By Melissa Sepos
She's the neighbor who gets up to run at 5:30 a.m., the mom who heads to kick-boxing class after dropping off the kids at school and the dad who plays in the basketball league from work.
Fitness buffs are not just your garden-variety triathletes or Olympiads. Indeed, the fitness demographic is as diverse of a population as it is profitable. Last year several million consumers—about 30 percent of the U.S. adult population, according to statistics—spent more than $4 billion on exercise-related products.
Who They Are
Fitness buffs include people who regularly participate in recreational sports or exercise. Most tend to be moderate exercisers seeking to stay healthy, while some are weekend warriors who compete on local sports teams, golf, ski or play tennis in their spare time. Some focus on looking good and staying healthy. Others are more interested in participating in competitive sports. These 30- to 50-year-olds have a household income of $60,000 and often have children.
Most subscribe to fitness publications. Men typically get sports magazines, such as Sports Illustrated or publications that focus on a specific activity or interest. Meanwhile, women tend to read general-interest health and fitness publications, such as Self, Fitness and Health.
Publication lists have a strong pull for those looking to market to exercisers. Note there are separate and distinct markets for women and men.
Women: Today, a growing number of marketers are targeting female fitness enthusiasts. Why? Men's workout wear is more mainstream, found in department stores and sports stores, while women still struggle to find quality products designed with the female body in mind. These women—age 27 to 50 with an average income of $40,000—have made a commitment to exercise, says Becky Santaniello of list company Catalyst Direct Marketing. Product quality is important to them, as is a convenient shopping experience. The combination makes catalog shopping an ideal choice for these buyers, she says.