The 2016 PGA Merchandise show teed off January 27 in Orlando, FL, and despite some difficult headwinds, including declining play and participation, show organizers are expecting a 15-percent bump in attendance over previous years.
A projected 42,000 to 45,000 attendees will walk the 10 miles of aisles at the show over the next three days. The show features more than 1,000 exhibitors and vendors and fills the one million square feet of the West Hall of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. This year’s show features attendees from over 91 countries in all.
According to SSI Data* golf hardgoods sales fell by mid-teen percentages, but golf footwear sales were up mid-single digits and golf apparel was flat for the full-year 2015. It suggests, as in other active lifestyle categories, that apparel and footwear sales are outpacing hardgoods thanks to some broader positive fashion and athleisure trends.
Judging by the congestion in the aisles, golf is doing everything it can to enhance the experience for new and existing golfers. On the footwear side, golf up-and-comer Skechers is making a big presence with its new line of footwear and golf apparel. According to Gary Stern, VP Sales, Skechers Performance Division, the new enhanced line for golf really ups the brand’s “performance credibility.”
Columbia Sportswear is also making renewed efforts in the golf apparel category (where it had just dabbled in the past) with a new line of apparel and several new PGA player sponsored athletes. “Golfers are tested in challenging weather conditions every day, ranging from incessant rain and wind to unrelenting sun and humidity,” said Joe Boyle, senior vice president of merchandising and design, Columbia Sportswear. “The links provide the perfect testing ground for Columbia’s arsenal of technologies, and we’re extremely proud of the product we’ve developed for discerning golfers.”
And still booming from the success of its sponsored golfer, Jordan Spieth, Under Armour debuted a new women’s line of golf apparel and added LPGA pro Alison Lee to its Team Under Armour.
Another area of the show that looks to bring some new excitement are many of the new wearable devices designed to improve a golfers swing. According to PGA Pro Jack Tolliver, the new M-Tracer technology from Epson is a great tool for teaching pros and golfers alike. The device attaches to the club and provides a 3-D image and feedback for the golfer.
* SSI Data, powered by SportsOneSource, provides weekly point-of-sale (POS) data and analysis to retailers and manufacturers in the active lifestyle market. To schedule a personal demo or learn more call 303.997.7302 or Solutions@SportsOneSource.com.