Sport England Getting Active Report

6th Sep 2015

My very first climbing session as an impressionable scout in my early teenage years opened my eyes to the life affirming benefits of an outdoor life.  Since then the mountains have been a constant in my world and running an outdoor business is an extension of this passion (a journey I explored in the articles 'Full Circle' and 'What Does Success Look Like?').  The mountains have the power to challenge, enrich, inspire, heal and so much more.t
A new Sport England report (produced in collaboration with the Outdoor Industries Association)  entitled 'Getting Active Outdoors' has explored the 'Demographics, Motivation, Participation and Provision in Outdoor Sport and Recreation in the U.K.'.  The aim of the report being, to put it simply, to detail the profile of the outdoor consumer.
The study looked at a number of factors such as the scale of the outdoor market and the trends and motivations of participants. All aspects of outdoor adventure were examined including, along with activities in wilderness areas, other closer to home 'urban space' pursuits.  I've looked over the findings and the report makes interesting reading.  Here's a few of the key things that may be of interest to you.......
Participation Levels
The report identified that the number of people currently active in the outdoors was about 8.9 million.  Of these, 2.8 million want more involvement and a further 18.2 million are not currently actively involved in outdoor activities although they want to become involved again within the next 12 months.
Motivations for Involvement
8 broad categories were used to identify the reasons people participate in outdoor activities and, although motivations change with age and life stage, the categories give an interesting glimpse into the 'why' that gets people active.
The Explorer gets a sense of being part of the natural world and accounted for 33% of participants (the largest number).  Challengers push themselves and are focussed on achievement or reaching a goal.  21% were challengers. 7% were Adventurers who love the challenge and enjoy pushing themselves physically.  For the 4% who are Freestylers adventure is a lifestyle choice and form of self expression.  Thrill seekers make up an adrenaline fuelled 3% and the Learners, who use the outdoors as a means of personal development, account for 7%.  Finally, the Fitness in Nature group use the outdoors to, as their name suggests, stay fit and healthy.  They are the remaining 17%.  The researchers accept that the boundaries between some of these groups may become intertwined. 
Report Stats
The other part of the findings I found particularly interesting was some of the 'did you knows' that calculated.  Females were most likely to fall into the Explorers category.  92% of respondents took part in outdoor activities to relax and de-stress, Thrill Seekers were more likely to participate in urban outdoor activities and between 70 and 80% of outdoor uses recognise that participation strengthens family relationships.  
Crucially for a business like Peak Mountaineering, the report also identified that there are over 9000 outdoor providers.  Phew!  Better make sure we stay ahead of the competition then!  If you are interested enough to read the full report it can be downloaded here.
Posted by Paul