Longitudes Group today announced the release of its 2013 Market Trend Report on USA Off-Course Golf retail. For the first time in five years, the golf market experienced an increase in both doors and retail square footage. 2007 marked the peak before the economic downturn that brought many retail sectors devastating losses. Relative stability settled into the market in 2012, perhaps as the independent competitors relinquished control to the moneyed few. The specialty golf channel is now dominated by the national chains. 71% of all square footage and 30% of the door counts are owned by multi-door retailers with store footprints over 10,000 square feet.
First released in 2004, Longitudes Group annually tracks the growth and contraction of the Off-Course retail market. In the overall off-course retail segment, 2012 brought good news and growth both in terms of openings, square foot expansion and golfers with open wallets buying golf gear. Big Box chains were the lion’s share of the growth with Golfsmith and PGA Tour Superstores aggressively opening gigantic stores in key markets.
The increase in rounds and spending in 2012 by golfers will hopefully stay on a positive trend in 2013. The fiercely competitive national retailers are preparing for a decade ahead of navigating a multi-channel marketplace that is quickly changing into a hyper-channel marketplace. Innovators will need to constantly hone their model. Online retail continues to grow at a double-digit pace. “The impact and adoption rate of golfers shopping via mobile retailing, pop-up stores, social media platforms and service providers dabbling in retail concepts, should motivate this traditional golf retail channel to be in a state of continual innovation,” states Sara Killeen, President of Longitudes Group.