The Triathlon Industry Association (TIA) will shortly embark on its fourth, major UK triathlete survey. This follows the 2012, 2013 and 2014 athlete surveys, which have produced the most comprehensive research studies ever undertaken of the British triathlon community.

The Triathlon Industry Association, which comprises event organisers, equipment manufacturers, tour operators, retailers, distributors, and media, continues to work in conjunction with the sport’s governing body, the British Triathlon Federation to pool data for a comprehensive approach.

The TIA research initiative provides a detailed insight into:

  • Participation: ranging from when people started the sport to how active they are now
  • Expenditure: what, where and when people are buying and how much they spend
  • Demographic data: who are Britain’s triathletes?

The full analysis from TIA’s on-going research into the triathlon marketplace is available to TIA member companies.

Back in the Olympic year… the 2012 research findings were…
In spite of economic gloom, Britain’s triathlon community showed that it was determined to buck the trend for belt-tightening. Triathletes showed a willingness to spend their way to better performance in 2012, according to the findings unveiled by the Triathlon Industry Association (TIA).

Triathlon Industry Association - TIA - infographic initial findings - large

With an average salary of £45,000 and household size of 2.6 people, a demographic that is often referred to as the ‘squeezed middle’, British triathletes, still buoyed by the Brownlees’ Olympic heroics in 2012, did not let shrinking discretionary spending power stand in the way of their training and racing goals.

The 2012 study, the most comprehensive of its kind ever undertaken of the British triathlon community, was conducted over a four-month period. As part of the process, a comprehensive UK triathlete survey generated 3,800 completed responses to questions on all aspects of a triathlete’s lifestyle.

The results indicate that two thirds of respondents expect to spend the same or more on their triathlon pursuits this year, with as many as a third of triathletes expecting a 10-20% increase in spend in 2013.

Further to that, outgoings on tri hardware are set to be a big growth area, with average spend on the next bike purchased rising from £1500 to £1900, a surge of 27%. Two-thirds of those surveyed will look to purchase a new wetsuit every 2-3 years; whilst one in five travelled overseas last year to compete and almost three quarters would consider doing so in the future.

The level of triathletes’ dedication to their sport is demonstrated as clearly in terms of time as money, with 61% of those surveyed disclosing that they have devoted between 5-10 hours a week to triathlon training over the winter. This is an impressive figure in light of 78% of respondents struggling against work pressures and 49% managing family responsibilities to achieve their training goals.

The struggles may be worthwhile, however, as the research found that average earnings rose in line with the time invested in triathlon.

Whilst this does not point to a causal link between between a higher salary and tri participation, the TIA research findings indicated that those who spent more time training and who had been in the sport longer (rather than new starters) had entered more events in 2012 and had a higher average salary.

With respondents averaging 40 years of age and 83% having completed a degree/college education, the salaries earned and the proportion of women grew as time spent on triathlon went up.

The Olympic glow also shone through from the results with 20% of respondents having completed their first event in 2012, despite the atrocious weather conditions across Great Britain throughout last season.

Gary Roethenbaugh, Managing Director of MultiSport Research, the author of the report on behalf of TIA, said, “We always suspected that triathletes were a resolute bunch. These initial findings show that the sport continues to go from strength to strength, with a healthy proportion of new starters joining an ever-more determined core population.”

To access the latest full analysis from TIA’s on-going research, click here to join TIA.