According to a survey from the TIA (Tennis Industry Association) of professional and specialty tennis retailers in the United States, steep sales declines were expected for March and April. Nearly 90 percent of the respondents’ stores were closed when the survey was taken.

Among the survey’s highlights:

  • 87 percent of tennis retailers surveyed said their retail door(s) will remain closed. There were no major differences in retail open/close status by store size though there is a slightly lower percentage of closings among larger stores;
  • When asked how their March 2020 sales will compare to March 2019, roughly half (49 percent) of retailers responded their sales were more than 60 percent down;
  • April sales are expected to decline drastically; 72 percent of retailers project their April 2020 sales, compared to April 2019, to be down more than 80 percent. The outlook for May is a little better — 45 percent of retailers project sales to be more than 80 percent down compared to May 2019;
  • Of the 90 percent of retailers who are either partially or completely closed, only 27 percent have implemented a strategy to maintain sales. The most popular sales strategy used is a curbside pick-up, followed by online orders and home delivery;
  • Approximately 9 out of 10 retailers (89 percent) are not using an e-commerce platform (such as Shopify) to generate sales;
  • Regarding staff layoffs and furloughs, 28 percent of retail businesses replied they have not yet laid off, or furloughed, any staff, while another 30 percent of stores have laid off their entire staff and 34 percent have furloughed all, or some of their, staff. Of those retailers who furloughed staff, 73 percent are unable to afford to pay wages. half of the retailers (56 percent) with furloughed staff said they can maintain wage support for less than one month;
  • Stores were asked about their cash reserves, to which 49 percent of retailers said they have 1-to-3 months of cash reserves on hand;
  • 72 percent of retailers surveyed said they are only willing to go into debt at a level less than $50,000 to keep their business viable; and
  • 38 percent of retailers said they can keep their business going for 3 months or less before they must consider permanent closure. 26 percent said they can stay in business at some level indefinitely.

The TIA developed the survey content in conjunction with Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS). A total of 144 completed surveys and 41 partial surveys generated the report. The survey was taken between April 1-7. The full survey can be found here.

TIA has also released a COVID-19 survey taken in March of 3,289 tennis industry professionals, including tennis instructors as well as operators and owners of tennis facilities. The industry professionals survey is here.