A fourth quarter sales surge offset the coronavirus damage and resulted in overall annual increases in US tennis racquet and ball sales in 2020.
In total, across the whole of 2020, racquets enjoyed a 21% boost in shipment units compared to 2019, while balls achieved single digit growth. This is despite the pandemic, which saw over 100,000 fewer racquets shipped in Q2 2020 than the same period in 2019.
The striking figures come from the quarterly tennis shipment monitoring programme conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) on behalf of the Tennis Industry Association. The project aggregates sales data from the world’s leading tennis manufacturers, including the tennis racquets, balls and strings shipped into market in the USA. An equivalent monitor tracks the same metrics in 16 countries in Europe.
Driving the annual performance was low end racquets, with a 32% increase in the volume of racquets shipped into market at a trade price of under $50. More expensive racquets also enjoyed an impressive end to the year, but this was not quite enough to offset the losses from earlier in the year.
The rush to fill shops with good value racquets may also reflect a COVID-fuelled demand to learn and try the game from new players across the country.
Tennis ball sales, traditionally a good barometer of play occasions in a country, also enjoyed an excellent fourth quarter. A nearly 25% increase in Q4 tennis ball shipments by volume contributed to a narrow full year improvement on 2019’s total sales. Transition balls performed particularly well throughout.
Commenting on the findings, Adam Hile, Senior Research Analyst who coordinates the tennis shipment programme for SMS USA adds:
“The tennis industry should be very proud of these results. To overcome the challenge of a global pandemic and all the customer uncertainty and anxiety that brings is hugely impressive. The credit has to go to the hard work of both suppliers and dealers to preserve supply chains, logistics and customer enthusiasm. If premium racquets can enjoy a strong start to the year, and good value racquets continue to be bought at the same rate, tennis could be in for an exciting 2021.”
SMS also operates the tennis retail audit in the United States, which tracks sell-through of these shipped racquets to end consumers. For more information, please contact email@example.com
The Tennis Industry Association, originally founded in 1974 as the American Tennis Federation, has been serving the “business of tennis” for over 40 years! As the industry’s not-for-profit trade association, the mission of the TIA is to “promote the growth of tennis and the economic vitality of the tennis industry.”