What is sports market segmentation and why is it no longer available?
Sport England commissioned Experian to create the sports market segmentation data in 2007 and subsequently refresh the data in 2010. The data groups the adult population (18 and above) of England into 19 segments that provide an in-depth understanding of people's attitudes and behaviours towards taking part in sport.
UPDATE March 2018: Why is Market Segmentation data no longer available?
While we appreciate Market Segmentation data has been a valuable tool for partners over the years, it is now some way out of date – last updated in 2010 and so based upon Active People Survey data for Apr 2009/10. Not only do we know that activity levels have shifted in that time (step up overall leading up to London 2012 and many shifts within different sports) but also Sporting Future (government's sport strategy) has led to a change in Sport England's strategic direction and headline metrics.
Sport England no longer focus on weekly participation, the key APS metric feeding the segmentation tool, instead we look to understand active lifestyles as per CMO (Chief Medical Office) guidelines of 150+ minutes a week. We also have a broader activity mix, no longer focusing solely on sport in the traditional sense but also on physical activity through walking, active travel and dance (alongside sporting activities, fitness and cycling which we have always had a focus on).
Sport England are looking at our options for a segmentation style resource going forwards but this thinking is in the very early ‘thought’ stages and there is currently no commitment to any replacement tool. To fill the gap in the interim we recommend the use of ONS’s segmentation. Whilst not overlaying the activity data from Active Lives this does provide a useful categorisation of the population for targeting purposes – for example it is relatively easy to identify a number of segments that would fit a lower social-economic group focus. We will ourselves be considering this resource for any future ‘Sport England’ segmentation.