Marketing content containing the word “healthy” is more likely to resonate with consumers when it comes to sports- and fitness-related products and services, according to a new survey released by Phoenix-based ad, PR and digital marketing agency Lavidge.

The survey, which identified the trends driving customer preferences in today’s $70 billion sports marketing industry, found that consumers widely prefer ads aimed at their health and products and services geared toward supporting a healthy lifestyle.

The survey discovered that more than half of respondents (51 percent) said “healthy” was the word they preferred most to describe sports and/or fitness products and services. This was followed by “quality” (47 percent), safe (46 percent), inexpensive (45 percent) and comfortable (42 percent).

Words like “risky,” “daring” and “revolutionary” scored last on the list. “Holistic,” a buzzword that’s taken the health and wellness marketing industry by storm in recent years, didn’t gain very much traction with consumers and was cited by only eight percent as a word they liked to see when sports and/or fitness products and services are described.

Preferred phrases to describe sports and/or fitness products and services.

When it comes to the sports and fitness messages to which consumers are most receptive, 70 percent said they preferred content geared toward helping them maintain a healthy lifestyle, and nearly the same (69 percent) said they preferred phrases aimed at helping them get the most out of their individual ability. More than half (58 percent) said they like phrases that support their fitness goals, and nearly the same amount (57 percent) said they like messages that understand their own personal goals and needs.

An overwhelming majority of respondents (79 percent) said TV ads are the preferred medium for learning about sports- and fitness-related products, services, memberships and events. Surprisingly, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) cited direct mail as their number-one method for receiving sports and fitness marketing messages, while 54 percent listed web ads and 38 percent named social media. Mobile ads were not a top pick, cited by only 18 percent.

Perhaps not surprising, digital media was far more popular among younger respondents looking to learn about sports and fitness. Millennials surveyed said they preferred to receive sports marketing content via social media (84 percent), the Internet (74 percent) or on mobile devices (54 percent).

The survey also found that most consumers take a casual approach when it comes to sports and fitness in their personal lives. Most respondents (29 percent) characterized their level of involvement in sports or workout activities as casual, and listed walking (71 percent), hiking (23 percent) and cardio training (16 percent) as the fitness activities they participate in most regularly. Only 18 percent said they’re actively involved in any specific sport or activity, and only five percent said they’re actively involved in multiple sports or activities.

The survey discovered that most consumers spend more money on gym memberships (an average of $125 a year) than they do on live sporting events, equipment or sports and fitness apparel.

Lavidge’s 2018 Sports Marketing Report polled more than 400 adults living in the Southwest United States (specifically, people living in the Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Albuquerque, Tucson, Las Vegas and San Diego metro areas). The survey was conducted by WestGroup Research during 2018’s second quarter.