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, 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.”