Consumer Confidence Starts to Spread to the Tennis Industry
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jolyn deBoer
PO Box 7845
Hilton Head Island,
09/07/04 - The Tennis Industry Association has published its 2004 Mid Season Marketplace report. The latest indicators in the tennis industry show tennis is on an upswing during the 1st half of 2004. While it is too early to say if these 1st half equipment sales trends are as a result of increased participation, the signs are still positive for tennis which has suffered over the past few years.
Jim Baugh, President of the Tennis Industry Association, feels we are on the right track. “Tennis ball unit sales are up, tennis racquet unit and dollar sales are up, and retailer optimism for future sales are at a 3 year high. We also have seen a big increase in sales of lower priced racquets which may indicate an influx of new players. It is too early to say our new Tennis Campaign initiatives are working but there are no doubt that programs like Tennis Welcome Centers are helping”.
Some of the key positive 2004 trends are:
. • Tennis ball unit shipments are up 8%
. • Tennis racquet unit shipments are up 19%
. • Consumer sales through pro and specialty shops are up 11% in units
. • 49% of pro and specialty shop dealers are predicting an increase in
racquet sales for the future; only 14% are expecting a decrease
Baugh is quick to say we need to continue to see upswings for the next 2 quarters to feel we are on the right track long term. “Inventory levels are still high at retail.”
Closeouts are still too much of an influence on our sales. And sell prices for premium racquets are still declining. We need to maintain our premium price points better as this is where much of the profitability of the industry come from to support our “grow the game” initiatives.
Some of the key 2004 issues that we face are:
. • Average sell prices for racquets and balls are down 5% to the trade
. • Average sell prices to consumers for racquets in pro and specialty shops are down 11% in the past 2 years
. • 40% of dealers say their inventories are too high; 11% too low
The big question is how tennis play will track for the year. However, Baugh is optimistic. “I feel real positive about the future on many fronts. I know Tennis Welcome Centers are going to improve our new player retention and total participation numbers. Additionally, we are working to rebuild tennis in our parks. We also have some great new plans to increase frequent player participation which will be launched to the consumer in 2005. Most important, the entire industry is working together. While many companies are fighting for brand share, they realize they TENNIS must grow also. We also are seeing the Tennis Channel appear in more and more homes in America. And, the new U.S. Open Series is getting great visibility for our sport.”
“On the manufacturer and equipment front, new racquet technologies have been introduced from 2 of the top manufacturers this year and I know of 3 other companies who will introduce high performance technology models in early 2005. This should result in good times for our future. And finally, I know one of the mega brands in sports is going to make Tennis one of its key focuses in 2005. This will help with the image of our sport as well.”
The Tennis Industry Association is THE unifying force in the tennis industry providing programs, products, and services to promote the economic vitality of TENNIS. Core TIA initiatives include the Annual TIA/USTA Tennis Participation Survey, Consumer and Trade Research, Tennis Welcome Centers, Cardio Tennis, 50-50 Coop, Growing Tennis programs, TennisConnect.org, TennisWire.org, TIA Merchant Card Services, and the TIA Advantage Card. For more information, please visit TennisIndustry.org or call the TIA at 843.686.3036.