Core Participants: The Focus of SGMA's New Sports Participation Study

The heart and soul of the sporting goods industry can be found among its core participants. That’s the underlying theme of SGMA’s 2007 Sports & Fitness Participation Report which is based on the new USA Sports Participation Study.
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Washington, D.C. - May 15, 2007 - The heart and soul of the sporting goods industry can be found among its core participants. That's the underlying theme of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association's (SGMA) 2007 Sports & Fitness Participation Report which is based on the new USA Sports Participation Study. Improving on previous reports, this SGMA study showcases participation at the core level which focuses on those engaged in sports, fitness, and recreational activities on a regular or a frequent basis.

According to SGMA's findings, fitness activities and team sports have a very loyal legion of core participants. In fact, of the 27 fitness activities listed, core participants represent more than 50% of total participants in 16 of them. Of the 22 team sports in the report, core participants represent more than 50% of total participants in 14 of them.

This year's SGMA Sports & Fitness Participation Report has overall participation figures for 86 sports in eight different categories (aerobic activities, conditioning activities, strength activities, individual sports, racquet sports, team sports, outdoor sports, and water sports). Additional participation figures for 27 activities (outdoor sports, snow sports and water sports) will be released in early June.

“In the sporting goods industry, core participants are people whose lifestyles reflect their recreational and athletic interests,” said SGMA President/CEO Tom Cove. “They consistently buy sporting goods, keep tabs on product innovation, pay gym fees, play in competitive tournaments, and participate in local recreation leagues.”

According to the SGMA Sports & Fitness Participation Report, fitness is the dominant participation category as fitness activities account for 11 out of the top 15 athletic pursuits – based on core participation.

While the fitness trend is dominating the participation scene, sales of exercise equipment are also strong. According to SGMA's Manufacturers Sales by Category report, the wholesale size of the exercise equipment category (at wholesale) in the U.S. was $4.7 billion in 2006 – the largest group in the sporting goods equipment category.

As far as total participation is concerned, the five sports in the U.S. with the largest participation base are walking for fitness (100.3 million), bowling (54.3 million), treadmills (49.8 million), billiards/pool (47.0 million), and hand weights (45.2 million).
This year's study has been done as a joint effort of the newly formed USA Sports & Fitness Participation Study, a collaboration of sports associations that have been doing participation research separately for a number of years: the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, the National Golf Foundation, the Snowsports Industries America and the Outdoor Industry Foundation.

Complimentary copies of the SGMA Sports & Fitness Participation Report (2007 edition) are available from www.sgma.com.

The 2007 research has been conducted via the Internet, after many years of fielding via mail surveys. The study – the largest online study of sports participation in the U.S. -- has a sample size of 60,000 individuals, fielded by Synovate, a leading market research firm. The core section of the survey measured number of days played, first-time participation, venue, dropout rates and travel-to-play factors.

The online methodology allows for re-contacting specific groups of sports participants such as frequent runners or home gym users for follow-up consumer targeted research. Individuals who have recently stopped playing or participating can also be targeted for follow-up interviews. This provides the opportunity for companies to develop deeper consumer research in areas including brand tracking, point-of-purchase influences, purchase frequencies and usage/attitude studies.

Companies will also have the ability to do PRIZM analysis, a lifestyle segmentation system consisting of 66 unique marketing segments intended to help marketers better understand and target their customers. The segments are derived through a statistical analysis of several factors, including age, income, presence of children and ‘urbanicity.'

SGMA, the trade association of leading industry sports and fitness brands, enhances industry vitality and fosters sports and fitness participation through research, thought leadership, product promotion and public policy. SGMA produces signature industry events including the Spring Market trade show, Sports + Technology Convergence, Industry Leaders Summit and National Health-through-Fitness Day on Capitol Hill. More information about SGMA membership and SGMA's Sports Research Partnership can be found at www.sgma.com.

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