Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Golf Datatech Releases Comprehensive Market Study That Highlights Major Golf Retail Shifts

Seventh Edition of the 2017 Serious Golfers Shopping and Purchasing Habits Study Details the Current Industry Climate

(ORLANDO, Fla.) - Golf Datatech (, the golf industry’s leading independent research firm for consumer, trade and retail golf trends, today released a comprehensive market study that highlights the state of today’s golf retail marketplace. As the golf sector experiences significant shifts, the seventh edition of the Serious Golfers Shopping and Purchasing Habits Study (previous versions 2003, ’05, ’08, ’10, ’12 & ’14) provides in-depth tracking of golfers’ buying preferences, and where they buy product today, while detailing the current climate in the industry.

“Like most consumer shopping preferences in the United States, serious golfers’ choices about shopping for golf equipment or apparel have changed significantly over the past few years,” said John Krzynowek, a Partner in Golf Datatech LLC. “The only thing we know for certain is that change is inevitable … and that will never change.”

Krzynowek adds, “The retail environment is rapidly evolving across all consumer products in the USA, and the purchasing of golf products is no exception.  In fact, shopping for, and buying golf products is frequently a multi-step process. Gone are the days when golfers would buy without shopping for product features, as well as comparing prices. Today’s golfer is savvier about product life cycles and price/value relationships.”

In creating the 2017 Serious Golfers Shopping and Purchasing Habits Study, over 2,500 serious golfers from Golf Datatech’s exclusive database were surveyed for the project. The substantial size of the sample group enabled Golf Datatech to conduct extensive crossover research, targeting multiple demographics, including: golf handicap, gender, facility played, geographic region, alpha consumers (those that buy products most frequently) and price points, along with a special investigation of online shopping habits.

Based on the results of the study, some of the key trends and “channel shift” highlights include:
· The leadership of the off-course channel has weakened across multiple product categories, although it still remains the channel of choice for most golfers. The number of off-course golf specialty “brick and mortar” locations that have closed over the past 12 months (100+) has left many golfers without convenient locations to shop.

· For the first time in the seven editions of this study, “Custom Club Fitting Specialists” were separated from the off-course channel as a choice for where clubs were purchased. This specialized channel has become a significant factor in drivers and irons, even though custom fitting comes at an additional cost.

· The sporting goods channel in total continued to decline in importance, but it remains very significant in golf balls and golf shoes. Like the off-course channel, the number of available sporting goods outlets dropped significantly in 2016, with the closing of Sports Authority. This leaves Dick’s Sporting Goods as the undisputed dominant player in the channel.

· Combined online shopping/browsing/buying was a bit of a mixed bag in 2017.  While many online activities increased in importance, there were offsetting declines in other online segments, particularly in online auction sites like eBay.

· “Other Online” sales, which includes Amazon, were broken out for the first time in this 2017 study, and were substantial in importance for some categories like golf balls.

Adds Krzynowek, “Golf retail is a moving target right now and consumer buying habits are changing at a rapid pace. That is why this study, and subsequent reports that capture the state of the golf retail sector, are vital for the golf industry.”

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