No Belt-Tightening for Britain’s Triathletes in 2013


One third of triathletes expect a 10-20+ % increase in discretionary tri spend in 2013

In spite of the ongoing economic gloom, Britain’s triathlon community is determined to buck the trend for belt-tightening and spend its way to better performance through 2013, according to initial research results unveiled today by the Triathlon Industry Association (TIA).

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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 last summer, will not be letting shrinking discretionary spending power stand in the way of their training and racing goals.

The study, the most comprehensive of its kind ever undertaken of the British triathlon community, is being conducted over a four-month period. As part of the process, the UK triathlete research element 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 will be a big growth area, with average spend on next bike purchase 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 up to 75% 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 are worthwhile however, as the research found that average earnings rose in line with time invested in triathlon. With respondents across all levels 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.

Whilst it 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. The Olympic glow was also clearly evidenced from the results with 20% of respondents having completed their first event in 2012, despite the atrocious weather conditions throughout last season.

Gary Roethenbaugh, Managing Director of MultiSport Research, the author of the report on behalf of TIA comments, “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.”

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The TIA – which comprises event organisers, equipment manufacturers, tour operators, retailers, distributors, and media – has worked in conjunction with the sport’s governing body, the British Triathlon Federation to compile the findings which extend to all areas of a triathlete’s lifestyle.