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Sports Participation - Canada - July 2015

Canadians are active as demonstrated by the two thirds of the population who play sports weekly, driven by participation in individual sports or fitness activities. Motivating participation is a strong belief in the benefits that extend beyond the improvement of physical health, including mental and emotional gains as well as the development of life skills for children. Challenges to increase engagement in sports vary by demographics; lack of time, motivation and confidence prove to be the main barriers. Although there is interest in exercise enhancing tools (such as mobile apps or wearables), Canadians have been slow to adopt their use.

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Canadians are highly active though demographics play a role in sports participation
  • Canadian men and women play sports for different reasons
  • At any age, personal insecurities are hindering women
  • Affluence plays a role in sports participation
  • Canadians have been slow to adopt exercise tools, though do show interest

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Executive Summary

      • The issues
        • Canadians are highly active though demographics play a role in sports participation
          • Figure 1: Participation in any sports, May 2015
        • Canadian men and women play sports for different reasons
          • Figure 2: Reasons for participating in sports (select statements), by gender, May 2015
        • At any age, personal insecurities are hindering women
          • Figure 3: Selected attitudes towards sports participation (any agree), by gender, May 2015
        • Affluence plays a role in sports participation
          • Figure 4: Sports participation (at least weekly), by household income, May 2015
        • Canadians have been slow to adopt exercise tools, though do show interest
          • Figure 5: Usage and interest in exercise tools, May 2015
        • The opportunities
          • Motivating Canadians by communicating desired benefits that go beyond the obvious – particularly when targeting parents
            • Figure 6: Selected attitudes towards sports participation, May 2015
          • Bridging the gender gap with technology
            • Figure 7: Usage and interest in exercise tools, May 2015
          • Creating virtual communities to motivate Millennials
            • Consider lower-cost offerings
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • An aging population will impact sports participation
                  • Half the population is overweight or obese
                    • Immigration is driving growth of the Canadian population
                      • Economy shifts are impacting Canadian spending habits
                      • Market Factors

                        • Canada’s population is aging and will continue to do so in the coming years
                          • Figure 8: Population aged 65 years and over in Canada, historical and projected (% of total), 1971-2061
                        • Over half of Canadians are overweight or obese
                          • Figure 9: Body mass index, self-reported rate of being overweight or obese among Canadian adults, 2009-13
                        • Catering to an ethnically diverse audience
                          • Recent economic activities have negatively impacted consumer confidence
                            • Figure 10: Household disposable incomes and savings in Canada, by quarter, Q4 2008-Q4 2014
                          • Canadians are facing record high levels of household debt
                          • Canadian Influencers on Sports Participation – What You Need to Know

                            • The Canadian government sets the standard
                              • Sports programs and organizations promoting active living get support
                                • Campaign efforts are targeting ‘real’ people
                                  • Mobile apps are shaping sports participation
                                  • Who’s Guiding Sports Participation?

                                      • The Canadian government sets guidelines to get Canadians moving
                                        • Canada’s Physical Activity Guide
                                          • ParticipACTION
                                            • Provincial efforts are also in place
                                              • Mobile apps and technology are also shaping fitness participation
                                                • Strava
                                                  • MapMyFitness
                                                  • Who’s Funding Sports Participation?

                                                      • Government of Canada’s Sport Support Program (SSP)
                                                        • Canadian Tire Jumpstart
                                                          • RBC Learn to Play Project
                                                          • Who’s Encouraging Sports Participation?

                                                              • The Government of Canada puts forth healthy lifestyle initiatives:
                                                                • National Health and Fitness Day – June 6, 2015
                                                                  • Healthy Me Week 2015 – June 1-7, 2015
                                                                    • Getting creative by combining fitness with other leisure activities
                                                                      • Scene Loyalty Program: A Partnership between Sport Chek, Scotiabank and Cineplex
                                                                        • Advertising campaigns positioning sporting activities for ‘real’ people
                                                                          • Goodlife Fitness: Real Heroes
                                                                            • Sport Chek: All Sweat is Equal in Sport
                                                                              • Leveraging social media to get Canadians moving
                                                                                • ParticipACTION
                                                                                  • Tennis Canada
                                                                                    • Partnerships between corporations and mobile apps in the creation of virtual sporting clubs and events
                                                                                      • Nike+ Run Club
                                                                                        • Rapha Women’s 100, a partnership between Strava and Rapha
                                                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                          • Canadians are active sports participants
                                                                                            • Men and women are physically active for different reasons
                                                                                              • Canadians see benefits aplenty for participating in sports
                                                                                                • Barriers go deeper than time and motivation
                                                                                                  • Physical activity and healthy eating go hand in hand
                                                                                                    • Canadians are interested in fitness tools/apps, though adoption is low
                                                                                                    • Who is Playing Sports in Canada?

                                                                                                      • Canadians are active in sports
                                                                                                        • Figure 11: Participation in any sports, May 2015
                                                                                                      • Canada is a nation of runners and walkers
                                                                                                        • Individual sports are most popular
                                                                                                          • Seasonality affects outdoor and team sports
                                                                                                            • Racquet sports see the lowest participation
                                                                                                              • Figure 12: Participation in individual and team/ competitive sports, May 2015
                                                                                                            • Men play more and like a wider variety of sports, women play less though are more loyal
                                                                                                              • Figure 13: Repertoire of sports participation, May 2015
                                                                                                            • Limited time and energy affects participation among parents
                                                                                                              • Figure 14: Sports participation (at least weekly), by parental status, May 2015
                                                                                                            • Affluence is a factor in sports participation
                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Weekly sports participation, by household income, May 2015
                                                                                                            • Three out of four British Columbians play sports weekly
                                                                                                            • Reasons for Playing Sports

                                                                                                                • For men, playing sports is social and fun
                                                                                                                  • For women, sports participation is more goal-oriented
                                                                                                                    • Figure 16: Reasons for participating in sports (select statements), by gender, May 2015
                                                                                                                  • Older women more focussed on weight loss, increasing muscle tone and prevention
                                                                                                                    • Younger women are driven by appearance
                                                                                                                      • Appearance improvement drives those who identify as LGBT
                                                                                                                      • Perceived Benefits of Playing Sports

                                                                                                                        • Canadians feel being active provides benefits beyond physical health
                                                                                                                          • Figure 17: Selected attitudes towards sports participation, May 2015
                                                                                                                        • Fitness/sporting activities help manage mental and emotional health
                                                                                                                          • Life skills can be developed, particularly for children who play sports
                                                                                                                          • Barriers to Playing Sports

                                                                                                                            • Time and motivation are the main barriers
                                                                                                                              • Figure 18: Barriers to participating in sports, May 2015
                                                                                                                            • Time is the major barrier for parents
                                                                                                                              • Women need encouragement
                                                                                                                                • Millennials need company
                                                                                                                                  • Health problems are a barrier for older men and women
                                                                                                                                    • Cost is a factor for lower income households
                                                                                                                                    • Attitudes towards Sports Participation and Food

                                                                                                                                      • Balancing physical activity with healthy eating go hand in hand for Canadians
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 19: Selected attitudes towards sports participation, May 2015
                                                                                                                                      • Age sways perception of the balance between food and physical activity
                                                                                                                                        • Though complimentary in importance, younger Canadians give sway towards food
                                                                                                                                          • Older Canadians strive to balance food and activity
                                                                                                                                          • Usage and Interest in Exercise Tools

                                                                                                                                            • Adoption of fitness tools/apps is low, though there is some interest
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 20: Usage and interest in exercise tools, May 2015
                                                                                                                                            • Tools that allow for home workouts appeal to women
                                                                                                                                              • Bringing the offline world online for Millennials
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Usage and interest in exercise tools, May 2015
                                                                                                                                              • Small group or personal coaching and mobile apps are of interest to men
                                                                                                                                              • Chinese Canadians and Sports Participation

                                                                                                                                                  • Though highly active, parenting responsibilities and a more utilitarian attitude impact participation
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Participation in individual and team/competitive sports, Chinese Canadians versus overall population, May 2015
                                                                                                                                                  • Chinese Canadians are playing more team and racquet sports
                                                                                                                                                    • Parenting responsibilities are impacting participation
                                                                                                                                                      • Chinese Canadians hold a more utilitarian attitude towards fitness/sports participation
                                                                                                                                                      • Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                        • Four target groups
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Target groups for sports participation, May 2015
                                                                                                                                                        • Interested but Intimidated (34%)
                                                                                                                                                          • The Occasional Player (25%)
                                                                                                                                                            • Enthusiasts (23%)
                                                                                                                                                              • The Older Walker (18%)
                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                                                                    • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                                                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                                                                        • Abbreviations

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                                                                                                                                                                        Sports Participation - Canada - July 2015

                                                                                                                                                                        US $3,995.00 (Excl.Tax)