Are Millennials Shunning Golf or Sports Activity?
Much has been said and written about the fact that Millennials (or MEs, kind of an appropriate acronym given that their world is pretty much about....them) aren't adopting or embracing the sport of golf at the same level as preceding generations. We've previously documented that fact in multiple State of the Industry presentations by looking at the participation rates of the current 18-34 year olds vs. when the Baby Boomers were in what we call the Early Career lifestage. From the industry Chamber of Commerce, the NGF likes to point out the number of Millennials who participate in golf, the annual attraction figures (the front door) and the "latent demand" (interested in playing) among this generation. I'll leave it to you which of those approaches you prefer to embrace to define Millennials' affinity to our game...
Being an analyst by nature and inherently curious about other ways to approach and assess Millennial engagement with our sport, I turned my attention to something which I don't believe has been previously addressed which are the following aspects of Millennials and golf:
- The media says that lower participation in sports is reflective of lower levels of physical activity; is that supported by any quantitative analysis or is that an anecdotal assumption?
- Is lower Millennial golf participation a "fair share" reduction or are they shunning golf at a disproportionate rate relative to other sports/activities?
- If we look at the gender splits among MEs, are the participant levels and trends similar between genders relative to other benchmarks or is there divergence between ME males and females as it relates to golf and peer sports?
Given that our participation data, via our longstanding relationship with the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) from whom we license both the golf and all sports figures, stretches back considerably and provides annual breakouts for age and gender (cross-tabbed, for the analytically-inclined reading this), this is an answerable question. One compiled spreadsheet and several hours later, the answers were a mix of predictable and surprising. Turns out to be a dual-edged sword; there's an increased number of ME annual participants in what I've selected as the proxy for physical activity (the universe of 5 activities within NSGA's Fitness subgroup) but that's being driven by the fact that there are significantly more people in the ME age cohort in '16 than back in '10. That's all I'm going to tell you, for the rest of the story and the supporting facts you'll have to pony up for a subscription (either annual or single issue; take a chance, there's got to be at least a couple topics of interest over a 12 month subscription to make your $130 investment worth it and you can cancel at any time if I disappoint!).
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