With the March data due to be released very shortly I thought I should put out some quick commentary on the season so far. February is usually the smallest month – typically 4.8% but it can give us some direction on how the season is going to go. So lets get stuck in.
Its been wet but has it been as bad as it feels?
Yes, the market to the end of February was pretty bad.
The market was down 7% in February, bringing the overall YTD down to 13%. That’s not a good start, and, a stark contrast to last year. However, when we look at these stats, we realise that last year is part of the problem. And, while we’re down year on year, we are up nearly 4% on 2016 – so things aren’t quite as bad as it may appear (or feel).
Last year saw one of the biggest growths we recorded at Golf Datatech – so it was always going to be a tough act to follow.
OK, so it was DOWN – But Does that Apply to all Categories?
Luckily, no. As you can see irons, men’s tops and bags were all UP in value. However – everything else was DOWN, with some big drops being seen in ladies clothing, trolleys and wedges.
Where has the Drop Come From?
There has been a trend towards reduced units in the 2 largest categories – however others have seen some growth. 2017 saw growth in 11 categories, and drops in 6. Bucking the trend in February – all categories are down, or flat, except for men’s tops: which was the only category to see any growth.
Units saw a drop in all, but 2, categories. Bags were flat and men’s tops were up.
What About ASP’s
Well, at least it was business as usual here, with growth in most categories. The biggest growth came in hardware, with irons seeing a huge ASP increase of 18%. The fact that irons are actually up in value, and driven by large ASP increases, might be the result of all those custom fit studios that have been installed in recent years.
It has also given the on-course the ability to sell during the bad weather, and sell higher value custom-fit sets. Product launches from the big brands have helped this process.
So was this all Down to Weather?
Well, most people think February was terrible, which, compared to last year, it was. However, if you look at the long term trends, February 2018 was actually reasonably good.
We saw 137% of Sunshine for the month and only 73% of average rainfall. However, the key stat during the winter is often temperature: and it was -1.3 degrees down on average, at just 2.3 degrees. That’s just too cold for most to get out and play, and would support the increase in sales of tops – those hardy enough to play needed more layers!
So, What Happens Next?
Well, February is a small month but, YTD, both January and February have been down. March really did have bad weather – that’s when all the snow fell. My guess would be further drops for most categories and a continued YTD drop.
Give it a few days, and I will be able to tell you for sure, when I have the March data. Watch this space.