In the first quarter of 2019 (January-March), U.S. sales of golf and other team sports equipment products declined in the mid-single digits, a slightly more negative trend due to the 53rd week in last year’s retail calendar which was accounted for in January 2018.
Overall golf equipment sales were down in the mid-single digits, with only golf ball sales growing. While many golf equipment brands experienced declines, Ping was a notable exception. I do not expect golf equipment to get much of a lift from Tiger Woods winning the Masters.
As I predicted, baseball posted a decline in Q1 largely due to difficult comparisons, as last year the new youth bat rules drove a strong increase in bat sales and baseball traffic. However, despite the decline some brands came out as winners in Q1, with sales growth for those including Marucci, Louisville Slugger, DeMarini, and Rawlings.
The struggles in basketball equipment continued, with sales down in the low teens and the major brands in this space experiencing declines. Football also declined in the low teens, in line with participation trends. Soccer had a disappointing quarter, down in the high singles, as did racquet sports.
Lacrosse had a low single-digit gain, while combat and wrestling equipment grew in the mid-singles. In line with the latter, the Everlast brand saw healthy gains.
Even in a challenged market like team sports equipment, brands can and are doing better than the industry trend; however, at this moment it is clearly a share game.
Source: The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service/ January-March 2019