2019 Australian Sporting Participation Snapshot

Australia is a nation defined by active lifestyles and sporting endeavours, with our love for physical pursuits spanning all ages and demographics. Thankfully for brands in the sector, Sport Aus has recently released their national participation data to shed light on the most popular forms of sporting and non-sporting activities across key demographic groups. The AusPlay Report, based on a population-tracking survey conducted by the Australian Sports Commision, is the largest of its kind with over 20,000 people contributing to the research. The participation estimates compare statistics across the 2016/2017/2018 calendar years, providing insights into where Australians are spending their active time and sporting goods dollars. In order to give our members a deeper understanding of the evolving trends in physical participation, we’ve summarised the top-line takeaways of the report below.

ADULTS (15+)

As the results indicate, the top 5 physical activities participated in by Australian adults are; walking (43.7%), Gym (32.7%), swimming (14.7%), jogging (15.7%) and cycling (11.8%). Continuing the historical trend, recreational walking remains the most popular practice for maintaining fitness, with over 9.1 million Australians throwing on their runners and undertaking vigorous strolls as their primary form of exercise. There also appears to be significant growth in the attendance of adults to gyms, health clubs  and fitness classes, rising from approximately 6.5 million in 2016 to 7.1 million participants in 2018.

It’s also worth noting that all of the top 5 are primarily undertaken individually, indicating a broad preference of Australian adults for solo participation, as opposed to team sports. A slight decrease is apparent in the participation rates for Soccer (-0.9%), Netball (-0.5%) and Cricket (-0.3%) over the 3-year period, however the data also indicated an increase of around 85,000 people – aged 15 and over – taking part in Australian Rules Football (+0.4%).


According the the AusPlay Report, the most popular organised activity for children  – outside of school hours – is Swimming. Increasing by more than 4% since 2016, over one third of all Australian children are now reported to hit the pool on a regular basis (34.5%). The specific Swimming statistics (here), also included as part of the broader Ausplay research, made note that the participation rates for children’s organised out-of-school Swimming peaked between the ages of 5-8 and participation decreased significantly with those aged 12-14.

Making up the rest of the Top 5 activities for Australian children are Soccer (14.6%), Dancing (10.1%), Gymnastics (10.1%) and Australian Rules Football (8.15%). The data also highlighted the important distinction between genders with regard to activity preference, with boys more likely to play overtly team sports (Soccer, AFL, Cricket and Basketball) and girls more likely to participate in less team-oriented endeavours (Dancing and Gymnastics).

The findings of the report reflect Australia’s identity as a great sporting nation, and the continued growth in overall participation rates is a positive sign for our thriving sports industry. ASGA is proud to play a role in promoting participation in a diverse range of physical activities and their broad benefits for all active Australians, and we thank the ASC for their invaluable study of the sector.

To learn more about 2019 AusPlay Research, please follow the links below :



Leading the way to a sustainable industry

As a peak industry body, ASGA serves to lead the Australian Sporting Goods Industry, with sustainability as a core policy of our operations. Many of our members share this sentiment and are actively in support of this vital mission. To further our goal of positive social impact, ASGA hosted its first sustainability forum to address the most immediate and important waste-management challenges faced by manufacturers, brands and consumers in the space.

Held in Melbourne on March 28th, the event centered around a keynote discussion – lead by sustainability expert Nick Harford – that focused on national waste policy and the subsequent obligations of businesses in the sector. The robust dialogue between participants ranged from packaging to the treatment of soft plastics and responsible product stewardship.

Emerging from the unanimous desire to aim towards an environmentally-conscious industry, the conversation culminated with an agreement to form a specialised sustainability committee to lead the charge. This group will be responsible for providing advice and assistance to the Australian Sporting Goods Industry with regards to setting, promoting and achieving sustainability outcomes.

The goals determined by the committee will be achieved through the development of projects that encompass issues and initiatives including community participation, supply chain management and socially-responsible business practices. Based on the input of sector stakeholders, the first project for the committee will involve finding solutions to reduce the environmental impacts of sourcing, manufacturing and disposing of Australian sporting goods.

This inaugural initiative – identified by the forum participants – will specifically address the sporting footwear segment and it’s significant contribution to landfill each year in light of growing consumer demand. Working from the campaign platform created by ASGA, an industry-led approach to repurposing unwanted pairs of athletic shoes will serve as a blueprint for further sporting goods recycling programs in future.

At this precursory stage, the proposed project will involve the deployment of recycling bins within retail stores, serving as collection points for discarded shoes, followed by the conversion of this useless waste into useful manufacturing materials. Through a robust resource reclamation process, we aim to close the loop and provide a best-practice framework for efficient reclamation methodology and subsequent conversion into new products.

ASGA is committed to seeing this project – and many more like it – through to fruition and making a positive difference within the Australian Sporting Goods Industry. If you would like to support the footwear project, or join brands including Nike, New Balance, Russell Athletic and Lululemon as part of the Sustainability Committee, please reach out to ASGA to learn more.

We thank you in advance for your valuable contribution.

The 3 questions to be answered

Clarity and acceleration are on the other side

Competing priorities are a part of our lives. Time pressure from “other’s emergencies” seems to be a constant. Complexity of our working lives is increasing and does not look like stopping.

These are all statements that came from my last group discussion with a brand’s business leaders. All are sobering statements by themselves, and down right confronting as a trio.

So how can we tackle this? What are the practical ways to bring calm and control back into our workflows?

Matt Church, the Australian Motivational Speaker, speaks of “activity before clarity”. The message being to just go and do a lot of work and through lots of discussions, marketing, selling, and delivering, we will gain more and more clarity about our product, the market’s needs, and our value proposition. This makes sense to me. When I first started in field sales for Aveda in the UK as an Account Manager, I was told to make at least 10 client approaches a week to gain new business. This was not always easy, and at the time it was just as much about hitting the weekly KPI in my report as it was about winning business (we’ve all been there, right!?!)

But what happened was I became a lot clearer about my brand’s value, what problems we solved, where we had competitive advantage, and what I was looking for (ie. The type of client, the size of client, the state of a client, and the attitude of a client). Before I knew it, I was hitting the right prospects at the right time and exceeding targets without needing to do anywhere near 10 approaches a week. My weekly report didn’t have the required 10 filled in, but the boss didn’t seem to mind.

What I didn’t realise was that I was going through a long and painful process to answer three questions I didn’t even realise needed answering:

1.       What am I trying to achieve?

If there is one question that smashes professionals in the face and sits them on their back side, it is this. A succinct answer that feels right is hard to nail. It’s like your own mini Mission or Vision Statement. So many organisations have meaningless Mission Statements and vague Vision Statements, so it’s not hard to see why most of us as individuals can’t answer what seems to be such a simple answer. By the way, if your answer this question is “earn $X”, or “sell X units”, you are not even trying…

2.       Why am I doing what I am doing?

 As an Account Manager I used to drive for hours to client’s I knew would waste my time. Yet, I would waste several hours driving and meeting with them. Why? Because I was following the rules I had set up in my mind that didn’t exist. Because I didn’t realise how precious my time was. Because, I wasn’t engaged in my role. Sometimes there is politics involved, or circumstance, or we are being nice. By asking why I am doing the cycles of work I am doing, a lot of unproductive nonsense can be cut out.

3.       What do I need to do next?

The only thing we can do is the next thing. It may be to stop doing something that is not serving us. In my case, I needed to stop driving to client’s hours away that were not going to grow my business. Gary Vanderchuk talks about not wasting time as one of his key sales tactics. “When I know they don’t want to buy from me, I’ll cut the meeting short”, he says. That is one of his key actions that works for him. Consciously asking, ‘what needs to be done next?’ cuts through the aimlessness that causes ineffectual and wasteful workflows.

By asking these questions often, daily if needed, there is a powerful habit that forms to create clarity, purpose, and ongoing rhythm in our workflows.


Stay up-to-date & in-the-know with our regular email newsletter


    1300 467 106


    552 Victoria St, 
    North Melbourne VIC 3051

    Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved.