Triathlon market study shows healthy spend growth and steady participation

The Triathlon Industry Association’s fourth annual study has shown market spend growth of 15%, worth around £417.5 million.

Averaging age 42 and with a salary just shy of £49,000, the estimated 140,000 people participating are spending more than ever on coaching, overseas travel and fitness gear. Accounting for 220,000 race starts, that demographic is both a positive and cause for concern for the market, with a 9% drop in participation in those aged under 40.

With this in mind, the study analysed social media usage, finding Strava to have overtaken Twitter as the market’s second most used platform, behind Facebook. This, says the non-profit TIA, is potentially an avenue in which to engage younger millennials.

A further survey of 5,072 athletes, including trade interviews, showed women’s participation is flat at 28%, while spend tends to lean toward gym memberships and overseas racing, as opposed to male’s interest in hardware. Overall around 59% of triathletes are believed to have a gym or health club memebrship.

Nick Rusling, Chairman of the TIA comments: “Our annual study is invaluable in helping us to build an ever-clearer picture of the triathlon community in order that we can continue to grow our sport and its associated businesses. On the one hand it is very encouraging to see our core audience grow and become more engaged with everything the sport has to offer, but we must also reflect on the challenges we face and collectively develop campaigns to address them. The competition to attract the millennial audience is fierce, so triathlon needs to up its game to remain front of mind.”

Jack Buckner, Chief Executive of British Triathlon adds: “The Rio year is tremendously important to triathlon as it represents the sport’s biggest shop window and our greatest chance to attract new people to the sport. We have plans in place to leverage the momentum that the Games will bring to raise awareness of the pathways we are creating into the sport, like GO TRI and the Triathlon Trust’s work creating more children’s triathlons.”

Read more on the TIA’s findings here.