The ‘Maeil Economy GFW Golf Brand Awards’, which started in 2013 to promote the sound development of the golf industry and understand the consumption propensity of amateur golfers, celebrated its 10th this year. We looked at how the golf equipment market has flowed over the past 10 years through the products that have won the Golf Brand Awards.
Co-hosted by Maeil Business Newspaper and <Golf For Women>, the ‘Maeil Business Newspaper GFW Golf Brand Award’ was launched in 2013 to promote the sound development of the golf industry, which has become a popular sport, and to understand the consumption propensity of amateur golfers.
Until the early 2010s, there was great concern in the golf industry that the golf population would decrease. However, the golf population, which stayed at 4 million in the 2010s, began to exceed 5 million in 2020. According to <Leisure White Paper 2022> published by the Korea Leisure Industry Research Institute, the number of golfers in Korea increased by 940,000 from 4.7 million in 2019 to 5.64 million in 2021. In particular, it is characteristic that the MZ generation and the female floor have increased due to the corona special.
The golf equipment market also seemed to be experiencing a stagnation of growth from the mid-2010s, coinciding with the slump of Tiger Woods, the emperor of golf. In particular, there was a big issue in the goods industry in 2016. Nike, which jumped into the golf market in 1894 and recruited world-class stars such as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy and engaged in active marketing, completely withdrew from the goods market. Adidas also sold its golf business subsidiaries TaylorMade, Adams, and Ashworth in 2016 and decided to focus only on apparel and shoes.
However, entering 2020, the number of beginners increased explosively in the golf market, where outdoor activities were limited and free due to the Corona 19 pandemic, and the goods market also boomed. In the early days of Corona, sales decreased compared to the previous year, but sales began to increase in the second half, and in 2021, there was even a shortage of goods due to the rapidly increasing demand for supplies. In addition to major brand products, overall golf brands showed high sales, and this boom continued until the first half of this year. According to GfK, sales in the offline market of domestic golf clubs from January to April 2022 were 259.1 billion won, up 45% from the same period last year. However, as the growth rate slowed from July, brands that turned to a downward trend appeared, and differences by brand began to appear.
There was absolutely no strong player in the driver market. Along with TaylorMade, Callaway, and Ping, Xexio seemed to be tossing and turning. For the four years since 2013, when the Golf Brand Awards first started, Xexio took first place. Consumers have a perception that Xexio is the easiest club to play, regardless of age, gender, or handicap. Here, it was effective to appeal to senior golfers by keeping the high-end strategy well. In particular, for the past 10 years, Xexio has consistently maintained its No. 1 position in the women’s club category. In past amateur survey results, female respondents showed a higher preference for Xexio, and brand loyalty was also very high.
It was the TaylorMade All New M Family in 2017 that broke the chain of consecutive awards for the Xexio Driver. TaylorMade won first place in sales and amateur golfers’ preference, so it won the honor of winning the first place in a row until the M4 in 2018. In 2019, the confrontation between Callaway and Ping unfolded. Ping G410 took the lead in sales, but the Callaway Epic Flash, which was overwhelmingly ranked first in the preference of amateur golfers, took first place with a stable lead to the judges’ scores.
In 2020, the G410, the successor to the Ping G400, which became very popular with word of mouth among golfers, and in 2021, the G425 rose to the top and maintained its position as a strong driver. The Ping driver, which has been popular among many golfers for its long distance and forgiveness, has high expectations for the G430, which will be released as a 2023 model.
In the iron market, Japanese forged brands have been strong. In particular, Mizuno MX, JPX series and Bridgestone V300 series, which are traditionally known as forging masters, have been leading the market with fierce competition. From 2013 to 2018, the Mizuno MX and JPX series took first place in both sales rate and amateur golfer’s preference, showing the aspect of a ‘prestigious iron house’. Based on its own know-how on irons, it has consistently been a steady seller with excellent feel at impact, precise control performance, and forgiveness.
However, in 2019 and 2020, Xexio, which had been consistently chasing the top spot in the iron category, took the top spot, ahead of Mizuno in terms of sales volume and judges’ scores. The popularity of Xexio irons is interpreted as reflecting the absolute high purchase rate of female golfers, just like drivers.
In 2021 and this year, Bridgestone regained the title of ‘National Iron’ and climbed to the top. The V300 series has established itself as one of the representative irons that provide the taste of forged irons to a wide range of golfers, from beginners to intermediate to advanced players. In particular, the 7th generation V300 received the most enthusiastic response ever since the 3rd generation V300, which was released in 2011 and gained popularity.
The market for wedges is not as big as the market for irons. In addition, in the past, there were many cases where clubs included in iron sets with names such as A and S were simply used. Not many people buy separate wedges for each loft angle, such as 52, 54, 56, and 58 degrees. However, since the early 2010s, as the rumor that ‘if you use wedges well, you can save a lot of strokes’ has spread among amateur golfers, the demand to separately purchase wedges that suit you has begun to increase. In line with this, product manufacturers have started to develop wedge-specialized brands or develop new products, and now almost all brands are launching wedges.
However, over the past 10 years, the market has been divided between Cleveland and Titleist Vokey Design, which are considered ‘famous brands of wedges’, rather than new products emerging. In 2013, 2014, and 2016, the Cleveland 588 RTX took the grand prize in the wedge category, while the Titleist Vokey Design SM series won the award in a row from 2017 to 2020, including 2015. Then, in 2021, the Cleveland RTX Zip Core, which reflected 19 grooves compared to regular wedges with 17 grooves, recaptured the top spot. 안전놀이터
Both brands are based on excellent performance, and Cleveland RTX has the advantage of being popular and reasonable price, while Titleist Vokey Design has high brand value and active marketing for players. Undisputed No. 1, Odyssey for putters and Titleist for golf balls There is a category that has maintained its No. 1 position for the past 10 years. Odyssey putters and Titleist golf balls. While Titleist maintained its undisputed No. 1 spot in amateur golfers’ preference surveys with both brands ranking first in sales every year, the battle for second place was fierce. From 2015 to 2018, Callaway Chromesoft and Volvik Vivid competed fiercely for the second place, but in 2019, Bridgestone Tour B, which became a hot topic after being used by Tiger Woods, came to mind. As a result, in the ‘golf ball triangle’ composition of Titleist, Callaway, and Volvik, Volvik is missing and Bridgestone is taking its place.
Rangefinders that have become essential items, simple and reasonable golf watches are popular
From the latter half of 2010, accessories such as caddy bags and Boston bags, as well as IT devices and practice tools, began to grow. In particular, from 2018, as the market for rangefinders grew, awareness among golfers that it was a necessity increased, so a new rangefinder division was established. The throne in the rangefinder category has been defended by Voice Caddy’s golf watch T series. In terms of laser rangefinders alone, Bushnell is ahead in terms of sales volume and amateur golfers’ preference, but Voice Caddy is ahead in both sales volume and usage rate when including the GPS watch type. In particular, the Voice Caddy T series is a GPS watch type, which is easier to carry and use than the laser type, and has a high sales volume every year because it is reasonably priced.