Golf’s Online Economy Amazon and other online retailers have growing presence in the golf merchandise market by Adam Schupak
July 2019 Share Tom Cox doesn’t have to look far to see the influence that online retail giants are having on the way consumers buy (and sell) goods. All he has to do is look at his front door.
“We get a shipment a day from Amazon at our house, especially with a 2-year-old,” said Cox, CEO and president of Golfballs.com, which he founded in 1995. “Amazon is eating retail.”
The Internet is changing sales tactics everywhere and as Amazon becomes a bigger force in retail – a place to buy not just books, but household goods, electronics and yes, sporting goods, too – it is affecting nearly every subset of retail in every vertical and category. The shift in consumer behavior and spending habits extends to golf as in other markets. Both brick and mortar and Internet-based retailers fear going the way of Circuit City, Toys ‘R’ Us and The Sports Authority and being eclipsed by bigger and more versatile rivals.
An Amazon employee prepares merchandise for shipping. (Photo credit: Amazon)
Golf is one of the nation’s leading individual participation sports, which in turn fosters spending on equipment, apparel and accessories. NGF research shows that 37% of golfers bought golf-related merchandise online last year, rising from 35% the previous year, and account for a growing percentage of total golf merchandise sales. And when looking at adult core golfers (those who played eight or more rounds), that number climbs to 49% of core golfers who made a golf-related purchase last year, whether that was clubs, balls, bags, gloves, shoes or apparel.
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