Nov 13, 2020
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Prospects strong for outdoor, cycling, running categories as Britons embrace active lifestyles

Nov 13, 2020

A new report suggests that the prospects look bright in the UK for the outdoor and cycling gear sectors, as well as for other active categories, following the way consumers have adjusted their habits during lockdowns.

Britons have embraced activities like hiking, cycling and jogging - Photo: Nina Uhlíková

According to Mintel, nearly a quarter of Britons are now hikers/ramblers, while 40% of men aged 16-24 are cycling for fitness, and more men are enjoying yoga and pilates.

Lockdowns placed huge restrictions on many sporting activities like going to the gym or playing a round of golf, but consumers embraced the great outdoors and the number of hikers/ramblers increased from 16% in 2018 to 23% in 2020.

Those aged 55-64 (30%) are most likely to be the ones needing to buy walking boots and weatherproof-but-breathable outerwear, a figure that has been stable in the past two years. The big growth is among young consumers, with 24% of those aged 16-24 now hiking/rambling, up from 16% in 2018. That’s doubly good news given that this is a generation that likes to match its clothing choices to its activities.

Mintel also said that the number of joggers has increased from 18% in 2018 to 22% in 2020, potentially providing a boost to the active apparel and running shoes categories. Meanwhile cycling for fitness has grown from 16% to 20% in three years alone. And while MAMILs (middle aged men in lycra) have traditionally loved their racing bikes, Mintel said it’s young men who are driving the current cycling craze as 40% of men aged 16-24 are cyclists, compared to just 27% of men aged 25-44. 

It would be interesting to know whether these younger men will carry their cycling for sport/leisure interest into their everyday lives and cycle in order to avoid public transport. If that’s the case then the market for practical cycling apparel that can double up as daywear could get a boost.

And as mentioned, yoga/pilates participation has increased too. It’s up from 10% in 2018 to 15% in 2020. While still a female dominated activity, yoga is now attracting 13% of men aged 25-44, becoming further driver of the active category.

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