Swing Away: Nike Golf In Unusual Position Of Not Being Market Leader
Nike has the “Midas touch with nearly every sport, but in golf it remains just one of several brands scrapping for a larger piece of a pie that shows no obvious signs of getting bigger,” according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Nike Golf is “still a relative newcomer next to more established brands like Callaway, Ping and Titleist -- and the company with the biggest market share, TaylorMade.” The brand “signed its first golfer -- Seve Ballesteros of Spain -- nearly three decades ago.” But Nike Golf “didn't get into the game in earnest until 2002, when it introduced its first clubs.” In a “crowded field, Nike Golf has had to struggle, trailing at least five other brands in several club categories.” But when it “comes to clothes, the swoosh's historic sweet spot, Nike Golf ranks first in apparel sales and second in footwear.” The brand has “always presented an unusual fit with the more sedate -- and decidedly older-skewing -- game of golf.” But with last week's signing of Rory McIlroy, Nike has “made clear it is as committed to the sport as it was in 1996" when it signed Tiger Woods. There “aren't many categories in which Adidas competes head-to-head with Nike and can claim supremacy over its archrival.” But in golf, adidas-owned TaylorMade can. Nike Golf President Cindy Davis said that “striving to be the top brand was a big motivation for Nike Golf.” Brettman notes Nike last year “had about 7 percent market share -- $726 million in sales -- of golf's $10 billion market.” Davis said the market share will improve "with innovative products.” Davis: “We've got a great recipe and we're driving really solid growth" (Portland OREGONIAN, 1/25).
SALES GAIN FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR: In Portland, Erik Siemers notes Nike Golf last year “posted its second-straight year of sales gains last year after a three-year decline that coincided with the economic recession and Nike Golf athlete Tiger Woods’ on- and off-course regression.”Data from Florida-based research firm Golf Datatech shows that the gains “follow a year in which total sales at U.S. club shops and golf specialty stores grew 8.6 percent across all categories to more than $3.3 billion.” With the industry on the rise, D.A. Davidson golf analyst Andrew Burns believes that two brands will “stand out -- archrivals Adidas and Nike.” He said, “What you have is TaylorMade and Nike really emerging as leaders in the sport, backed by very large pocket books and a knack for compelling product design” (PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/28 issue).