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ACTIVE Network And SGMA Reveal Secrets To Inspiring A More Active America

ACTIVE Network and the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association (SGMA) today released the “2012 Grassroots Sports Participation Study Executive Summary,” a preview of a three-part study they jointly conducted to understand the driving forces behind activity and sports participation and inspire a healthier population.

According to the 2012 Sports, Fitness and Recreational Activities Participation study from the Physical Activity Council, 68.2 million Americans are completely inactive. Conversely, ACTIVE Network knows people want to be more fit—according to its 2012 Consumer Segmentation study, 81 percent of the U.S. population desires to be active in some way. Yet, it’s clear that a large portion of this group has yet to act on this desire.

“Americans want to be more active, but have a hard time prioritizing activity,” said Kristin Carroll, vice president of corporate and consumer marketing at ACTIVE Network. “We have taken a very comprehensive look at what motivates sports participation and what drives people to dropout. With this study, we aim to provide a roadmap to demonstrate how parents, activity organizers and sporting goods manufacturers can take action to help create a more active America.”

The Youth/Teen and Adult studies shed light on the key motivators and blockers that lead people to both start and cease participation in sports and activities, examines how parents, organizers and manufacturers can encourage activity and provides a framework for these three groups to capitalize on consumer sentiment throughout the participation journey. Some key findings and insights include:

  • Fun is a chief motivating factor for youths and teens, with 92 and 88 percent of respondents, respectively, pointing to fun as their reason for participating. However, less than 33 percent of adult respondents selected fun as a motivator for health or fitness. Adults are downplaying fun in their activities and are much less active as a result.
  • Adults must become more active to inspire future generations—the data shows a direct correlation between the number of activities parents participate in and the number of sports and activities in which their children are involved. For example, 85 percent of parents with children participating in two or more activities indicated they participate in six sports or activities themselves.
  • Key blockers for starting and continuing activities in adulthood is a lack of social support and “other priorities”—35 percent of respondents indicated that not knowing anyone else doing an activity limited their desire to participate. This data underscores a key opportunity for activity organizers to grow participation by making events more inherently social—and more fun.
  • Adults aren't committing their pocketbooks to actual participation—youth spending on event registration and facility fees is 20% greater than spending on apparel and footwear combined. Adult spending is the opposite, however. This report shows that while the adult apparel and footwear market is certainly crowded, it isn’t translating to more active Americans.

“This report provides keen insights to all of us who are in the fight to grow sports and fitness participation in this country,” said Tom Cove, president and CEO of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA). “As the report shows, we cannot underestimate the value of parental influence and the example they provide in getting our children and teens to be active and stay active.”

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