Gloucester based Stewart Golf grows internationally as it shrugs off pandemic

Golf bags

The Gloucester based golf trolley designer and manufacturer Stewart Golf is celebrating strong international growth, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Based in Quedgeley, the company tripled its exports to the US during the pandemic due to the increase in demand for golf accessories and equipment as courses remained open in the states.

Mark Stewart, CEO of Stewart Golf said: “Golf as a sport has been one of the beneficiaries through COVID as it’s naturally social distanced and takes place outdoors, so equipment sales have really gone through the roof. We sold all our stock in about six weeks from March 2020.”

This latest achievement has built on two years of strong growth.

Earlier this year, Stewart Golf revealed that business had almost doubled in size last year.

The company saw total sales increase by 93 per cent. Against a backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic, many golfers took to the fairways for exercise and light relief. For a number of golf courses, walking the course was the only option and this helped lead to an unprecedented surge in demand for trolleys.

Stewart Golf built 65 per cent more of its iconic X Series electric trolleys than in 2019 (including the industry leading X9 Follow), and production of the R1-S Push increased by 51 per cent. The company also successfully launched the new Q Follow to critical acclaim after four years of design and development.

The fact that Stewart Golf builds its machines by hand in Great Britain meant that it was able to react to the surge in demand rather than wait for the next container to arrive from the Far East. Staff numbers at Stewart Golf have increased by more than 50 per cent to facilitate this growth, and that number grew further during the year as the company continued to build on its momentum. The  factory expanded by 50 per cent to 10,000 sq ft.

While UK sales grew by 33 per cent, exports soared and now account for almost 75 per cent of sales. Stewart Golf sold to 45 countries throughout the world last year including the USA, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, and South Korea. European sales also increased by 16 per cent despite Brexit uncertainty throughout the year.

There were also key decisions that were made before the pandemic which contributed to its USA success and the Department for International Trade (DIT) supported the company to set up in the US, introducing the team to a third-party logistics company there.

Mark Stewart originalMark said: “We wouldn’t have been able to launch into the US without the contact provided by the DIT.

“Being part of the Export Champion community has also been really valuable because we have support from other exporters and can learn from other businesses.”

The company is now being supported by DIT to further grow its exports in the market through accessing funding to visit the US and focus on its marketing strategy there.

The company’s success comes as data reveals exports to the US have increased by approximately 9.6 per cent since 2016. The US was also the UK’s largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2021 accounting for 16.7 per cent of total UK trade, demonstrating a very strong trade connection between the two countries.

Paul Shand, Head of Trade for DIT in the South West said:  “Stewart Golf’s success highlights the strong demand for high-quality UK goods and services overseas, and it’s great to see them thriving during a challenging time for business.

“Trade will play an important role in getting our economy back on track and these companies are a great example of how companies can look to lucrative overseas markets to boost their sales whilst creating more jobs.”