The apparel market in 2017 according to numbers provided for us from the Golf Datatech UK retail audit, was worth a total of £98.8 million. That’s a lot of money spent on tops, bottom shirts, and outerwear. That figure was up 7.6% on 2016. It’s easy to forget that apparel is often the most important product in the store from a retail perspective, with all the noise surrounding the latest drivers. Yet the apparel market was worth over three times the driver market in 2017.
With the hundreds of apparel brands out there it can be a minefield knowing which ones to stock. In recent years, brands such as Tom Morris have come into the market with a bang, yet went out with a whimper. And this is just one example of the speed in which the apparel sector can be shaken up. We’ve talked to people in the industry to look at apparel market trends that will shape autumn winter 2018 and beyond.
HIGHER PRICE POINTS
Golf participation numbers remain fairly static. According to SMS, through the first half of 2017, the number of rounds played were up 4%, which while positive isn’t earth-shattering. So if there aren’t huge amounts of new golfers to sell product to, you need to sell products with bigger margins, with higher unit costs if you want to improve your business. The apparel brands have identified that, and there is a definite trend for new premium price point high-end lines brand extensions launching in 2018.
adidas have their adipure line worn on tour by Justin Rose which will grow in 2018. Manufactured from high-end natural fabrics, and catering to a modern country club aesthetic, the adipure line is slightly removed from their mainline product with its athletic origins.
Callaway Apparel are launching a Tour Authentic, Jonathan Dowdell European Marketing and Sponsorship Manager told us this about the launch for later this year. “New for 2018 and launched at the PGA Show is ‘Tour Authentic’. An ultra-premium and exclusive apparel collection, featuring the best fabrics, materials and construction processes. It’s a concise collection aimed at exclusive venues who want to partner with us and offer something truly special to their members and customers. It features mercerised cotton polos and grade-A cashmere pullovers.”
Galvin Green used the PGA Show to highlight their new Edge Collection. With a more fashion orientated spin than their standard product, the line includes 80’s inspired print waterproofs, digital camo infused polo’s and performance hoodies designed for the course. Its an interesting approach for the brand, targeting the fashion conscious golfer.
And while it won’t hit the UK in 2018, FootJoy are going to market this year with an 1857 line of beautiful high end apparel and footwear that targets a consumer they aren’t currently reaching. With handmade dress shoes, produced in Europe that start at around the $500 mark with golf shoes higher than that, this will not be a line suitable for everywhere.
TECHNICAL FABRICATION, MODERN STYLING
In golf wear we don’t need heavy clothing. We need warmth, and we need wind resistance. And the styles of clothing worn on the course have changed to reflect that. Only a couple of seasons ago joggers and hoodies would have been unthinkable in golf, now a variety of brands are offering them in their collections.
Gilets and Puffas are here to stay in the golf market. Just a few years ago they were the preserve of European brands, and you would have almost never sever seen them on a course in the UK. Fast Forward to now and they are a staple of any AW18 collection with technology often borrowed from the skiwear industry.
Robert Hart, Owner and Creative Director at Nottingham based Bunker Mentality had this to say. “As a golfer you don’t always need a jacket But a gilet will help keep you warm, while still keeping you free to swing. Fabrications have got much better too, so filling materials are lighter and less bulky again helping you swing the club more freely. We live in Britain, and even in July you can be playing a classics links course on the coast and the wind can make it freezing.”
Now you know what to look for, check out the rest of 20 page apparel special to find out what you should be stocking this upcoming Autumn/Winter.