The Golfalot.com Price Index continued to provide strong signals that the golfing sector may be well placed to stand firm in the face of the descending financial gloom with the UK Price Index recording a small increase of less than 1% in November.
The UK rise was driven by the Trolley sector where a number of the cheaper brands fell out of the Index but the upper end of the market stayed consistent to push the sector up by 4% – the second consecutive month of growth. Utility Clubs continued to fight back following a major collapse in August with an increase of 3.3%, with drops in the MacGregor and Benross ranges being cancelled out by increases for some Wilson and MD Golf clubs.
The Golf Balls sector was the other real success story of November with a 2.8% rise putting to an end a five month run of losses. After months of price cutting Golf Balls returned to normal with increases across the sector, most noticeably right across the Callaway range. The only other sector to increase was Wedges, where the new Nike Victory Red Forged Wedge debuted in the Index, growing by 1.3% and posting a rise for the third consecutive month.
Overall the Clubs sector fell by almost 1% despite the inclusion of new irons from Callaway and Nike, the Irons sector falling by -0.9% with some major drops from Wilson, TaylorMade and Ping products negating the positive impact of the new arrivals. The biggest fall came from the Fairway Woods sector where a crash of -3.3% was caused by prices being reduced across the sector in anticipation of the flood of new clubs which have not yet made their way to the retailers.
Putters also posted a significant drop with a series of small reductions – most noticeably in the Callaway range – to blame for a fall of -2.4%. Elsewhere Drivers fell by less than -1% while the Accessories sector, buoyed by Trolleys and Golf Balls, grew by 2.2% despite Bags and Shoes both posting small drops.
Across the Atlantic, the Golfalot.com Price Index in the United States showed a positive growth of 0.6%, more than recovering from last month’s small drop. The rise was powered by the new equipment that has been launched by manufacturers over the last 3 months reaching the shelves and positively boosting the Index especially in the Clubs sector, where overall positive growth of 1.1% was enough to offset a small fall in the Accessories sector of -0.6%.
Drivers rose by 1.6% with the introduction to the index of new clubs by Adams (Insight Tech A4), Callaway (FT-iQ and FT-iQ Tour), Cobra (LV5) and Titleist (909D range) more than offsetting falls across the older products in the index. A similar story was experienced in the Fairway Woods with the new Adams entrants (Insight Tech A4 and Insight Tech A4 OS) boosting the index and the category was the month’s biggest riser, growing by 4%.
Utility Clubs also grew by 0.8% with the introduction of the Adams Insight Tech A4 and the Irons category showed a similar trend, boosted by the introduction of the Callaway X22 and Nike Slingshot HL ranges to register a 0.6% increase. The only clubs categories to fall were Wedges that fell by -0.3%, despite the entry into the index of the new Nike Victory Red Wedges, and Putters that fell by -0.5%. Both these categories saw prices fall generally across clubs represented in the category.
The Accessories sector registered negative growth of -0.6% with only the Bags category bucking the trend and registering positive growth. Bags grew 1.3% largely due to new models from Sun Mountain, Bag Boy and Ogio entering the stores whilst the sector’s big losers were shoes, where a fall -2.9% can be blamed on a number of brands and models registering discounted prices across a number of retailers. Balls and Trolleys also fell by -0.4% and -0.8% respectively.
With both the UK and America showing small increases in the Golfalot.com Price Index for November there is ground for confidence that golf is not about to suffer as badly as other industries from the fallout of the global credit crash. Retailers and manufacturers will be hoping that the positive trends continue as consumers gear up for the holiday season and more of the newly released products find their way to the shop floor.
For more detailed information view the Golfalot Price Index graphs for the UK & USA online at http://www.golfalot.com/News/PriceIndex.aspx