In a month of fluctuating fortunes throughout the different sectors the Golfalot.com price index in the UK stayed steady in March proving that the industry has the strength to maintain the large gains made in February. The index fell by only 0.6% to post the most successful two months since August and September and to provide a huge amount of optimism as the golf season proper swings into view.
In the clubs sector some of last month’s big winners fell slightly. A fall of 4.4% made the Wedges sector the biggest loser, the drop powered largely by falls across the Titleist Vokey range. Fairway Woods, the success story of February, fell by 3.4% with retailers quick to make slight reductions on new models from Nike and Cobra in an effort to steal ahead of their competitors. A fall of 3.3% in the Drivers sector took some of the shine off last month’s big gains but the sector remains higher than it has been at any time since November. The drop was fuelled by small reductions in some of the newer models such as the Rapture V2 and the Cobra S9-1 series and major reductions from a couple of the TaylorMade R7 series as customers and retailers wait for the TaylorMade R9 to hit the shelves.
Elsewhere in the clubs sector Irons and Putters both posted slight falls of just over 1% while Utility Clubs bucked the trend to record a gain of 1.5%. Utility clubs benefitted from the lifting of those post Christmas reductions which lingered into February with models from Callaway, Nicklaus and Adams all posting increases in price in March. Overall the clubs sector fell by 1.8% in March following the increase of 4.6% in February.
The accessories sector, somewhat overshadowed in the February Price Index, made an increase of 2.8% in March thanks in large part to an excellent performance from the Bags Sector. The introduction of the 2009 ranges from both Sun Mountain and Ogio saw the Bags sectors record stunning growth of over 9% to reach its highest average price of £79.75 since the Golfalot.com Price Index began in October 2004. Large rises in March and April are not unheard of in the Bags Sector and it will be interesting to see if the sector’s price holds over the next few months.
The Golf Balls sector posted an increase of 3.2% as the Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star X and the Titleist ProV1 and ProV1x made an immediate impact following their long awaited debuts in the Index. With these premium golf balls proving remarkably consistent in holding their price over the years it will be interesting to see how they fare in the economic climate of 2009. Trolleys posted an increase of 1.3% to record their third straight increase of 2009. Shoes were the only accessories sector to drop, the fall of 3.5% caused by almost immediate reductions in the price of some of the major new models including the FootJoy SynrG and Nike Air Zoom TW 2009.
The consistent drip feed of new models combined with retailers continuing to entice customers with reductions on some of the major products has led to a month of mixed fortunes on the Golfalot.com Price Index. While it is impossible to predict what affect the economic tribulations of 2009 will have on the industry in the coming months the usual boosts of both the better weather and golf’s traditional high exposure during Masters week mean that a certain optimism is not misplaced.
Although the slight overall drop in March would seem to prove that the emphatic increases of February were unsustainable the drops have been far more manageable than might have been expected. That every sector apart from wedges remains higher than in December is certainly evidence of an industry that remains healthy.
For more detailed information view the Golfalot Price Index graphs for the UK & USA online at http://www.golfalot.com/News/PriceIndex.aspx