Tennis Industry Continues Bullish Streak into 2007
As 2006 year-end numbers finished strong with leading indicators — racquet and tennis ball sales in the positive, the first quarter brought equally good news with increases in shipments of tennis racquets to dealers 11.5% in dollars and 8.9% in units over the same period 2006. The largest growth category continues in the super premium category — up 32.1% in dollars and 22% in units vs. the previous year figures and youth sales are strong — up 17.6% in dollars and 14.6% in units.
Tennis Ball shipments also showed significant growth in Q1 — up 8.4% in dollars and 4.3% in units — despite Wal-mart and other super retailers sourcing their own tennis balls and not participating in national tennis industry census reporting.
The Tennis Industry continues its bullish streak heading into the fourth great year of results, not only from industry sales but also from dealer and consumer confidence indexes, growth of new players trying tennis for the first time, league play growth, pro tournament attendance and increasing signs of popularity including non-traditional brand use of tennis to promote products and image.
Tennis Industry Association Executive Director, Jolyn de Boer, sees a lot of positives in these results. “First, the unit sales growth the past 3 years shows some of our new player programs are starting to work. Second, the growth in dollar sales shows consumers are buying more premium, high performance racquets as well and there’s an increase in youth play. In fact, the largest growth category in the super premium category indicates positive reaction to the recent introductions of new technology frames from many of the top manufacturers.”
This increase also ties in appropriately with what dealers expect for sales increases in 2007. According to the TIA Dealer Trend Late Season Report, dealers have seen an increase in sales for racquets, balls and shoes and are optimistic of an overall increase continuing in 2007.
TIA President, Dave Haggerty adds: “Overall, we are on the right track. Industry sales are the most positive they have been in years and the efforts to grow the game at the grassroots level have also intensified. Along with our industry partners and working closely with the USTA, we have promoted Tennis Welcome Centers for 4 straight years, the USTA has greatly expanded its Tennis in the Parks campaign among other programs and Cardio Tennis, entering its third year, is seeing terrific media attention and success in attracting new and existing players.”
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