Tennis Racquet Sales at Specialty Stores Slow Down in Early 2023

July 6, 2023

Unit sales of tennis racquets in specialty tennis stores dropped by 7% in the first quarter of 2023, compared to the same period a year ago, reports Sports Marketing Surveys USA. Despite this, the market remains strong compared to the pre-pandemic period.

In fact, total first-quarter growth compared to 2019 stands at 18%. January and February sales were particularly strong this year compared to the pre-pandemic year, important indicators for creating a year-round market for tennis goods.

This has been achieved despite inflationary pressure.

Just over a third of all unit sales at specialty stores were for racquets between $200 to $249.99, with over 10% of racquets selling for over $250 between January and March 2023, reports SMS.

This reflects market dynamics at this time of year – when buyers tend to be core tennis players including those playing through the winter rather than purchasing racquets as holiday gifts or for summer participation. But it also shows industry success in raising racquet prices in line with inflation without pricing out consumers. In 2019, before the pandemic, only 35% of racquets sold in Q1 were sold at $200 or higher. Four years later, that percentage has nearly reached 50% of the market.

The new influx of tennis players also appears to have stimulated competition in the market. Before the pandemic, 90% of specialty store racquet sales were of the three biggest brands in the market but as of Q1 2023, that figure stands at under 80%.

Sports Marketing Surveys USA’s Adam Hile, said: “While there will understandably be some disappointment that tennis racquet sales have dipped compared to 2022, this is not unexpected. The key indicator for the market was always going to be how many of the surging participant population remain engaged in tennis, and sales above and beyond the pandemic are a good sign that this is holding up well. It’s also natural that many of those who have come into the sport have not yet reached the point of replacing their first racquet, so there was always likely to be some drop off in overall unit sales. Rising average prices in Q1 suggest that plenty of those who are buying are now shopping towards the top end of the market, having perhaps built up their skills and play frequency over the last two years. There are so many great tennis racquets on the market, and that’s reflected in the appetite for racquets manufactured by various brands.”

The figures come from the TIA Specialty Store Retail Audit, powered by Sports Marketing Surveys USA, which tracks sales of tennis goods through specialty stores across America on a monthly basis.