Industry Analysis for 3M Greptile Golf GloveFitness Equipment
The golf industry is a growing one, with a worth of approximately $300 million worldwide, with $160 million in America alone (Kerin et.al 2006). In recent times, golf has become an increasingly popular: a sport that is played for various purposes (e.g. recreational, professional, and business).
According to ‘Golf Digest’ (2005), there are approximately 32,000 golf courses in the world. In addition, The Golf Research Group (2006) reports that there has been an increase of about 7,000 new courses since 2005, with courses in 119 countries: there are about 56 million golfers in the United States of America, who constitute 59% of the golf market worldwide.
As a result, the increased number of golf courses and people who play golf has contributed to the flourishing international trade in golf goods worth about $2 billion per annum (The Golf Research Group, 2006). This growing trend has led to the increase of golf related industries like golf clubs, gloves, shoes, and even tourism in the form of specialized golf vacation packages and the development of many luxury golf resorts and clubs.
Golf Glove Industry
In the United States alone, the golf glove industry is worth about $180 million, which constitutes to 60% of the overall industry worldwide. With the popularity of golf, the golf glove industry has also benefited, creating an opportunity for 3M to enter the golf glove industry with the Greptile Grip Golf Glove which provides golfers’ with a better gripping function. (Kerin et.al 2006)
Major competitors in the golf glove industry include FootJoy, Titleist and Bionic. Both FootJoy and Titleist have a total of about 50% of the market share.
FootJoy is one of the strongest competitors ranks number one in the golf shoe and glove industry. The company sponsors golf tours such as the Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA), European and Champions tour, increasing its brand awareness and brand recognition amongst potential consumers. By enlisting professional golfers, such as Scott Verplank, to be the company’s opinion leaders representing their products, FootJoy is able to establish a strong brand image and equity. Ultimately being a recognized as an industry leader, adopting successful marketing strategies such as segmenting their target market into men, women and juniors (younger players. Strong customer relationships are maintained by providing customer services in the form of shoe and glove fittings, warranties, repairs and information on dealer locations. (http://www.footjoy.com).
The second strongest competitor is Titleist, which like FootJoy is a subsidiary of the Acushnet Company. Hence, Titleist focuses its operations and resources into developing golf balls and clubs, while FootJoy focuses on developing golf shoes and gloves. By doing so, both companies are able to create complementary products at lower costs. As such, this creates high barriers to entry into the golf equipment market, making it difficult for 3M to successfully penetrate the golf glove industry. Titleist’s marketing strategy to expand their market overseas has also been successful, as they have managed to penetrate the market in Britain, Canada, France, Japan and South Korea. However, Titleist has one weakness: the focus on ensuring that they produce a golf glove that has a comfortable fit (http://www.titleist.com/). This provides an opportunity for 3M due to the Greptile glove providing better gripping technology for an improved swing. Therefore, Greptile gloves can be seen as superior to Titleist gloves in terms of greater focus on gripping technology, coupled with the provision of comfortable golf gloves.
Lastly, Bionic can be seen as a strong competitor of 3M, because Bionic’s gloves incorporate the anatomy of the palm, fingers and thumbs, to create relief pads that even out gripping surface. This consequently allows for a lighter grip that helps promote increased swing speed and added distance. This technology can be perceived as being similar to 3M’s Greptile Grip technology, which may be indistinguishable to consumers. Furthermore Bionic gloves were the first gloves to earn the Ease-of-Use Commendation by the Arthritis Foundation, whichs poses a threat to 3M due to this competitive advantage. As a result of this, 3M must ensure that it adopts strategies that emphasize the positive points and differences of the Greptile gloves in comparison to Bionic gloves. 3M can also attempt to improve their product further and gain similar recognition to compete with Bionic gloves. (http://www.bionicgloves.com/tech/).
3M Datamonitor www.datamonitor.com
3M, 2007, Greptile gripping material, viewed on 3 may 2007, < http://solutions.3m.com/ wps/portal/3M/en_US/Greptile/Home/Greptile/Technology>
Kamberg, ML, 2005, Are you on the right course?, WIB, May/June pg.7
Bionic, 2007, The Importance of Anatomy, viewed on 7 may 2007, < http://www. bionicgloves.com/tech>
Footjoy, 2007, Footjoy Customer Service, viewed on 7 may 2007, < http://www.footjoy. com/customerservice/default.asp>
Golf Digest, 2007, Courses and Travel, viewed on 11 may 2007, <http://www.golfdigest. com/planetgolf>
Kerin, R, Hartley, S, Berkowitz, E & Rudelius W, 2006, Marketing, 8th edn, McGraw-Hil Irwin, Americas, New York
Titleist, 2007, Technology, viewed on 7 may 2007, < http://www.titleist.com/technology/ indefense.asp >
The Golf Research Group (2006), viewed on 25 April 2007, <http://www.golf-research-group.com/reports/report/index.asp?id=3>