2021
9
UK Sports Participation Market Report 2021
2021-10-15T04:14:28+01:00
OX1049253
2195
143579
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Report
en_GB
“Sports participation will benefit from a COVID legacy of heightened interest in physical and mental health but the future of many facilities will be threatened by capital investment shortages and…

UK Sports Participation Market Report 2021

£ 2,195 (Excl.Tax)

Description

The UK Sports Participation market report identifies consumer attitudes towards sports participation, in-home exercise, fitness trends, and sports facilities in the UK. This report covers the market size, market forecast, market segmentation and industry trends for the UK Sports Participation market in the UK. 

Adult participation in sports such as running and athletics has increased by two thirds during the COVID-19 pandemic as people looked to keep active and improve their physical health and fitness while lockdown measures forced sports facilities to shut. These closures hit swimming particularly badly, causing participation rates to drop by a third.

  • The proportion of consumers exercising at home rose to 42% in 2021, from 17% in 2014.
  • This percentage will fall by 3% as alternative venues become more accessible in 2022.
  • 40% of public swimming pools are considered at risk as leisure venues struggle to find capital investment.

Fitness activities in general remained unscathed from the lockdowns, with the rise of doorstep sports such as running and cycling being part of a longer-term shift in preferences towards at-home activity. However, this could prove challenging to leisure facilities already struggling with funding.

Current Market Landscape 

As lockdowns end and restrictions lift, the rapid return of demand for sport seen in the second half of 2021 is expected to continue through into 2022, driving recovery in the sector in both volume and value terms. However, more serious participation habits have been broken during the lockdowns, with casual participation slowing growth. The current sports market segmentation is separated into outdoor sport, cycling, and organised and facility dependent sports, as well as indoor and doorstep sports done at home.

The main threat to the current sports participation market recovery is the risk to sports facility provision posed by intensifying pressure on public sector finances, which runs around two thirds of sites. New efforts to open school and college facilities for community use outside teaching hours could help mitigate the worst of this impact, so long as they are able to find the organisations and individuals needed to run activities in them.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our UK Leisure market research.

  • The continuing impact of COVID-19 on the sports participation market.
  • The threat to facility-based sports posed by funding shortfalls and the rise of in-home exercise.
  • The implications for providers of promoting fitness over fun.
  • The perceptions and priorities that could stop participants returning to sport.

Covered in this report

Sports: Aerobics, fitness classes, athletics, running, cycling, jogging, swimming, weight training, gym, yoga, pilates, basketball, cricket, football, gold, hockey, rugby, volleyball, badmington, squash, table tennis, tennis, action sports (BMX, skateboarding), climbing, fencing, fishing, footgolf, hiking, rambling, martial arts (karate, kung fu), skiing, snowboarding, watersports (windsurfing, canoeing), boxing, rowing.

Brands: Sport England, UK Athletics, British Cycling, FA, Swim England, LTA.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by David Walmsley, a leading analyst in the Leisure sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Sports participation will benefit from a COVID legacy of heightened interest in physical and mental health but the future of many facilities will be threatened by capital investment shortages and a shift in consumer preference towards home-based activity.
David Walmsley
Senior Leisure Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • COVID-19: market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • Products covered in this Report
  2. Executive Summary

    • Impact of COVID-19 on sports participation
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on sports participation, 2020-25
    • The market
    • COVID closures cut market value by half
    • Threat to facilities could choke recovery
      • Figure 2: COVID-19 scenario forecasts, 2016-26
    • Doorstep sports thrive in lockdown
      • Figure 3: Most popular sports, by twice-monthly or more frequent participation, 2018-20*
    • Companies and brands
    • Sport sees an opportunity for social climbing
    • New strategies for the next normal
    • The consumer
    • Health and fitness are post-pandemic priorities
      • Figure 4: Impact of COVID-19 on exercise habits and attitudes, 2021
    • Players switch to stay in the game
      • Figure 5: Participation in sport (net), 2017-21
    • Swimming sinks as running booms
      • Figure 6: Most popular participation sports, 2019-21
    • Facility-based sports face home disadvantage
      • Figure 7: Most popular participation sports venues, 2021
    • Fitness first in 2022
      • Figure 8: Motivations for playing sport, 2021
    • Cash and contagion are causes of concern
      • Figure 9: Agreement with statements about taking part in sport after the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021
  3. Issues and Insights

    • How can sport gain from the homeworking revolution?
    • In-home grows faster than from-home
    • Digital and social connections key to success
    • Social entertainment offers access to a different crowd
    • A growth opportunity open to all
    • Social sport with a focus on fun
  4. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Virus stops play
    • Facility closures threaten full recovery
    • Locked-out players find new opportunities on their doorstep
    • Back to school plans covering council cuts
  5. Market Size and Performance

    • Demand bounces back but provision proves problematic
      • Figure 10: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on sports participation, 2020-25
    • Sports struggle for numbers as fitness activities prove more flexible
      • Figure 11: Adult participation in sport at least twice in the previous 28 days, 2017-20*
    • Core players’ commitment gets recovery up and running
      • Figure 12: Consumer expenditure on sports participation*, 2016-21
  6. Market Forecast

    • Threat to casual play slowing market recovery
      • Figure 13: Market forecast of consumer expenditure on sports participation, 2016-26
    • Market drivers and assumptions
      • Figure 14: Key drivers affecting Mintel’s market forecast, 2015-25
    • Forecast methodology
  7. COVID-19 Scenario Performance

    • Mintel’s approach to predicting the impact of COVID-19
    • Fundamental differences in how COVID-19 is affecting consumer markets
    • Threat of vaccine-resistant strains of COVID-19 adds huge uncertainty
      • Figure 15: COVID-19 scenario forecasts, 2016-26
    • Closed doors bar rapid route to full recovery
    • Vaccine-resistant variants threaten return to activity restrictions
    • Funding crisis limits potential as normal service resumes
    • COVID-19 market disruption: risks and outcomes
      • Figure 16: Summary of Mintel scenario expectations and the impact on the sports participation market, 2021
  8. Market Segmentation

    • Locked-out players turn to doorstep sports
      • Figure 17: Most popular sports, by twice-monthly or more frequent participation, 2018-20*
  9. Market Drivers

    • Facility funding crisis prises school gates open
      • Figure 18: Management of sports facilities in England, by type*, September 2021
    • Sport England unveils new strategy
      • Figure 19: Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy
    • Government sport policy under scrutiny
    • Rise of loneliness can be halted by social sport
      • Figure 20: Incidence of loneliness, by age, 2020*
  10. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Sport hits the reset button
    • Sport sees an opportunity for social climbing
    • More open data can unlock more playing possibilities
  11. Governing Bodies

    • Athletics
    • Cycling
    • Football
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
  12. Launch Activity and Innovation

    • Sport and social
    • Schools in for summer
    • Sofa so good for Couch to…programmes
    • Digital data makes better matches
    • Open data can improve sports visibility and accessibility
  13. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Health and fitness are post-pandemic priorities
    • Players switch to stay in the game
    • Swimming numbers sink as running booms
    • Home games are here to stay
    • Keep-fit the focus for 2022
    • Concerns over cash and contagion slow young players’ return
  14. Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Behaviour

    • Pandemic sharpens health and fitness focus
      • Figure 21: Impact of COVID-19 on exercise habits and attitudes, 2021
    • Routine sport to miss out on post-lockdown spending spree
      • Figure 22: Financial confidence over the coming year, 2021
  15. Sports Participants

    • Switching sports keeps players in the game
      • Figure 23: Participation in sport (net), 2017-21
    • Working from home promotes playing from home
      • Figure 24: Participation in sport (net), by age, 2019-21
  16. Sports Played

    • Pandemic throws up winners and losers
      • Figure 25: Most popular participation sports, 2019-21
    • Hard yards ahead in expanding the player pool
      • Figure 26: Future interest in sports participation, by current non-participation in named sports, 2021
  17. Sports Venues

    • Leisure centres suffer as players prove increasingly happy at home
      • Figure 27: Most popular participation sports venues, 2021
    • Accessibility and affordability limit venue choice
      • Figure 28: Repertoires of sports venues used in the past 12 months, 2021
  18. Participation Motives

    • Fitness first for women and older age groups
      • Figure 29: Motivations for playing sport, 2021
    • Competitive sports should take themselves less seriously
      • Figure 30: Participation motives of players of team/competitive sports, 2021
  19. Post-COVID Sport

    • Younger players’ return delayed by virus and cash concerns
      • Figure 31: Agreement with statements about taking part in sport after the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021
    • Mixed competition can serve demand for more play
      • Figure 32: Interest in playing sport/exercising more often than before the COVID-19 pandemic, by gender and age, 2021
  20. Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

    • Abbreviations
    • Consumer research methodology
  21. Appendix – Central Forecast Methodology

    • Market forecast and prediction intervals
      • Figure 33: Market forecast of consumer expenditure* on sports participation, 2021-26
    • Market drivers and assumptions
      • Figure 34: Key drivers affecting Mintel’s market forecast, 2020-25
    • Forecast methodology
  22. Appendix – COVID Scenario Performance Methodology and Assumptions

    • Scenario performance
      • Figure 35: COVID-19 scenario forecasts for consumer expenditure* on sports participation, 2020-26
    • Rapid COVID recovery, central and extended COVID disruption scenarios outline
    • Scenario 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.

Market

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.

Consumer

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

Brand/Company

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.

Data

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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