New Research Report Highlights Tennis Consumer Preferences

The 2011 Tennis Consumer Reports, recently released by the Tennis Industry Association, which measure consumer trends among frequent tennis players (21+ play occasions per year), showed mixed results for the tennis industry. 

The overall sentiment among frequent tennis players in regard to their 2011 spending and projections for 2012 spending is reserved optimism.  Over three-fourths of frequent tennis players have become more strategic in how they buy things, thinking more about how their purchases will fit into their lives, according to the report.

"The ongoing economic concerns and changing consumer buying habits continue to have an impact on the tennis industry," says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer.

For example, the percentage of frequent players who indicated putting off new racket purchases is up to 38% in 2011 from 32% in 2010.  However, frequent tennis players do expect 2012 to be fairly similar or slightly better than 2011, leaving room for positive results for the industry in 2012. For instance, 32% of frequent players expected an increase in household expenditure in the 6 months following the survey period, which is up six percentage points versus the 2010 survey period.

Frequent tennis players are no different from the general consumer with the ever growing and emerging trend of mobile digital information consumption. According to this year's consumer reports 65% of frequent tennis players are using a mobile web browser on their mobile phone and nearly 60% use their mobile phone to download applications. When asked "what kind of tennis specific activities would you like to engage in on your mobile phone," nearly 50% of frequent players indicated they would like to check professional tennis scores and 45% indicated they would like to find a tennis partner to play with.

"As an industry, it's important to recognize the growing consumer demand for digital information and develop new technology platforms that can help channel these opportunities.  When PlayTennis.com is re-launched it will provide a new social connection for players and sticky features to attract usage and ultimately more play,"  adds de Boer.

In addition to measuring spending data and media consumption, the tennis consumer reports also measure frequent player consumer trends with respect to tennis rackets, tennis shoes, tennis balls, tennis strings, and tennis apparel.  A few top-level highlights from the 2011 report include:

  • The "feel" of a racket is the most important factor influencing a frequent player's buying decision of a new frame
  • Frequent players still prefer buying new frames from specialty stores over other outlets
  • Frequent site shoe "comfort" as the most important determining factor when purchasing tennis shoes.
  • Frequent players purchase between 2 and 3 new pairs of tennis shoes each year with 31% of those players preferring to buy tennis shoes from the internet, followed by 26% who buy from chain sporting goods stores.
  • Frequent tennis players marginally prefer buying balls in an 8-pack format over a case (24 cans) or a single can format. Their lowest preference is for a 4-can format.
  • Mass merchants and chain sporting goods stores are the outlets of choice for ball purchases among frequent tennis players.
  • Each year frequent tennis players have approximately 5.3 restringing jobs completed.
  • Pro shops are the most favored outlet for frequent players to purchase tennis strings from.

For more details or questions regarding TIA membership and the Tennis Consumer reports please contact the TIA at (843) 686-3036.