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Consumers Prefer 'Healthy' Sports and Fitness Products and Services

‘Quality,’ ‘safe,’ rank close behind
Dave Nobs, Managing Director, Growth & Development | Stephen Heitz, Chief Innovation Officer | Tim Trull, Chief Strategy Officer

This article is a brief abstract of our exclusive study that takes the guesswork 
out of sports sponsorship, advertising and marketing.

Download the complete 2018 Southwest Sports Marketing Report


What’s in a word? Quite a bit, when it is tied to consumer interest in sports and fitness. In order of preference, respondents identified the following as a word to describe their top five preferred sports and fitness products and services. Here are the highlights from their explanations as to why:

Chart: Consumers Prefer 'Healthy' Sports and Fitness Products and Services

Healthy (51%)

  • “My health is very important to me.”
  • “My primary reason for exercising is for my health. I don't actually like to exercise. Also, some activities are unhealthy, so I would avoid them.”
  • “Everyone is always looking for ways to improve their health and look younger.”
  • “I don't want to do anything that would endanger my health.”
  • “If the exercise isn't healthy, it is useless.”

Deep Dive: 56% of those respondents who are retired prefer the word “healthy.”

Quality (47%)

  • “It implies reliability, dependability and value.”
  • “I don’t want junk.”
  • “Buying something for sports has to be quality with a reputable name which is trusted, has professional experience and has been tested.”
  • “It feels classier.”
  • “I like things that are the best and that last.”
  • “I know I'll be getting or participating in something great!”

Deep Dive: 60% of those respondents with annual incomes of $50,000 to $74,999 prefer the word “quality.”

Safe (46%)

  • “I don't want to use equipment that can cause me any injury. If it's not safe (and easy) to operate, I won't use it.”
  • “Safety is always my top concern when being active.”
  • “So many new techniques are not safe for the consumer, and I think this is an important aspect to any new thing.”
  • “It makes me confident and secure.”
  • “No one wants to get hurt while trying to get fit.”
  • “Safe reassures me that I won't be injured. If it's safe, I'm more likely to use it, thus more effective.”

 Deep Dive: 49% of females prefer the word “safe.”Consumers prefer healthy sports and fitness products and services.

Inexpensive (45%)

  • “I can walk for nothing. I am not going to spend money on equipment that will never be used.”
  • “Being inexpensive makes me more likely to try it.”
  • “I live on a set income and have to be more frugal.”
  • “Everyone wants to save money or get a deal.”
  • “I do not buy these products normally, so they would have to be inexpensive.”
  • “I will only join a gym or buy equipment if it's low cost.”
  • “I have a budget, so I look for bargains.”
  • “I don't think you should have to pay much to stay healthy and fit.”

Deep Dive: 50% of females ranked “inexpensive” as their preferred word.

Comfortable (42%)

  • “If you are comfortable in something you’re more motivated.”
  • “I won’t buy clothes that are uncomfortable.”
  • “It’s hard to work out in clothes that are not comfortable.”
  • “I do not like to create stress on my body.”
  • “If it’s not comfortable I would either not use it or use it less.”
  • “Any time you play a sport it should be comfortable.”
  • “Athletic apparel can be uncomfortable, so it becomes important.”

Deep Dive: College-educated respondents prefer the word “comfortable” more than those with a high school education or less (some college = 46%, college graduate = 44%, high school or less = 28%).

Fun (42%)

  • “You've got to have fun, or it is not worth it.”
  • “When it comes to working out or doing an activity or sport, how fun something is or can be is a big drawing point.”
  • “If you're not having fun while playing sports, you shouldn't be playing at all. The reason most folks don't exercise (aside from physical inability) is that they don't enjoy it.”
  • “Something that is labeled as fun would perk my interest to try something new.”
  • “Sports at my age should be fun and provide some healthy exercise without being overly competitive.”
  • “I’m more likely to participate and continue if it is fun.”
  • “It's easier to be active and stay in shape if you're having fun doing it.”

Deep Dive: 19% of those respondents who are 35 years of age or younger ranked “fun” as one of their least favorite words.

2018 Southwest Sports Marketing Report

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This article is a brief abstract of our exclusive and authoritative study that takes the guesswork out of sports advertising and marketing. Rather than speculating about what will drive consumers to action, we've asked them.

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