UK Triathlon Market Continues Double Digit Growth Path

The sport of triathlon continues to surge in popularity, with the Triathlon Industry Association (TIA) confirming another year of double digit growth in the UK, up 14% year on year. Having completed its third UK Annual Triathlete Survey, the TIA has quantified revenue generated by the UK’s multisport community at £363 million for 2014.

The 14% uplift in 2014 builds upon the previous year’s rise of 12% in 2013. All categories generated growth in 2014, driven by a rise in triathlete numbers alongside new product introductions and marketing initiatives.

With a population of 130,000 active racing triathletes, the average total spend per person was calculated as £2,790.

Five category areas were ahead of the total UK market growth figure of +14% in 2014. These were respectively wetsuits, bikes, club memberships, sports nutrition and multisport accessories.

Boosted by an increase in average spend per bike, bikes took the largest share (23%) of the total tri market in 2014. Bike frames, wheels, parts, bike & tri accessories and, increasingly, servicing and bike fit, came in as the second largest ‘revenue bucket’. This was followed by triathlon events, travel & accommodation combined.

In terms of newcomers to the sport, as identified in previous years, the majority of triathletes (54%) came from a running background – and as running itself is flourishing, this is encouraging for triathlon going forwards. In tandem, road cycling (23%) has also started to build a role as an area from which athletes migrate into multisport.

The number of women getting into the sport was noticeably up on last year. Compared to an overall average of 28% of triathletes, 33% of new starters in 2014 were women.

The third TIA Annual Triathlete Survey was conducted in the first quarter 2015, with detailed responses received from over 4,300 triathletes. Coupled with this, follow-up trade interviews helped pinpoint the extent of triathlon spend in 2014.

The 100-page report was produced for TIA by independent research company, MultiSport Research. The report analyses market value in 2012-2014, with additional insights on triathletes’ participation and lifestyle. There is a full exploration of expenditure levels, brands purchased, demographics and a triathlete segmentation tracking the variances in terms of time spent in the sport.

Gary Roethenbaugh, Managing Director of MultiSport Research, the author of the report for the TIA said, “Overall, triathlon has maintained a strong footing in the face of competition from the likes of obstacle racing and other mass participation events.

“Once hooked on the sport, triathletes continue to demonstrate a constant desire to improve. This in turn drives innovation within the industry – with triathletes keen to invest training time and money to build on that all important race day performance.”

Nick Rusling, Chairman of TIA added, “Triathlon can be seen by runners and other athletes as a solo sport. Yet, one of triathlon’s virtues is its community of athletes; and the sense of community provides a real welcome to new participants.”

The TIA, which comprises event organisers, equipment manufacturers, tour operators, retailers, distributors and media, has worked in conjunction with the British Triathlon Federation to compile its research findings which extend to all areas of a triathlete’s lifestyle and expenditure.

A full copy of the data study is available to TIA members. For new membership enquiries, visit: www.triathlonindustryassociation.org.

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