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Golfing Retail Sales Combine for $8.8 Billion in U.S., Japan

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Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. and Japan, which make up 70 percent of the world’s golf retail market, combined for $8.8 billion in sales of equipment and apparel in 2013, according to a new report.

The U.S./Japan World Golf Market Report, a first of its kind study released today at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida, revealed the size of the two markets. The study was conducted by Florida-based Golf Datatech, LLC and Tokyo-based Yano Research Ltd.

With 24 million golfers, the U.S. accounted for about $5.1 billion in sales of golf equipment and apparel last year, while Japan, which has about 8 million golfers, had about $3.7 billion (JPY386 billion) in sales, according to the study. In total, golfers spent about $12.6 billion on equipment and apparel worldwide in 2013.

“We hope this is a first big step in assessing the golf market trends of the world, especially those of developing countries where the future growth of golf is so important,” Takashi Mizukoshi, president of Yano Research said in a statement.

While Japan has about 66 percent fewer golfers than the U.S., the country generated $1.43 billion in apparel sales, compared with the U.S.’s $1.38 billion. The average price of a golf shirt sold in golf-specific outlets in Japan costs $100, compared with $40 in the U.S., according to the report.

Study Details

The study involved measuring sales of drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, putters, total club sales, balls, shoes, bags, gloves and apparel.

Among sales of individual clubs, putters declined the most in both countries, with Japanese sales falling 18 percent to $98 million from about $120 million, and 4 percent to $173 million from about $180 million in the U.S.

Sales of irons rose 4 percent to $820 million in the U.S. and 2 percent in Japan to about $600 million. According to the study, Japanese golfers prefer traditional-style forge irons over easier-to-hit cavity-back irons. About 40 percent ($230 million) of irons sold in Japan were forged, compared with less than 10 percent ($82 million) in the U.S.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Buteau in Atlanta at mbuteau@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net