low single digits in both 2018 and 2019, but the double-digit gains in 2020 can only be attributed to the pandemic and golf being a respite for so many.”

While rounds played and equipment sales experienced sharp increases in 2020, apparel sales went the other direction and dropped by 14.2%. Golf apparel is predominantly sold thru on-course golf shops, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, many pro shops were not fully operational for several months. Additionally, a lack of international travel and lockdowns during the critical spring season in warm weather markets had a detrimental impact on many resorts, which sell a significant amount of logoed golf apparel. Added together, these factors all weighed heavily on the Green Grass Golf Apparel business.

While on-course sales declined, apparel sales at off-course specialty outlets, particularly those with a strong online presence, enjoyed significant growth in 2020. Moreover, the last two months of the year saw total apparel sales up 11%, a hopeful sign heading into 2021.

Added Krzynowek, “Combining equipment and apparel sales thru the on and off-course channels, total consumer demand in dollars for golf product was 3.2% higher than in 2019. Given the state of the golf economy in late spring, anything in positive territory had to be considered a big win, and December data continues to impress and suggest the business may still have room to run in early 2021.”

2020 Rounds Played Analysis

In 1998, Golf Datatech undertook the task of creating the golf industry’s first monthly projections of rounds played by state and region around the country. The Company’s objective from day one was to provide accurate estimates of the health of golf by tracking rounds, which are the engine that drives almost every other aspect of the business. The company also receives support from the NGF (delivering course data) and WeatherTrends (weather data) in an effort to provide the industry with granular detail at the market level.

According to data compiled directly from golf course owners and operators, rounds of golf at public, private and resort courses nationwide were up 13.9% in 2020 compared with 2019. This increase in year over year rounds played is the largest total year increase ever reported by Golf Datatech.

December rounds played soared 37% higher than a year ago, led by a strong showing in warm weather markets which are the primary driver of golf during the winter months, along with some incremental increases in markets that would typically have minimal activity due to cold weather.

Added Krzynowek, “Golf Datatech started collecting and projecting monthly rounds played data in January 1998 and has been the industry’s exclusive monthly metric since that time. We’ve never seen an annual increase remotely close to this, as the previous record increase occurred in 2012, a year when we had nearly perfect weather across much of the United States and rounds played grew by 5.7%. While there is no doubt that the pandemic provided a positive jolt of energy to the golf business in 2020, a warmer and drier climate across broad swaths of the US also generated more potential tee times, which the golf community passionately consumed…and continued to ask for more.”

Krzynowek concludes, “Golf has fared better than many other US industries during the pandemic, as on-course and off-course facilities effectively adapted their operations to accommodate customers, while adhering to CDC, local and National Health departments guidelines. Overall, the golf industry can be proud of how it has handled the adversity brought on by the pandemic thus far but must always be aware that until a vaccine is distributed, and broad-based immunity is present, we must all continue to be on guard.”

For more information call 888-944-4116 or email golfroundsplayed@golfdatatech.com.

Click HERE to view the Golf Datatech December 2020 National Rounds Played Report.

What Drove Golf’s Record Gains In 2020?

SGB Media OnlineBy Thomas J. Ryan / February 2, 2021

Golf rounds soared 13.9 percent and equipment sales 10.1 percent in 2020, according to Golf Datatech. The outsized growth comes as golf is a near-ideal socially distant activity ideal for playing during the pandemic.

The 13.9 percent increase in rounds is the largest total year increase since Golf Datatech began collecting and projecting rounds played in 1998, topping its previously largest increase recorded of 5.7 percent in 2012. The 10.1 percent improvement in retail sales bettered the previous all-time high percentage gain of 10.0 percent in 2005. Spending reached near-record levels, as overall golf equipment sales eclipsed $2.81 billion, the third-highest annual total recorded, trailing behind 2008 ($2.91 billion) and 2007 ($2.87 billion).

SGB Executive talked with John Krzynowek, partner, Golf Datatech, about golf’s strong comeback from the lockdowns that arrived in March 2020, the performance of major categories and how the sport may continue to benefit in the years post COVID-19.

What surprised you about how the year developed from a playing perspective? Like any business, a new year typically brings fresh optimism for what lies ahead, and 2020 got off to a good start. January and February were both excellent months weather-wise in markets that were open to playing the game, so rounds played were off to a good start (+13 percent thru February), and golf equipment sales were also up double-digits. 

I made a swing thru to see many of our largest customers in late February, and there was concern about a virus that was circulating in Asia, but then concerns were about the potential impact on the supply chain, and there was no mention of any likelihood of the pandemic hitting America and locking down much of our economy. March and April 2020 were very difficult for golf (for many businesses/industries). Most courses were closed, almost all brick & mortar retail was closed and online retail became the only means to buy golf products. 

After an initial shutdown of golf courses, the realization that golf could be a safe means to get exercise and be social but distanced took hold, and golf courses started to reopen with safety measures in place. Eventually, the game took off, and not only did we make up the hole in rounds created by golf courses that closed for two months, but we also made up all of the lost sales of golf equipment and added in the most significant annual growth we have seen in any of our data for either metric.

What measures mainly worked in helping golf’s safe return? Like much of the United States, there wasn’t any set of universally agreed actions upon and enacted in every state. However, some core principals led courses to reopen safely: Stay six feet away from your playing partners, in the early months, only one rider per cart (that remains in some states/facilities); do not take the flag out when putting; do not use rakes in the bunkers; do not shake hands or high five playing partners; wear masks in public areas where groups might congregate; and some states required starting times stretch out to avoid crowds on the first tee before teeing off. Also, there were relatively few events/outings, and golfers were encouraged not to linger within the pro shop or grill room; rather they should go outside where they could distance appropriately and generally not gather in groups. None of those was a silver bullet to stop the spread totally; however, sensible actions in an outdoor setting made for a relatively safe atmosphere to play the game.

How safe is the sport? Have there been cases of infections linked to playing golf? Are specific issues, such as players congregating in the clubhouse, a problem? Golf is one of the safest sports activities if precautions (like the ones above) are taken and adhered to. You are outdoors and do not need to be near anyone you are playing with at any time, minimizing the odds of transmission. Add in the other precautions developed and adhered to by most courses, which reduces or eliminates touching of surfaces, and it’s relatively safe. 

I have not heard of any cases of the virus spreading if proper guidelines were followed. Some isolated instances of courses held outings (which are typically more social and less golf-oriented), and there was spread. However, they have been few and far between, at least to my knowledge. As for congregating in clubhouses, in the grill room, etc., I don’t see that as a golf problem. That’s more similar to bars and restaurants having customers inside their facility, and that is being debated widely across the country by people who have a lot more knowledge about such things than I do.

Can you share what drove the gains in the Equipment category? Total Equipment sales from April 2019 thru February 2020 (the last month before the pandemic shutdowns hit) increased for 11 consecutive months and were up double-digits year-to-date in 2020 before the outbreak. Equipment had significant momentum heading into 2020 before hitting a wall in March. However, even with the two-month shutdown, total Equipment was 10 percent higher in 2020 than in 2019, led by golf bags (+29 percent) and wedges (+27 percent), while irons were +16 percent, which is relevant because irons are the largest single club segment, so when they move, the industry moves.

What caused apparel’s challenges? Golf Apparel sales were weak in 2020 (down 14 percent), particularly in resorts and green grass shops, both of which were hard hit by the timing of the lockdowns (many warm-weather markets lost most or all of their spring/early summer business) as well as the procedures put in place to mitigate the spread of the virus (no “loitering” or hanging out in the pro shop, often no place to try on a product before purchase, etc.). The Off Course Specialty channel (Big Box and Online) was up slightly for the year in apparel, however in resorts and Pro Shops, sales lagged. The best Golf Apparel categories were men’s and women’s tops, which we define as sweaters, vests, quarter zips, and the like, both of which were down about 6 percent, while golf shirts for both genders (the largest Apparel segments) declined double-digits.

Footwear is probably not as big a category in golf as other sports, but can you share how footwear held up last year? Golf Footwear is a significant category, but it’s not the same as a runner whose primary equipment is their shoes. In terms of importance, golf shoes are the fourth largest equipment category in golf behind balls, woods and irons. After starting the year softer than other equipment categories and then falling well behind the prior year during the lockdown period, golf footwear rebounded toward the end of the year and eked out small gains in both units and dollars. A significant percentage of footwear purchases shifted toward online channels, particularly during the first half of the year when Green Grass and brick & mortar retail shops were not open or had limited ability to sell product.

Big-box stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods appear to have performed much better than resorts. Is that what Golf Datatech found? Big box stores could adapt and offer up curbside service or leverage their eCommerce business to weather the year, but many resorts were decimated as the world stopped traveling. High-end resorts that depend upon international travel suffered significant shortfalls in guests, which negatively impacted both rounds and apparel sales.

Did you see any evidence that golf is witnessing new entrants in the merchandising data or survey data? We do have a mix of retail data and consumer insights suggesting that much of the golf sales growth came from those that would traditionally be considered less frequent/less avid players. The serious golfer who plays and buys most often spent a little less in 2020 than in 2019, even though they played more rounds. We also saw a sales surge in categories like boxed sets, which typically appeal to newcomers or those looking for an easy, relatively inexpensive purchase that doesn’t require a lot of knowledge or extensive trial and shopping.

Other industries find that trends that were already happening, such as online shopping, saw growth accelerate due to the pandemic? Did golf experience that as well? Yes, we saw an acceleration in online sales. While eCommerce had been steadily growing in golf, it caught fire during the lockdown period. It’s important to note that growth came in multiple online sub-segments, including Amazon, Direct-to-Consumer, Online Exclusive Golf Retailers, and the online piece of traditional golf retailers. And the growth by product category was also uneven. Some products are more suitable for online sales than others. Golf balls, golf shoes, gloves and apparel are a better fit for digital commerce, while clubs that are often custom fit and require a trial don’t match up with the online model.

Relatedly, some were counting on shorter games, entertainment hybrid concepts such as Topgolf, and maybe more simulation technology to bring younger players to the sport. Are those trends affected by the pandemic? Has the traditional 18-hole half-a-day experience regained its allure? It’s a mixed bag. While the golf entertainment concept introduces players to the game, many of those struggled during the lockdown as they were classified as a bar/restaurant and were not open, or were limited, in how many people could be in the establishment at once. Once they reopened, they continued to spread their version of golf to the masses, and that’s never a bad thing. 

Even if only a small percentage of those introduced to golf through “golfertainment” eventually decide to become a traditional golfer, that’s still a positive force driving new players to the game. As for the “allure” of a half-day on the golf course, that remains a challenge that the golf industry continues to grapple with. Part of what many enjoy about the game is the ability to unplug and be with friends/playing partners for multiple hours, outside, enjoying each other’s company (while socially distancing). However, when a round crosses that unseen time barrier (4 hours for some, 3:30 for others – it all depends where you play and what is acceptable at your course), it goes from being enjoyable to frustrating very quickly. The pace of play has been, and always will be, a challenge for golf.

Overall, how encouraged are you that golf receives a substantial boost in the years ahead? I believe the golf industry is cautiously optimistic about the potential for the sport in the near future. That said, we also realize that when life returns to some semblance of normal, there will be significant pressure on many to return to the activities they gave up when the pandemic hit. Professional sports, college athletics, kids sports teams and leagues, travel, vacations, etc., will demand attention that has shifted to golf while those other activities were off-limits.

 

US Golf Market Continues Record Breaking Monthly Growth

DECEMBER EQUIPMENT SALES INCREASE 58% COMPARED WITH 2019

Golf Datatech Reports All-Time Best December Equipment Sales Numbers; 2020 National Golf Performance Report for Rounds Played and Retail Equipment Sales Set to be Released on January 25  

Kissimmee, Fla., January 19, 2021 – Golf Datatech, LLC, the golf industry’s leading independent market research firm for retail sales, consumer and trade trends, has announced that U.S. golf equipment sales for December 2020 were up 58% over the same period in 2019, while exceeding December’s previous all-time high, set in 2006, by 16%.

These record-breaking sales are being released just days before the full 2020 National Golf Performance Report for Rounds Played and Retail Equipment Sales, which is set to be released on Monday, January 25.

“December sales are consistent with the golf industry momentum we’ve seen over the past seven months of 2020,” said John Krzynowek, Partner, Golf Datatech, LLC. “As we all continue to deal with the pandemic in our everyday life, golf equipment sales continue to surge, up over 40% for the June-December time frame.”

Categories leading the way for the total year were golf bags and wedges, which increased by 29% and 26% respectively. Overall equipment sales at Green Grass pro shops were up 1% while Off Course sales grew by 16%.

Krzynowek adds, “Green Grass pro shop sales were more heavily impacted by government mandated closures and restrictions on businesses, so even though courses may have been open to play the game, shopping and buying products inside a golf shop did not explode like the Off Course Specialty channel, which benefitted from a significant expansion in online sales.”

For more information on Golf Datatech, call 888-944-4116 or email, info@golfdatatech.com.

 

 

Golf Datatech Releases National Rounds Played Report for November 2020

Golf Datatech Releases National Rounds Played Report for November 2020; Exclusive Data Shows Golf Rounds Up 57% in November and Over 13% Year-To-Date;

Excellent Late Fall Weather Plus Limited Other Activities/Options Due to Pandemic Drove Rounds Up In November

Kissimmee, FL., December 22, 2020 … Golf Datatech, LLC, the golf industry’s leading independent market research firm for retail sales, consumer and trade trends, today unveiled the results of its National Rounds Played Report for the month of November 2020. According to data compiled directly from golf course owners and operators, rounds of golf at public, private and resort courses nationwide were up 57% for the month and over 13% year-to-date through November 2020.

 

“Since golf returned from a near national shutdown in late spring due to Covid-19, we’ve recorded double digit growth every month for the last seven months” said John Krzynowek, Partner, Golf Datatech. “November was another excellent month for rounds, up an astounding 57% over the same month in 2019. Typically, it’s a time of year when much of the country is starting to wind down for winter and it can be uncomfortable to be outside to play. This year, however, we had above average weather for playing the game, continuing a lengthy streak of minimal precipitation and warm temperatures.”

 

Krzynowek adds, “Due to the continuation of limited play and attendance of youth sports, college and pro football, as well as minimal travel and restrictions on other activities, people kept coming to their golf courses to play in November. Golf is the perfect social distancing outdoor recreational activity for any and every member of the family.”

 

In 1999, Golf Datatech undertook the task of creating the golf industry’s first monthly projections of rounds played by state and region around the country. The Company’s objective from day one was to provide accurate estimates of the health of golf by tracking rounds, which are the engine that drives almost every other aspect of the business. The company also receives support from the NGF (delivering course data) and WeatherTrends (weather data) in an effort to provide the industry with granular detail at the market level.

 

November’s rounds data indicated that only three states, Hawaii, Florida and New Mexico showed negative results for the month.  This is due to a season long decline in golfer travel to Hawaii, while Florida, especially southern Florida, was hit hard by rain caused by tropical storm Eta that hit in the early part of the month and caused flooding in some areas.  Additionally, New Mexico was under a statewide order to close non-essential businesses including golf courses November 16 – 30.

 

“Based on our analysis, since the start of the pandemic and related lockdowns, international and long-distance travel remains a challenge for many (but not all) resort facilities, particularly in markets like Hawaii where rounds are down over 35% YTD,” said Krzynowek. “Public facilities have been consistently packed with players post lockdowns, and private club membership has skyrocketed. In fact, public course rounds played are up nearly 12% year-to-date, while rounds at private courses are up nearly 19% year-to-date. We expect this trend to continue at least into the first half of 2021, as the pandemic keeps people confined to their local communities looking for socially distant activities that they can enjoy outdoors.”

 

Krzynowek concludes, “Each month we’re able to provide data so that our industry partners can keep their finger on the pulse of the golf industry, both nationally and regionally, and right now support for the game itself is strong.  In late January 2021 we will provide detailed insights into both rounds and golf equipment sales trends for all of 2020. We anticipate the look back on the year, despite the pandemic, will be quite positive.”

 

For the complete National Rounds Played Report for November 2020 click here

Golf Datatech National Rounds Played Report November 2020

Golf is Booming Because of the Pandemic

At the beginning of 2020, golf courses were seeing business as usual. There was no big nationwide increase in the number of rounds of golf played, according to data from Golf Datatech. There was no indication that this would be the biggest year yet for the recreational sport. But when everything came to a standstill because of the pandemic, things changed. When states started reopening in late April and May, sprawling, socially distanced golf courses were one of the first “safe” spaces that were able to get back to business. Interest in the sport quickly followed.
In May, the number of reported rounds of golf in the US — defined by Golf Datatech as a single authorized “start” at a self-reporting club or facility — rebounded from a 42.2% decline during lockdowns to a 6.2% increase over last year.
Then, rounds began to surge. Since June there have been over 50 million incremental rounds of gold played, according to the National Golf Foundation. October’s year-over-year numbers are the greatest yet adding just over 11 million additional rounds for the month than in 2019.
In fact, the NGF reports there’s only been one other year that saw a bigger rise in interest in the sport: 1997, the year Tiger Woods became a massive sensation.

A sign informs golfers to practice social distancing at the Mt. Prospect Golf Club in Mt. Prospect, Illinois.

A sign informs golfers to practice social distancing at the Mt. Prospect Golf Club in Mt. Prospect, Illinois.
But rounds played is not the only indicator of growth in the golf industry. Equipment sales also surge. The industry hit an all time high of $388.6 million in sales in July, according to Golf Datatech. “It’s amazing to see the growth the sport has experienced — even in the face of a global pandemic. The fact that people can play safely, get outdoors, social distance, etc. is certainly positive.
Although retail has experienced an uphill battle this year, we’ve seen tremendous demand in our online channels,” Adidas Golf President Jeff Lienhart told the NGF.
Mike Jakob, CEO of Swing King, a tech company that sets up automatic hole-in-one contests at golf courses, said his company saw sales increases of 20% to 50% for some regions and an overall market growth of 50% to 300%.
July and August saw the two best months for golf sales since Golf Datatech started recording equipment data in 1997. “We have never seen a surge like what has happened in the summer of 2020, coming out of the worldwide shutdown from COVID-19,” said John Krzynowek, Partner, Golf Datatech in a news release.
“The August sales record, which followed an all-time record month in July, is great news for the industry moving forward. It indicates how popular golf is today, especially as an ideal social distancing activity.
Newcomers are coming into the game, existing golfers are playing much more, and those who once played but left for a while are returning, which is the perfect combination to drive rounds played and spike equipment sales at retail.”

NBA athlete Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors takes a photo as Collin Morikawa of the United States putts on the seventh green during the final round of the 2020 PGA Championship.

NBA athlete Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors takes a photo as Collin Morikawa of the United States putts on the seventh green during the final round of the 2020 PGA Championship.
Viewership is some of the best in years
In addition to actual play, 2020 also saw a big boost in golf viewing.
In August, ESPN announced that the ratings for the 2020 PGA Championship were the best they had been in five years. The first round of the tournament averaged 1,246,000 viewers, making it the event’s most viewed first round telecast since 2015, and the second best opening round in the last 10 years. The second day of broadcast, viewership rose another 42%.
Even ESPN’s College Gameday broadcast from the Masters for the first time ever, and gained a 31% increase in viewership from all of its other shows in 2020, according to ESPN’s Bill Hofmeier. If one had to pinpoint the moment the current golf renaissance truly began, they might look to early May, when golf greats Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson teamed up with NFL greats Peyton Manning and Tom Brady for “The Match II,” a special charity golf event at at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas. (The original “Match,” between Woods and Mickelson, was held in 2018.)
For many people, it was the first live sports event they had seen in months, and it showed. “The Match II” automatically became a major topic of discussion online and in living rooms across the country. Content related to the event trended on Twitter all day as people bonded over a moment of familiarity in an increasingly unfamiliar and tragic age.  The numbers just drove home the win. All in all, “The Match” brought in an average of 5.8 million TV viewers — the most-viewed golf event ever.

Golf Datatech 2020 Shopping/Purchasing Study

Study Reveals Changes In Equipment Buying Trends During COVID-19 Pandemic

Surge in Equipment Sales Driven by New Players, Returning Players and Casual Players

Kissimmee, FL., November 18, 2020 – As the 2020 golf season comes to a close, backed by a surging golf equipment business following the worldwide shutdown from the COVID-19 pandemic, Golf Datatech, LLC, the golf industry’s leading independent market research firm for retail sales, consumer and trade trends, today unveiled its 2020 Shopping/Purchasing Study, revealing trends in golfer buying habits online and across all the various retail channels.

The new study complements Golf Datatech’s ongoing monthly sales reports that analyze the post- shutdown golf economy, including 3rd Quarter sales which surpassed the $1 billion mark for the first time ever.  In fact, Golf Datatech’s detailed analysis of Serious Golfers (those who play and spend the most) has become the industry benchmark for evaluating critical trends across all retail channels, equipment categories and brands.

“While Golf Datatech has spent the better part of two decades capturing data and reporting trends in consumer spending, especially the all-important Serious Golfer category, 2020 has been unlike any prior year with regard to the ever-evolving golf marketplace,” said John Krzynowek, Partner, Golf Datatech, LLC. “Coming out of the worldwide shutdown from COVID-19, golf has definitely surged, as evidenced by our monthly sales and rounds played reports. However, the data we have uncovered from the 2020 Shopping/Purchasing Study highlights recent shifts in buying patterns.”

Among the key findings from the study, despite the record-setting third quarter sales, Serious Golfers actually spent 6% less on equipment in 2020’s golf season, as compared to 2017.

“This decline in Serious Golfer spending, while total equipment sales surge, is crucial to framing the future. The core consumer has always been the foundation of equipment sales, and likely always will be. However, in 2020, the industry received a lot of support from those who were new or recently returned to the game. They needed or wanted new equipment, and their impact helped drive overall sales to record levels. We would expect to see the serious player return and purchase at or above 2020 levels next year, assuming there is a return to some level of normalcy in dealing with the pandemic. Engaging the new/renewed golfers in 2021 will be critical to building upon this year’s results.”

Adds Krzynowek, “Specific to trends related to where golfers shop and buy equipment, online sales exploded during the lockdown, fell back as Brick & Mortar re-opened, but today remain elevated from pre-pandemic levels. Certainly Amazon made inroads into some categories, like consumables, but golf retail also spiked and remains the leading online channel.”

Overall, golf specialty retailers remain the most popular channel for buying golf equipment, as they have been for over 20 years. Moreover, custom fitting specialists have become a major force in selling irons and drivers, and golfers clearly see these outlets as having expertise and knowledge about selling clubs.

“We keep writing new chapters to the 2020 golf equipment story,” said Krzynowek. “This shopping/purchasing study adds a new dimension to analyzing where golfers are spending and why, as well as who is driving the growth. Most important, just as we always have, we continue to focus on the attitudes and perceptions of the Serious Golfer across all categories in golf, as this demographic often tells the story within the story.”

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