Industry association survey reveals healthy industry that is expected to grow

Triathletes refuse to cut back on spending

Despite the economic downturn, triathletes are maintaining or increasing their spent on triathlon kit, according to the latest annual survey from the Triathlon Industry Association (TIA).

Expenditure on the sport in the UK is now worth more than £192million, the survey said, with the average price spent on a bike being £1,650. 81 per cent of respondents purchased their last road or triathlon bike within the last three years, with almost two thirds purchasing in 2011 or 2012.

Speaking to BikeBiz, MultiSport Research MD Gary Roethenbaugh said that the survey revealed a healthy future for the sector. He said: “One thing that came out was the increased future spending at retail. We do see an expectation that the market will grow. A third of athletes expected to increase their spend, with their discretionary spend expected to grow ten to 20 per cent. Two thirds said they expect to spend the same or more.”

The headline £192m figure doesn’t include expenditure on tri-related travel, club membership, mag subscriptions or similar. Event participation is in rude health, Roethenbaugh added: “There’s a good number of new starters getting into triathlon, buying bikes and swim suits, etc. Anecdotally races are filling up quicker and there are more races being put on. There are a lot of competing events in the UK now as there are in the US, but we’re not quite at that saturation point as they are in the States.”

According to the survey, which was completed by 3,800 respondents, the average age was 40 and the average salary was £45,000. That demographic was cited as a key reason behind the rude health of the market.
Roethenbaugh told BikeBiz: “I don’t think triathlon is really avoiding the downturn, it’s challenging for most people out there.

“Ultimately everyone is under pressure, but triathlon spend is something people don’t like to cut out. There’s the secret spend factor, where partners are not told about how much things cost. The demographic is strong too – including a lot of high earners on more than the average UK wage.

“All combined, their future bike spend was 27 per cent up – many are on the bike upgrade path – for bikes and apparel. They want quality.”

The TIA is planning to roll out its next survey in the final weeks of December, running into the first few weeks of the New Year, this time with a key focus on how triathlon retains – or puts off – participants and customers. Increasing survey participation through prizes and support of TIA members and media will be an aim too.

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