UK Sports Participation Market Report 2023
Sports participation is perfectly placed to offer the simple fun and pleasure consumers are seeking to escape the pressures of post-pandemic life. David Walmsley, Research Analyst…

UK Sports Participation Market Report 2023

£ 2,195 (Excl.Tax)


Stay ahead of the curve and future-proof your business with Mintel’s UK Sports Participation Market Report 2023. Our full report is packed with consumer-led market intelligence, the latest UK sports market research, trends and consumer behaviours affecting your business. Get a 360° view of UK consumers’ sports participation to help you align your business strategy with the needs of your audience.

Below, we’ve handpicked the key insights analysed in the full report and summarised the core topics.

Topics Analysed in this Report

  • The impact of the rising cost of living on sports participation habits.
  • Potential rates of growth in consumer spending on playing sport.
  • The UK sports market’s reliance on more affluent demographics.
  • Fitness versus fun as a motive for play.
  • New opportunities to expand sports participation.

UK Sports Market: Overview

The ageing of the UK’s population structure poses a serious long-term threat to sports participation and is challenging providers to develop new models of play that can appeal to older demographics. Meanwhile, post-pandemic recognition that children and adults want physical activity to be fun is creating opportunities for sports to promote the enjoyment that taking part can offer.

  • UK sports market size: Spending on sports saw steady growth; consumer expenditure on sports participation is estimated at £3.8 billion in 2023.

Sports Participation: Opportunities and Challenges

Put the play into games

Sport is literally made for play and can make more of this USP in promoting activity, particularly to people who want to be healthier but see fitness activity as a chore to be endured, not enjoyed.

  • Sport participation trends: 57% of adults played sport at least once in the last 12 months.

Deepen commitment to strengthen spend

Almost half of sports participants play less than weekly. There is significant potential to grow the UK sports market’s regular player pool. And with the most frequent players being most willing to spend on participation, swelling their ranks can have a positive impact on market value too.

  • Sports participation challenge: 48% of sports participants play less than weekly.

To learn how to connect with your audience, purchase our full UK Sports Participation Market Report 2023.  Discover lucrative innovation opportunities to help your business grow during times of financial uncertainty.

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Expert Insights from a Research Analyst

This report, written by David Walmsley, a leading research analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight trends in the UK sports market and add expert context to the numbers.

Sports participation is perfectly placed to offer the simple fun and pleasure consumers are seeking to escape the pressures of post-pandemic life.

David Walmsley - Research Analyst

David Walmsley
Research Analyst

Table of Contents

    • Key issues covered in this Report
  1. Executive Summary

    • Opportunities for the sports participation market
    • Market dynamics and outlook
    • Graph 1: most popular sports, by twice-monthly or more frequent participation, 2022*
    • Graph 2: the financial confidence index, 2016-23
    • Graph 3: proportion of 15+ population aged over 50
    • What consumers want and why
    • Graph 4: past-year participation in sport, 2023
    • Graph 5: sports played, 2022 and 2023
    • Graph 6: interest in taking up a new sport, 2023
    • Graph 7: motivations for playing sport, 2023
    • Graph 8: planned reductions in sports participation spending, 2023
    • Innovation and marketing
  2. Market Dynamics

    • Market size
    • Graph 9: adult participation in sport at least twice in previous 28 days, 2017-22*
    • Graph 10: consumer expenditure on sports participation, 2014-23
    • Market forecast
    • Graph 11: Consumer expenditure on sports participation, 2011-15
    • Market segmentation
    • Graph 12: most popular sports, by twice-monthly or more frequent participation, 2022*
    • Macro-economic factors
    • Graph 13: CPI inflation rate, 2021-23
    • Graph 14: the financial wellbeing index, 2016-23
    • Graph 15: the financial confidence index, 2016-23
    • Graph 16: participation in sport, exercise and fitness activities, 2023
    • Social, environmental and legal factors
    • Graph 17: interest in improving aspects of wellbeing, 2023
  3. What Consumers Want and Why

    • Sports participants
    • Graph 18: past-year participation in sport, by gender and age, 2023
    • Graph 19: past-year sports participation base, by annual household income, 2023
    • Sports played
    • Graph 20: sports played, 2022 and 2023
    • Graph 21: repertoires of sports played, 2023
    • Graph 22: sports started playing/participating in since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2023
    • Future participation
    • Graph 23: interest in taking up a new sport, by participation status, 2023
    • Graph 24: Types of sports consumers are interested in starting playing, 2023
    • Motives for playing sport
    • Graph 25: having fun as a motivation for playing sport, by sports played, 2023
    • Graph 26: social motivations for playing sport, 2023
    • Spending on sport
    • Graph 27: personal spending on sport, 2023
    • Graph 28: planned reductions in sports participation spending, 2023

  5. Innovation And Marketing Trends

    • Launch activity and innovation
    • Advertising and marketing activity
  6. Appendix

    • Supplementary data
    • Market forecast data and methodology
    • Report scope and definitions
    • Methodology

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our databooks* are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

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Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Our reports are available to download in PDF and PPT formats.

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