The inevitable end of the summer season looms large in August and quite naturally sales start to dip. This year’s sales follow the general trend but the month itself is significantly better. Compared more realistically to August 2019, owing to the disruption Covid has caused, its sales in value terms weighed in at +18.3% – good going! Clubs have continued to be the star performer at +39.9%. In second place were consumables at +26.1% and third light durables at +16.0%. The only product group that is still struggling is apparel at -22.1%. This group follows the general trend in retail clothing sales.
The weather that can have a dramatic effect on golf sales was less than perfect. Mean temperatures were about the long-term average. Most parts of the UK were dryer resulting from only 73% of the norm but the all-important sunshine was down by 21%. Setting this against the above results suggests that the industry is in relatively good shape.
Recently year to date results has shown an upward trend. August continues this movement in value terms to +4.5% for all product groups compared to the same period in 2019. This compares well to the previous three months which were -13.7% in May, -2.8% in June and +2.3% in July. Like August’s monthly figures, clubs have led the way at +14.8%. All other groups are now showing positive growth other than apparel which still languishes at -20.1%. Drilling down further to individual products year to date results it is no surprise that woods are leading the way at +18.0%, followed closely by irons at +17.8%. Interestingly they are the best performances for these two groups since they broke back into growth in June. Partly driven by the increase in new players recent reported by Sports Marketing Surveys. Balls are the thirds best at +9.2%.
Currently, there appears to be a perfect storm brewing for our economy. The effects of Covid 19 still linger on, most noticeably in generally higher prices for basic essentials: food and petrol for example. These were brought about by the numbers returning to their native countries. Next, the government has had to end their furlough scheme, which may affect over a million people, and introduce, in various forms, a number of tax rises. If that wasn’t enough energy prices are set to rise too- it never rains but it pours! All these will inevitably reduce discretionary spending power on non-essential items. Hopefully, this may not affect the golf industry as much as others. However, it’s important for retailers to think about any problems that may arise and have a plan ready should they occur.
The chart below is based more realistically against 2019. GR