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The Dominant Brands in Squash - An Impending Shift?

It was not too long ago that the world of squash was struggling to get into the Olympics. Back then, squash had failed multiple times in their bid to get into the world's most esteemed sporting events. However, it was also back then that a few brands dominated the squash markets: namely Prince (Yes, Prince), Dunlop, Head, Wilson and most recently, Tecnifibre. They were the aristocrats of the squash world. When parents bought squash rackets for their children, either as start-up equipment or Christmas presents, they had to make sure it had to be one of the aforementioned brands. Otherwise, their children will feel too ashamed to wield their "weapons" in front of their friends. Back then. if you owned a Prince Speedport Black, a Wilson Hammer or a Dunlop Ultimate, you would be the envy of your fellow court mates. And, these brands could thrive based on the profits from the squash markets alone.

Those were all until the pandemic struck, graphite, which is the predominant material in producing a squash racket, had become scarce in the world. Multiple sports, and even other industries like automobile and electronics. were fighting over this valuable resource. And, squash, being the little market of the world, was struggling to get hold of graphite. Many sports manufacturers who got hold of graphite, prefer to use them to make other more popular sports products such as badminton rackets, tennis rackets, paddle bats, pickleball bats and even bicycles. Squash was left behind. Due to this, supply was limited and prices shot up by 10% to 30%. Customers used to be able to purchase a top Harrow or Tecnifibre squash racket for USD99, but now they have to pay about USD145 for it. The same applied to other renowned squash brands. 

At a time when most economies around the world are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, having to pay up to 30% more for squash rackets is considered a massive burden. As a results, many squash consumers either choose to delay the purchase of new rackets or decide to go for cheaper alternatives. Therefore, they will use their previous budget e.g USD99 to buy mid-range rackets instead. For top brands such as Harrow, Tecnifibre, Dunlop and Head, this means that their mid-range rackets are now more sellable than before. Models such as Tecnifibre Carboflex Heritage, Dunlop Apex Infinity and Head Extreme 120 are now in higher demand. In addition, lower-tier brands such as Karakal, Apacs, Oliver, etc benefit from the shift in purchasing pattern. 

In fact, in the near future, we will see the emergence of more value-for-money brands in the squash markets. Not only is this due to the increase in the prices of premium squash brands, but also because of the inclusion of squash in the 2028 LA Olympics. Squash's popularity worldwide is expected to accelerate rapidly within the next few years. This is evidenced in the growth of squash in the United States and China in particular. More courts are being built and more people are involved in the sports nowadays. When parents consider enrolling their children in sports, squash will now be a candidate in their minds. Moreover, more adults will also learn the sports due to its increased exposure both online and off-line. 

In short, the future of squash is bright but what products consumers choose to buy, might also be different from before. Squash brands that were little known before, might just emerge from darkness and illuminate the world of squash in the near future.