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  • Gary Roethenbaugh

Shifting to the positive: latest TBI 2019 Industry Confidence Study

Triathlon Business International (TBI), the industry organisation dedicated to promoting the sport and the business of triathlon, has today announced the results of its fifth annual Industry Confidence Study. Via an extensive survey and analysis process, conducted by MultiSport Research, there are nine main data points that form the basis of the TBI US Industry Confidence Index.

The TBI Confidence Survey was first implemented in January 2015. This provided a baseline for the data gathered in January 2016, 2017, 2018 and now in 2019. Areas that are explored include:

  • Customer demand;

  • Staffing;

  • Annual profits;

  • Business conditions;

  • Competition;

  • Pricing;

  • Growth of triathlon;

  • Growth of other endurance sports;

  • Challenges and opportunities for triathlon;

  • Household finances; and

  • US economic conditions.

Business confidence trends are analyzed to spotlight the areas that show positive and negative attitudes.

This year’s survey showed five positive categories (business conditions, prices, sport of triathlon, customer demand and staffing levels). This represents an increase over last year’s three positive categories (business conditions, prices, staffing and household finances).

"TBI’s fifth annual industry confidence study sees the multisport industry at a turning point,” said Gary Roethenbaugh of MultiSport Research. “Having five out of nine positive categories in this year's 2019 Industry Confidence Index is certainly encouraging. Although we see that challenges do prevail around areas such as profitability, there are signs that the industry is getting primed to return to a growth path.”

“The results of this year’s survey are in line with the conversations heard at our business conference last month in Tempe,” said Dan Empfield, president of TBI and Publisher of “The turnaround in triathlon’s fortunes in North America might be uneven at this point, but we appear to be at an inflection point, and 2019 is likely the beginning of an upcycle across our sport.”

A few of the out-takes of the study include:

  • Customer Demand: This index data point was previously the most positive area (in the 2016 TBI Industry Confidence Survey). Having then lulled, the views on customer demand have picked up. In 2019, this area is back in the positive, just, up 0.4 points on the baseline year of 2015 – with an index score of 100.4.

  • Staffing Levels: The sentiment on staffing has held firm, and this area retains a positive index score this year. The outlook for staffing scores +100.1 in 2019, and is therefore static on the baseline year of 2015. However, staffing has slipped down the index ranking in 2019 to fifth place. It was the third ranked area in the 2017 and the second most positive index data point in 2018.

  • Business Conditions: The sentiment on business conditions was firmly in the bottom half of the ranked industry confidence index back in 2017. With an uplift in 2018, a positive vibe has just been maintained this year. Business conditions saw an index score of 101.5 in 2019. (Although the expectations for business conditions over the next 12 months are positive, this area is down year-on-year versus a 104.2 score in 2018.)

The inaugural Confidence Survey was implemented in January 2015 and provided a baseline for the data gathered in January 2016, 2017, 2018, and now in 2019. Participants in the survey included a cross-section of the sport, including coaches, retailers, manufacturers, event producers, service providers and brand owners.

Survey respondents will receive a summary report of the findings, and TBI members receive the full report including the data sets. Non-members can purchase the full report for US$99.

Survey participants responded to 14 online questions that encompassed their impression of: customer demand; staffing levels; personal/household finances; product/service pricing; profits; growth/business of the sport; business competition; and US economic conditions.

Survey responses were aggregated to create a picture of the 2019 multisport business landscape. This was then compared to the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 data collected for the same questions.

Triathlon Business International is 'the world's leading organisation dedicated to promoting the sport and business of triathlon'. Founded by a coalition of industry leaders, TBI's mission is to leverage the knowledge, talent, and resources of the leaders in triathlon to the benefit of the sport by increasing and retaining advocates of triathlon and fostering a positive image of the sport.

The 2020 annual conference will take place on January 23-25, 2020 at the Mission Palms Resort in Tempe, AZ. To become a member of TBI and receive the full 2019 Business Confidence Study, interested parties can go to TBI’s website.

Founded in 2010, MultiSport Research is a specialist research and consulting firm to the international endurance sport industry. The company was born out of a personal passion for multisport. Immersed in the world of endurance sport, MultiSport Research is committed to delivering the most robust insights on all category trends. The company offers a wide range of services – from market quantification, through to consumer and market research, economic impact studies, product and consumer segmentation, pricing analyses, commercial due diligence, branding and strategy.

MultiSport Research also produces, the dedicated news and information site for the international triathlon & endurance sport industry.

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