New research from UK consumer market analyst Mintel, which is published today in its report on 'Sports Participation', shows that some sixty per cent of the country's adults claim to be regular sporting participants. This activity has pushed the sports goods market up by around a £1 billion pounds since 1994, from £2.695 billion in 1994 to £3.610 billion in 2000.

The sports clothing market is buoyant too, and is now estimated to be worth nearly £1.9 billion per annum. The most dynamic sector of the market in the last decade was replica football kits, although a flood of negative publicity on the aggressive marketing undertaken by major football clubs to encourage loyal fans to purchase more than one kit a season has now caused the market flatten out. Sales of other replica kits ― notably cricket and rugby have been increasing ― although the report suggests that these represent just a small proportion of the total market. Golf accounts for the largest sector of the sports equipment market by value.

"Although tight trading conditions have prevailed in the UK high street in recent times, the industry reports a good level of sales and orders with the present economic upswing encouraging demand for top-of-the range goods," comments Jackie Robson, leisure consultant.
Other significant findings from the 1,984 adults questioned were that sporting participants are more likely to be male, with over two in three participating regularly compared to just over 50 per cent of women. There is also a strong correlation with age, with more than eight in ten 15-24 year olds participating regularly, in comparison with almost one in three of those aged 65 and over. Regionally, regular participation is greatest in the south and Scotland (65%), and lowest in south west/Wales (52%).

Of the activities themselves, swimming is most popular, with nearly one in four participating regularly. Regular participation in football seems to be gaining popularity slowly but steadily, with almost 20% of males participating. By contrast, racket sports are losing some popularity, in particular badminton and squash.

Mintel International Group Ltd has been established for almost 30 years and now enjoys a reputation as one of the UK's leading analyst of any consumer market. Products include the current range of over 500 UK market reports, monitoring of product launches around the world and a number of tailored research services.