2015 Sporting Goods Channel Golf Market Report

Longitudes Group today announced the release of its 2015 Sporting Goods Channel Golf Market Report.  Longitudes Group estimates 17% of golf equipment/apparel revenues, in the range of $850,000,000 in retail volume, are sold in traditional Sporting Goods retailers.  Golfers and manufacturers alike have experienced the power and influence of this channel in recent years. Tides are now changing as Golf departments inside large format sporting goods stores are getting pinched as they struggle to keep up with faster growing categories across the aisle. A shift in the channel is happening as footwear, yoga and ‘athleisure’ wear are grabbing more floor space. The golf manufacturers are starting to feel the effects but those key retailers with aggressive store expansion plans are softening the full impact of a pull-back from golf.  Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy and Bass Pro Shops have had double digit increases in store counts since this report was last published in 2013. 

Key findings of the newly released research include:

  • Most industry insiders assume correctly that Dick’s Sporting Goods has more golfers than any other chain in the country in its trade areas. Surprisingly though, it lags in available golf retail market value and is just now closing the gap with The Sports Authority (TSA) who is #1 in market value within 15 minute trade areas of its. Dick’s has pulled within 2% of TSA’s $2.31B Golf Retail Market Value. Why the gap? The report explores the impact of location and geographic strengths chain by chain.
  • Academy Sports is now the 2nd largest sporting goods chain with 2015 sales in all sports categories expected to exceed $4.6B surpassing TSA at $3.1B.  Academy expanded its door count by 21% to 203 stores since the lastSG Golf report was published in 2013.  It increased the number of golfers in its 15 minute store trade areas by 415,000 (25%) and added $90M in golf retail market value to its golf department potential. 
  • Across all channels, the golf retail market continues to be buttressed thanks to steady growth in soft goods especially apparel.  Over the last five years, even while coming out of the recession, golf apparel grew between 1% and 5% annually. Nothing near as volatile as the equipment categories have experienced.
  • The highest volume golf product lines in the Sporting Goods channel are Golf Apparel valued at $251M in retail dollars followed by Woods and Balls at $152M / $136M respectively. 

Longitudes Group, a golf research and consulting company, has documented the current golf market profiles of the 10 largest sporting goods retail companies.  The semi-annual report was originally a proprietary report for clients, but since 2013 has been released as a syndicated report to the broader golf and sporting goods marketplace.

The report compares and contrasts the brands, and relates how each sporting goods chain impacts the local golf markets in which they compete.  Local stores have been analyzed with radial trade areas within a 15-minute drive-time of each chain’s individual stores. Variables tracked include the number of total golfers served, golf participation rates, competitive density, share of total golfers per individual store, retail golf market value and number of stores. 

National rankings are also provided for three key variables:

1.    Total golfers served

2.    Total golfers per store

3.    Golf market value served by retail brand

Also included in this comprehensive report, is the dollarization of the key channels of distribution in the golf industry (Green grass, Off course, Sporting goods and Mass merchants) across nine different hard goods and soft goods product lines.

Since 2003 Longitudes Group has annually tracked the growth and contraction of the Golf retail market.  As the importance of the Sporting Goods channel has grown but may now be ebbing for the golf industry, Longitudes Group has closely tracked the key chains that are intense competitors to traditional golf retailers.  The Top 10 Sporting goods chains account for over 2,300 retail locations, nearly triple the number of Off-course golf retailers in the US market.

 “The Sporting Goods channel represents over 17% of all golf product sales but that volume may contract in the coming years,” stated Sara Killeen, President of Longitudes Group.  “The best case scenario for the golf industry is if consumers are taking their golf spending to the higher service vertical channels as Sporting Goods chains shrink the golf department footprint in-store.”

The Research

Calls to retailers were conducted via Longitudes Group outbound research and call centers, based in Portland, Oregon. These phone surveys established a baseline count of stores and golf product categories carried. Retailers that had gone out of business, moved locations, or were incorrectly categorized as brick and mortar sporting goods retailers were removed from the list or updated. Additional sources were utilized such as on-line yellow page list services, in-market personal interviews with industry participants, and company websites.

The report is $1,200 per copy. To purchase, email your request to: info@longitudesgroup.com.   For further information on the preparation of a custom analysis or questions about the report, please contact Sara Killeen at (503) 477-6284.

Longitudes Group, LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a research and marketing company providing unique analysis on the travel and spending behaviors of avid golfers in the US and Canada. Armed with a database containing information on the behavior of 5.4 million avid golfers mapped by county and zip code, Longitudes Group uses a geo-demographic approach to probe both the location and purchase behavior of the avid golfer population.  On the supply side, Longitudes Group has built the most up-to-date database of golf retailers including 15,300 golf facilities, 929 off-course retail stores and 2,230 chain sporting goods store. For more information, visit the company online at www.longitudesgroup.com

Contact Info:

Sara Killeen, President
(503) 477-6284