In a 2012 Dealer Trends Study conducted by the Tennis Industry Association, specialty tennis retailers indicated that competition from online only retailers was their key concern moving forward for their business. Also, in the top 3 of their concerns was the growing issue of "show-rooming," where consumers come into retail stores and interact with retailers to gain their product knowledge, only to leave and complete their purchase through an online dealer. To help level the playing field for brick and mortar retailers to compete with online retailers, Congress introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013.
Join the TIA and other TIA Retail Division members in this upcoming retail webinar — to be held June 11 — on creating a great store environment to bring your store environment to life and boost sales.
With a decline in the average consumer confidence index from January to March 2013 over the same period of 2012 of nearly 5.5 index points, specialty tennis retailers felt the impact of waning consumer confidence on their sales of tennis racquets. The average Consumer Confidence Index, which has typically been an economic indicator which helps predict trends and correlations in tennis industry equipment sales, was down to 62.1 in Q1 2013 from 67.5 in 2012.
Recently, the Tennis Industry Association re-launched PlayTennis.com to get more tennis players into the game and progress on the pathway to becoming frequent players. Accompanying the re-launch of the site is the introduction of an all-new industry initiative that is gaining support from retailers, manufacturers, and the USRSA—a "Tennis Tune-Up" campaign.
The TIA is developing an online Tennis Specialty Retailer Certification course that will cover key aspects of the tennis retail business and, upon successful completion, allow retailers to be recognized as a “TIA Certified Specialty Tennis Retailer.”
There may be good news soon for brick-and-mortar tennis pro and specialty shops. In March, the U.S. Senate, by a large bi-partisan majority, voted for an amendment to the budget bill that would require all retailers to collect and report sales tax, including online retailers who have been exempt from many state and local taxes.
In March, at meetings in New York City and Florida with retailers, manufacturers and the TIA Board of Directors, the idea of a “Tennis Tune-Up” and Restringing Campaign received widespread support as something that can help drive consumers to tennis retail stores.
Seventy-five U.S. Senators showed their support for the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 which would allow local brick-and-mortar retailers to compete more effectively against out-of-state internet sellers. An amendment summarizing the bill – which was introduced in February – was added to the FY2014 Budget Resolution which is currently being debated on the Senate floor.
Beginning in early 2012 the Tennis Industry Association worked closely with the USTA and tennis industry manufacturers to develop a National Youth Tennis Retail Initiative plan. The focus of this plan was to develop consistent messaging that would help educate consumers and retailers on the proper equipment for youth tennis as well as drive them to the website, youthtennis.com, where they could find play opportunities quickly and easily. As a result, the TIA coordinated the printing of over 1 million tennis racquet hang-cards to be placed on youth racquets at the various retail channels throughout the United States. In addiiton, the TIA worked closely with the USTA to develop POP signage for retailers to utilize in their stores.
In March, the Tennis Industry Association organized meetings in both New York and Florida to discuss efforts to promote retail and to grow the game and the "business of tennis."