Running Industry:

Make Millennials (and Minorities) Dash to You

By: Rubén Terrazas, Copy Editor/Translator

Running, as a sport and as an industry, seems to be indifferent to every demographic trend of the last decade.

While it seems that everyone else in this country is aware that Millennials already surpassed Baby Boomers as far as total population goes and that as a group they are the most ethnically diverse since generations began to be grouped as such, running is an overwhelmingly white and middle-aged sport. In their bi-annual national surveys, Running USA, a non-profit focused on growing running as a sport both athletically and financially, pegs white participation in the sport at 90% in 2011 and 88.1% in both 2013 and 2015. The remaining balance shared by all other ethnicities never breaks 15% of the total.

Runners by the Numbers

  • The dominant age group in running is in 35-44 years of age bracket, the national average is 41.2
  • Older-than-Millennials account for 71.3% of all runners
  • Millennials account for 28.8%

All this means that unless the trend is reversed, the running industry will miss out on a pretty large chunk of the estimated $200 billion Millennials are expected to spend in the U.S. by 2017, according to Forbes. Running, as a sport, is very much a straightforward affair. You need some kind of shoes and socks, enough clothes to suit your comfort related to the existing weather conditions and the will to run for extended periods of time (and no, couch to fridge and back doesn’t count).

Runners (Unsurprisingly) Love Running Gear

This doesn’t sound like much of a marketer’s dream. But if you take into account that the more you get into the sport, the more you start looking for specialty apparel and equipment, things change. Any-kind-because-it’s-just-jogging clothes turn into ultra-light, water resistant, moisture wicking, UVA and light reflective, anti-chafing marvels of sports technology. Same thing with the shoes, and don’t even get me started with the electronics. Did I mention that Millennials as a whole are incredibly fashion conscious and mobile attached, with Hispanic Millennials being especially open to advertising on their phones?

Brands Need to Keep Up The Pace

So running industry businesses, this is your call, your chance to get in pace with the present and future U.S. population. Showcase multicultural men and women of different ages in your advertising. Create greater awareness of your products and activities among the Millennial population. Sell them ideas like freedom, peace of mind, and sustainability that they cherish and which runners everywhere already associate with the sport. Seeking to provoke action with the Hispanic audience? Subscribe to our newsletter below and see how Dieste Inc., a full service Hispanic agency based in Dallas, Texas, to keep up-to-date with our news, insights, and tips.