The first quarter of the year has been a busy one here at the Tennis Industry Association as we continue to work towards our mission of promoting the growth and economic vitality of the industry
Every two years the TIA surveys facility owners and managers across the country to develop the Cost of Doing Business Facilities Study. This year's report highlights important trends and benchmarks for this industry segment such as revenue per court, average membership dues, peak/off peak court fees, and more.
The Physical Activity Council, a consortium of 6 major trade associations for sports and leisure activities (including the TIA), has published its annual Play Report, which shows growth in Tennis and Cardio Tennis for 2013.
This spring, the TIA will release the fourth edition of its annual State of the Industry report, which analyzes data from the previous year collected through the nearly 80 TIA surveys and research studies and synthesizes this information into a singular easy-to-read report which narrates the story of the tennis industry.
Since the introduction of collaborative industry efforts and focuses to grow participation in the youth tennis demographic, the manufacturing sector has seen a substantial uptick in the number of red, orange, and green tennis balls sold into various consumer distribution channels. For the year end in 2013, wholesale unit shipments of these balls were up 17% over 2012 and up 375% since they were first tracked by TIA Census Reporting in 2008.
Despite a strong start to the holiday season in 2013, where pro/specialty retailers saw a 4% increase in racquet units sold and a 7% increase in racquet dollar sales in November, year-end figures were down compared to the previous year. Racquet unit sales in the channel were down significantly in Q1 (-14%), which had a significant impact on total sales for the year as remaining quarters saw smaller losses in units sold.
The start of the holiday shopping season brought good news to the pro/specialty segment of the tennis industry in 2013. In what has been a challenging year in terms of "sell through" for racquets among pro/specialty retailers, November racquet sales saw an increase of 4% in unit sales over 2012.
2013 has, without a doubt, been a somewhat challenging year for the specialty tennis retail market. However, on a positive note, racquet dollar sales were up 4% over 2012 in the month of August. The increase in dollar sales compared to last year is a by-product of a 6% increase in the average price of racquets sold in tennis specialty shops in August 2013 versus August 2012.
Although consumer confidence struggled in the third quarter (and on the heels of the government shutdown), the wholesale tennis equipment market did have a bright spot, as shipments of Red, Orange and Green (ROG) tennis balls showed significant growth versus a year earlier. Manufacturer wholesale shipments of ROG balls into various distribution channels for the consumer market were up a combined 21.8% over Q3 of 2012.
The 2013 release of the TIA Tennis Consumer Study includes a newly developed section which measures the social media and digital device usage trends of frequent tennis players, those who play tennis 21+ times or more a year. Data in the report tracks tennis consumer's engagement with various social media platforms, digital devices, and tennis websites, and how these various platforms and devices are being utilized by the industry's frequent player base.