Following shakeups in the U.S. golf retail business over the last few years, the market has not only recuperated but experienced a significant uptick in sales over the last 12 months. After facing declines the year prior, golf sales in the mass/sporting goods retail space generated $2.6 billion and grew by 8% in the 12 months ending November 2018, according to The NPD Group.
“The macro environment for golf has been in a turbulent state, fueled by Golfsmith’s bankruptcy, major brands cutting back on their golf business, and courses closing. But today, we’re starting to see normalization in the market as those deep holes are now being filled,” says Matt Powell, VP and senior industry advisor, Sports, The NPD Group. “Major sports retailers are now investing in golf to pick up some of the business, and brands are also placing emphasis on the category to spur innovation.”
All golf product categories grew in the last 12 months. Comprising around 50% of total market sales, golf clubs grew by +7%. Sales increases were also seen across balls (+6%), gloves (+7%), accessories (+21%), and training aids (+13%). In addition, an overall 8% increase in the market’s average selling price further supports that consumers today are spending on the sport.
In terms of brand performance, Callaway Golf, Titleist, and Wilson were the fastest-growing golf brands among the top 10, and also fell into the top five ranks. The other brands among the top five were Taylormade and Ping.
“With thousands of Baby Boomers retiring every day, there is great opportunity to introduce new retirees to golf,” says Powell. “While systemic issues remain, I expect the golf business will be much better for the near term.”