The Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) has been awarded a Sport England lottery award to fund an extensive new market research project.
It aims to help Sport England and the overall industry to gain a better understanding of the outdoor physical activity market to effectively retain existing participants and attract new regular participants to the outdoors.
The initial phase of the project will be completed by January 2015, with findings communicated industry wide. It will pull together existing research and emerging activity to provide in-depth market analysis, which will be used to identify market gaps and opportunities within the outdoor sector.
The OIA has been working with Sport England for a number of years, previously securing a Britain on Foot grant via the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), and most recently helping the National Trust and the Forestry Commission to gain project funding to increase outdoor activity on their grounds.
Both of these research projects have indicated the potential of the outdoor market to increasing sports participation amongst a wide variety of consumer groups. Emerging insights include:
- 24 million adults regularly visit the outdoors (MENE Survey, 2012-2013). 885,000 of these adults regularly take part in ‘adventure sports’ in the outdoors (APS7)
- A large market of cross-sport consumers who want to experience a range of outdoor sports
- New target audiences: like explorer families, thrill seekers and silver surfers
- Gateway sports like cycling and running that can incentivise participation in other sports
- The health and sporting benefits of green and blue space
- The potential of informal sport linked to social experience (often aided by technology)
- Discovering sport (accidentally) in the outdoors environment can lead to a regular sporting habit
Michael Bennett of specialist outdoor communications consultancy Pelican Communications said: “This will be another vital piece of evidence in building an ever stronger case to demonstrate the social and environmental benefits of getting more people outdoors.”
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