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4 Bowling Equipment Must-Haves in 2024

A bowling alley with bowling balls

The world of bowling is evolving fast, and 2024 is set to see more customers chasing strikes and spares anymore. Whether it’s seasoned league champions looking to perfect their game or weekend warriors having fun, the right bowling equipment can give customers the edge they need to dominate the lanes. In this article, we’ll break down the top bowling gear  in 2024.

Table of Contents
An overview of the global bowling equipment market
Fantastic bowling equipment to stock in 2024
Final words

An overview of the bowling equipment market

The bowling equipment market was worth $943.4 million in 2022 and is anticipated to reach $1.46 billion by 2023, registering a 4.5% CAGR over the forecast period. The market owes its promising expansion to the growing popularity of bowling in various regions as well as an increasing interest in the sport among millennials specifically.

North America is the leading regional market, generating $295 million in 2022 and holding 31.3% of the market share. And because of bowling’s popularity among millennials and women in this region, it is likely to remain dominant over the forecast period.

Fantastic bowling equipment to stock in 2024

Bowling bags

A bag with three bowling balls

Serious and casual bowlers look to bowling bags to transport their valuable bowling balls and accessories. Coming in various styles such as totes and rollers, they feature padded compartments and pockets to help prevent scratches, dings, and damage during transport. They also have dedicated pockets for holding shoes, towels, wrist braces, and other accessories.

As technology advances, bowling bag materials have also received some upgrades in recent years. Lighter, more durable, and weather-resistant fabrics have become a big hit, making bags easier to transport without sacrificing protection. Some manufacturers also emphasize the use of eco-friendly options made from recycled or sustainable materials.

A single ball bowling bag

Bowling bag designs are especially diverse, catering to individual preferences, including ergonomic designs that allow them to provide better weight distribution and injury prevention. Some even come with smart features like integrated USB ports.

According to Google data, bowling bags attracted 22,200 searches in March 2024. To ensure full coverage, invest in a range of styles and sizes to appeal to various bowlers. A general rule of thumb in terms of styles is that totes are for casual bowlers or quick games, multi-ball rollers are for serious competitors, and unique designs are for those looking for increased personalization.

Wrist supports

Hand wearing wrist support holding a bowling ball

Wrist supports aid bowlers primarily by keeping their wrists in stronger, more reliable positions during the release of the ball. This assistance can also lead to more consistent shots, enhanced ball control, and increased power.

Wrist supports cater to a wide range of bowlers, such as beginners struggling with wrist control, experienced bowlers looking to refine their release, and seniors, those with wrist limitations, or bowlers returning from injury wanting better support.

Retailers should aim to offer a range of wrist support styles to boost inventory attractiveness, providing simple braces for basic support or adjustable ones for custom fits. Advanced models with articulated angles or locking mechanisms are also popular among high-level players.

Man wearing wrist support in a bowling alley

While the core functions of wrist supports remain the same in 2024, focus is shifting towards greater comfort, customization, and integration with technology. New wrist support models use breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics for better comfort during long bowling sessions. They also utilize new compression materials that provide support without feeling bulky. Some models even go as far as to integrate sensors to provide feedback on wrist position during practice.

Wrist support has gained a noticeable increase in interest this year. There were 90,500 searches in January compared with 110,000 in March 2024—an impressive 20% increase in two months.

Thumb tapes

Man using thumb tape next to a bowling ball

Bowling tapes allow bowlers to make micro-adjustments to hole fit for added comfort or reduced chance of slipping. Thumb tapes are also important for safety, reducing swelling during play by adding a layer of protection between the user’s skin and the ball’s surface.

Thumb tapes come in two main variants: thumb inserts and protection tapes. Thumb insert tapes are used to modify the size and feel of a ball’s thumb hole, either via textured or smooth (slide tape) tapes. Both come in a huge variety of colors.

Man putting thumb tape in a bowling ball

Protection tapes, meanwhile, come in three categories, with a  focus on skin protection and comfort rather than ball control. Beige tape offers moderate thickness to provide cushioning and some blister reduction. It has a somewhat sticky feel, meaning it provides some release control.

Hada patches are thinner, smoother medical-grade tapes that excel in blister prevention. Their design also promote faster thumb releases. Finally, protection tapes offer targeted cushioning on problem areas, such as calluses, for better performance. All thumb tapes come in pre-cut shapes, like ovals or teardrops for improved application.

Google data shows that thumn tapes received 6,600 searches in March 2024, an increase of 20% from 5,600 searches in January.

Shammy towels

A black shammy towel hanging from a bowling rack

Shammy towels are a humble but essential bowling accessory, helping to maintain the ball’s glide for added game consistency. These cloths are used to wipe oil and moisture from bowling balls, which may otherwise alter their trajectory and grip on the lane. For this reason, they are key for preventing inconsistent throws, even for casual bowlers.

Typically, towels come in either classic, genuine leather, which is great at absorbing oil and is especially durable, or synthetic alternatives. These are often made of highly absorbent microfibers or other specialized blends.

A yellow shammy towel near some bowling balls

Shammies have also moved beyond the classic rectangle shape, now coming in ovals or even varieties with finger holes, for a better grip. Retailers may also consider offering personalization by offering different colors, patterns, and custom printing options.

Final words

While the ball is certainly crucial in hitting those high figures, smaller accessories also have an important role to play. Tools such as high-performance shammies, versatile thumb tapes, impressive wrist supports, and helpful bowling bags can help to optimize the bowling experience, giving them the edge to strike with every turn.

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