Know Your Market

Whether you operate a retail shop, tennis facility, or manufacturing operation, one of the key things you need to be able to run your business successfully is market research. And providing that research has long been a strength of the Tennis Industry Association.

Soon, though, you'll have a powerful new research tool to help you spread the word about tennis. The TIA with support from the USTA is finalizing plans for a "Tennis Health Index." Much like the Consumer Confidence Index, the new THI will be designed to give an accurate measure on an annual basis of the state of tennis in the U.S.

Through the TIA, you and your business can have the market intelligence that you need to maintain a competitive edge that will help you prosper. As the research source for every type of facility or retail shop, the information you can receive from the TIA — in conjunction with Sports Marketing Surveys USA, one of the leading market research firms in the country — will give you the tools to help you increase your business profits.

In addition to the Tennis Health Index, more than 70 tennis-specific research reports and surveys are available each year. The amount and type of research available to TIA members varies with the membership level and type of business.

"We interview thousands of recreational tennis players, facility owners, and tennis retailers throughout the year," says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. "Our research and market intelligence reports will help tennis businesses of all sizes determine what they need to do to stay profitable, and to help increase their business."

All levels of TIA membership include either overviews or executive summaries of all TIA research. The TIA can also run customized research to fit the specialized needs of any business.

Here's a quick overview of some of the research available to members:

Tennis Health Index

This new measure of tennis in the U.S. will take the place of the U.S. Tennis Participation Study, which the USTA and TIA have been doing for the last five years. The Tennis Health Index will include seven different components that will give a measure of the state of U.S. tennis.

"By combining different elements, we'll introduce a series of checks and balances and not be over-reliant on a single measure," says Keith Storey, vice president of research for Sports Marketing Surveys USA, which partners with the TIA in providing research data.

Indicators that will make up the THI include:

Cost of Doing Business Report

For Retailers, Facilities & Court Contractors

The Cost of Doing Business Report, which tells businesses how they compare to facilities or retail shops of similar size and type, is an essential reference tool for both tennis facility and tennis retailer members. For your business, you can use this data to benchmark key operating areas.

Tennis Facilities Database and Operational Analysis

The TIA compiles and maintains the most comprehensive and accurate record of tennis facilities in the U.S. Database contents includes: address, contact names (pro, manager), telephone, fax, e-mail, number of courts by type, type of facility (private, commercial, etc.), tennis retail space, and volume. From this, the TIA conducts cost of doing business surveys (such as marketing, maintenance, utility costs, etc.) and establishing tennis operation benchmarks (such as the number of members per court, dollars generated per court, etc.) and industry standards.

For Manufacturers

Specialty Retail Audit

These quarterly reports monitor racquets, footwear, and strings through the pro/specialty channel and tell what is selling at the brand and model levels. The TIA compiles data monthly from more than 75 retail outlets that are representative of the country by region and store size. For racquets, monthly reports are available that include brand share and best-selling models, plus full quarterly reports that include brand share by product attribute (such as head size and composition). Quarterly reports for footwear and strings include brand share and best-selling SKUs.

Dealers who contribute to the audit receive a monthly price-check report and a quarterly summary of the pro/specialty tennis market.

Dealer Trend Surveys

The Dealer Trend Survey evaluates manufacturers' performance among pro/specialty dealers, tracking dealers' attitudes toward their suppliers and telling what dealers really are thinking. Each bi-annual report is from mail and telephone interviews with 100 dealers, representative by region and store size. The reports include a Dealer Confidence Index, dealers' verbatim comments, and forecasted sales changes by brand, along with ratings of suppliers for sales reps, customer service, product delivery, product innovation, and advertising promotion.

Dealers who respond to the survey receive a summary of the results to see how their industry experience compares to the marketplace.

Consumer Reports

Early- and late-season Consumer Reports on racquets, footwear, strings, and apparel evaluate buying and playing habits, brand strength, and brand image among frequent players. The report defines attitudes and habits of the most avid tennis players, who are the heart of your market.

Each year the TIA conducts more than 2,500 in-depth, face-to-face, and online interviews with avid players. The data consists of playing characteristics, buying habits and motivations, brand strength (including awareness and propensity to buy), brand image, sources of information, and influences at point of purchase.

Do you have an issue you want to know more about? The TIA, in conjunction with Sports Marketing Surveys, can design and create tennis consumer research studies to investigate any marketing issue. They have access to tennis players online and at events, and a custom tennis consumer panel is being developed.

Distribution Study

This report gathers retailer information from manufacturers to produce an in-depth analysis of the size of the pro/specialty tennis racquet and footwear market by region. The database can now be used to produce custom studies such as: allocation of sales territories, market size for sales territories, analysis by drive-times and smaller geographical areas of the U.S.

Census Reports

The quarterly census reports conducted on racquets, balls, and strings define the total size of the U.S. market. These reports enable participating companies to track market changes and determine their own market share. Ball shipments are also closely correlated to tennis participation.

The reports consist of confidential quarterly reports provided by all manufacturers on wholesale shipments (units and dollars). The surveys are conducted by an independent third-party accounting firm, W&W Services Inc.

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