First I intended to write about Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, then I came across with HSBC's report on golf's future. In general there are no big surprises in this report:
- the shift towards Asia;
- In China and in India golf is a symbol of status: yes, this what characterizes emerging markets, where if you want to sell luxury products. There is steady boost in demand for luxury products in China. In India this hindered little bit by import duties. Personally, I would see more secure future in 2020, if common men will be able to play as well. Check out McKinsey's global cities of the future report. There are only 4 hotspots in India vs 6 in China.
- More female golfers: It would be great to see on what statistics this is based and who are these women. To my surprise, although the biggest workforce gender cap is in South Korea, South Koreans are currently a dominant force in women's golf. China must be a great opportunity for women golfers, as it is one of the countries in the world with the highest female labor participation rate of 74%. We can do more for women's golf if we make it more affordable to those who are not earning as good as those who are in top management. At the very same time Asian Development Bank and International Labor Organization are reporting about women in Asia are still facing discrimination, wage parity and choice of work.
- It will be a nice challenge to get the attention of the 600+ million middle class consumers and meet their expecations. These people are still not wealthy enough. My assumption that they are younger than people in same class in Europe.
- How will Asian golf courses attract more golfers in a region where people are working far more than we in Europe or in North America? I think this can lead to either to emerge of playing on 9 hole golf courses (or even smaller golf courses) or golf simulators (for the same reason as we are going to gym instead of running in a park/nature) or playing with Wii or Kinect. The best case probably will be the one where play on shorter golf courses.
- Cultural gaps and challenges. As China is very close to lead the world. I can imagine a scenario, when Chineses/Asians will say that it is enough from foreign games and let's try our traditional games and sports. Can this happen? If yes, then when?