Importance Of Digital Technology For Golf Retail
This is a quickly evolving digital age, where online content dominates our lives, and golf has been significantly touched by that revolution, a fact underlined by insights gained from the 2019 Golfshake Survey, which benefited from the participation of 3,500 golfers.
If you look back two decades ago when Tiger Woods was first asserting his grip on the game, the internet was still in its infancy, and the vast majority of golfers relied on features within a handful of leading golf magazines for the latest news and information. Moving forward 20 years, not only do we have a seemingly limitless amount of content at our fingertips through websites and mobile phones, there is now a vast wealth of content delivered through YouTube and even streamed directly to our devices, tablets and smart TVs.
For just one example, a quick online search emphasises just how much has changed since the days of those handful of golf magazines. Looking up 'Callaway Mavrik Driver Review' quickly reveals over 60 articles and 30 videos.
But what does that mean for golfers and the industry at large?
Asked: When purchasing golf equipment, how much do you rely on the following? 52.86% of golfers still most valued testing products beforehand, stating that this was very/extremely important. You may think that number would be higher, but pro recommendations came in second with 28.54% stating it was very/extremely important, followed by online features with 24.05% and YouTube content with 18.06%.
However, where things become more interesting is when the demographics are broken down. 57% of club golfers stated that testing was very/extremely important when purchasing equipment compared to 44.7% of unattached golfers. The club golfers also rated the pro recommendation higher at 31% compared to 22.8% for non-club golfers.
Where you see a greater distinction and evidence for the shift towards online is when things are analysed by age, something we have covered before in this articles focused on golfers and use of digital tech. A key statistic from the article and the data was that 100% of golfers under the age of 55 have a smartphone device meaning they have digital content at their finger tips.
When it comes to retail we can analyse the age demographic further in relation to: When purchasing golf equipment, how much do you rely on the following?
Firstly, golfers over the age of 55 are more likely to use Golf Pro recommendations, with this figure at 31% for those stating it was very/extremely important. Online features as a key source of information also massively shifts with 39.5%, 30.35% and 19.27 for the under 35, 35-54 and over 55 demographics respectively. This is further highlighted with the use of YouTube split at 34.9%, 24.8% and 12.4% for the under 35s, 35-54 and over 55 ages respectively.
So, the clear shift being the younger the golfer, the more likely they are to value online content, which points to the future.
However, while there is a progression for that area, there was one notable statistic that was consistent with previous surveys, the importance of custom fitting. We are big advocates at Golfshake for the view that all golfers are different and every swing will be unique, so if you are looking for new golf clubs, fitting is vital.
Reflecting on that, there was a surprise that only 85% of golfers completing the survey stated they would consider custom fitting when they next purchase clubs. That is still a significant percentage, but it's similar to what we've seen through a period of years. However, club members, younger golfers and those new to the game were more likely to consider custom fitting, perhaps reflecting a likely shift in the longer term.
Things have changed during the first two decades of this century, but with a growing distinction between older and younger golfers with how they consume content and educate themselves before purchasing equipment, online resources will only continue to grow in stature within the consciousness of the golf industry.
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