Martin Newton, sales and marketing manager at Aqua Sphere, suggests catering for the rapidly growing triathlon market
Triathlon, the activity that combines swimming with cycling and running, is officially the UK’s fastest-growing multi-disciplinary sport - growing a substantial 10 per cent year on year since its Olympic debut in Sydney in 2000.
According to the website www.tri247.com, the sport of triathlon has seen amazing growth over the past couple of years, in both active participants and general public awareness. We estimate that in 2006 over 150,000 people were actively involved in triathlon and we expect that figure to increase to 200,000-plus in 2007.
So, with participant figures rising, triathlon is becoming an increasing area of interest for UK sports retailers. Athletes of all standards can take part and events vary considerably in distance. Novice events to entice newcomers to the sport can comprise a 250m swim, 24km bike ride and 2.5km run, encouraging more people to give the sport a try and to improve their fitness. The Olympic course covers a more ambitious 1.5km swim, 40km cycle ride and 10km run.
For the supremely fit (or just plain mad), the mighty Ironman races held worldwide cover a 3.8km swim, 180km bike stage and a full marathon to finish.
It’s true that there are dedicated triathlon retailers that offer a wide range of kit for the serious triathlete, but there are real sales opportunities available for the savvy sports retailer who can recognise the next big thing when they see it - and can offer a range of products to meet the needs of the beginner or intermediate triathlete.
If we consider the kit needed for the swimming leg of this sport, essential items comprise a good pair of goggles and a decent wetsuit - Aqua Sphere’s Kaiman goggle and Seal XP mask are favourites among triathletes because of their 180-degree wide-angle vision and comfortable leak-resistant seal.
By adding them to a swim-kit display, retailers have covered the aquatic eyewear needs of both triathlon and swimming. If retailers wish to offer entry-level tri wetsuits, brands like Aqua Sphere have introduced rookie suits that retail for little over £100, representing great value for money for those dipping their toe in the triathlon waters.
For friendly advice on how to capitalise on the increasing prominence of triathlon call 01254 278873 or visit www.aquasphereswim.com