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.
Overall for the quarter, unit sales of racquets at specialty tennis retailers were down 14% and dollar sales were down 9%. The average price of racquets sold did inch upward by 5% over the same time frame compared to last year. In the month of January unit sales were down 6%, however dollar sales were up 1% on an 7% higher average price point. The remaining two months of the quarter, February and March, proved challenging for the specialty retail segment as it saw double digit declines in racquet unit sales during both months, 18% and 16%, respectively.
Other factors potentially contributing to the weakened first quarter for the specialty tennis retail market include weather patterns where many parts of the country received large amounts of precipitation and experienced much cooler than normal average temperatures.