Market Update – February 2018

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.

Value trend Feb 2018 YTD

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?

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Lessons from Amazon

Times are a changing, and in the world of retail, things move very quickly indeed. The online (clicks) and offline (bricks) continue to battle for the consumer spend and, of course, each has its pro’s and cons. Bricks and mortar provide the experience and immediate gratification of being able to touch and see: whereas online stores have seemingly infinite choice, and greater convenience, enabling you to shop from your armchair.

If the online channel is of interest to you, then there is one certainty – Amazon has changed the marketplace for ever.

So, what does lessons can golf retailers learn from the largest online retailer in the world?

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Lesson 1: Have Clear Business Aims

Amazon established clear business principles and focused on them without distraction – no matter what anyone else thought or said.

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Old, “Establishment” Brand Makes Changes to Move with the Times! What can Golf Learn?

BBC 4 recently broadcast a thought-provoking documentary that had some very useful insights for the golf industry: “Inside Bentley – A Great British Motor Car”?  

It featured the thinking behind a £800 million investment in their latest model, the Bentayga: the fastest SUV ever built – a Bentley on steroids! It is the first time that they had developed an SUV. During its development it was essential that it sat perfectly in Bentley’s image, yet capable of winning-over future generations of customers. Clearly, they had recognised that, as the number of older customers diminished, (“the blazers” as they were referred to), the company needed to respond to the wants of younger generations.

Step one demanded product development as identified.

Step two importantly was the need to modernise their image at the point of sale. Hence the program saw the world’s oldest and largest Bentley dealer, Jack Barkley of Mayfair, having its interior stripped back and being replaced with sleek, new modern fittings and fixtures.

Bentley, an icon of British society, and Rolls Royce, have both recognised the need for change.  So must the golf industry if it is to prosper in changing times and it too needs to take a similar two-step approach.

The first, updating the product: offering different forms of golf, e.g. speed or football golf, for example, and competitions that are more in tune with family life today. The second, going out of its way to promote a new image for the sport giving it a much-needed, wider appeal: particularly to the Millennials who are so different to the majority playing golf now but need to be captured for the future.

Food for thought for the New Year!

Market Update: October 2017

As we find ourselves in the depths of winter, it’s time to reflect on how the market performed in October, before sales start to drop off significantly.

October is often an unpredictable month. Usually the 7th largest of the year with around 8.3% of annual sales, and it can throw up some funny results. Some years, we see an “Indian Summer”, with extended periods of play. And on the other hand we could see an early start to the winter. It’s also a time when some brands launch new products but other retailers start major clearance. Needless to say it can throw out some spiky numbers.

So how did it go this year?

In the main, pretty bad compared to 2016. Overall sales value is 10.1% down on 2016 with some categories taking a significant drop. Looking at the overall breakdowns, the off-course clubs group was hit the hardest – seeing a 28.9% drop. In contrast, the on-course group saw a 13.7% increase. Other categories have not fared quite as well. Apparel, consumables and other categories are all down between 5.8% and 21.2%, both on- and off-course. The only category (outside of clubs) that is doing ok is light durables – held up by a strong showing from on course shoes.

October 2017 value change table

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Black Friday: Real Deals or Marketing Fluff?

It’s another year of Black Friday mania, but is this all a benefit for the consumer … or retailer?

With all the advertising that is going on, you would think most retailers are giving away stuff for free. However, in terms of consumer bargains, lots of the deals don’t really seem to deliver.

Buyers Beware

I’m sure there are a few steals to be had, but in general, buyers should beware. Money Saving Expert and Which? (the consumer rights site) have both reported that some deals are not as good as advertised. Last year, Which? published a study reporting that over 50% of “Black Deals” had been the same price or cheaper earlier in the year.

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