Digital fitness technology helping to make Britain healthier and more active, TCS research finds

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Digital fitness technology helping to make Britain healthier and more active, TCS research finds

Use of technology and data motivates recreational athletes to train harder and more frequently, according to research from the London Marathon’s Official Technology Partner

LONDON |MUMBAI, 19th April 2016: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the Official Technology Partner of the Virgin Money London Marathon, has today announced the results of the first ever TCS Digital Fitness Survey. The research reveals how the widespread use of fitness applications and wearable technology is boosting the health and activity levels of the British public, ahead of the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 24th April.

TCS (BSE: 532540, NSE: TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, surveyed 2,000 British recreational athletes to examine the impact that digital fitness technologies, such as smartphone applications and wearable fitness trackers, are having on UK’s health and fitness.

Key findings from the research include:

  • 82% of those surveyed now use some kind of fitness technology, including smartphone apps, fitness trackers, wearable devices, GPS trackers and heart-rate monitors
  • Three quarters of those surveyed say they exercise more since using fitness technology; one in ten say they exercise at least twice as frequently, with a quarter exercising at least once more per week
  • Four in ten people say that since using fitness technology to track activity, they will take the stairs instead of using a lift or escalator. Women are significantly more likely to do this (49%) than men (37%)
  • The survey found that men are likely to spend more than women. The average male runner has spent £93 on fitness technology overall, compared to £72 for the average female
  • Despite a perception that fitness technology is used to brag about exercise on social media, just 18% of respondents said that they have shared their fitness data on social media: men are more likely to do this than women (21% compared to 16%)
  • One in ten people have put their fitness tracker on their pet to make it look like they have taken more steps or travelled further; equally, 10% of people admit to putting their fitness tracker on a child to boost their statistics

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, former Paralympic and London Marathon champion and a Director of London Marathon Events Ltd, commented on the findings, “Technology has always been important in elite sport but in recent years there has been a revolution in the kind of digital tools available to recreational athletes. The research from TCS suggests that these fitness technologies are having a real, and hugely positive, impact on people’s health and fitness. Being able to track and analyze their own fitness data is motivating people to exercise more regularly and to become more active. This can only be a good thing – even if a small minority do admit to using their children or family pets to artificially boost their stats!”

Shankar Narayanan, Country Head, UK & Ireland, TCS, commented, “At TCS, we believe that sport is a fantastic example of how digital technology can fundamentally transform all aspects of society. Social media, smartphone applications, fitness trackers and wearables are combining to give amateur athletes a wealth of data and insight to help guide their preparation and boost performance. The Virgin Money London Marathon is already a leader in the use of digital technology and as Official Technology Partner we will be working closely with them to further enhance the digital experience of the race both for the participants and the millions of supporters that follow the event, in London and across the world.”

Detailed findings:

The majority of recreational athletes in the UK now use some form of digital fitness technology:

  • 82% of those surveyed now use some kind of fitness technology, including smartphone apps, fitness trackers, wearable devices, GPS trackers and heart-rate monitors
  • Wearable fitness trackers are now a mainstream technology with more than one in three (37%) using one. Smart watches are less commonly used; just under one in five (18%) respondents use them while exercising
  • Running apps are the most commonly used fitness technology with 44% using them; mobile apps are most popular with 25-34 year olds, with more than half (52%) of respondents in that age group using them
  • On average, British runners have two pieces of fitness technology each;  62% of respondents said they use two or more devices

Using fitness technology has a positive impact on behaviour:

  • The vast majority of those surveyed (93%) said that using fitness technology has led to a change in their health and fitness behaviour
  • Three quarters of those surveyed (74%) say they exercise more since using fitness technology; one in ten (10%) say they exercise at least twice as frequently, with a quarter (26%) exercising at least once more per week
  • 59% say that fitness technology motivates them to train harder, with 57% saying that it motivates them to exercise more regularly.

Fitness technology is also encouraging people to be more active in their daily lives:

  • Four in ten (43%) people say that since using fitness technology to track activity, they will take the stairs instead of using a lift or escalator. Women are significantly more likely to do this (49%) than men (37%)
  • 41% say they will walk when they can, rather than driving or taking public transport and 31% say that they will exercise or go to the gym more regularly

Data on personal performance is the biggest motivator:

  • 62% of those surveyed find using fitness technology to be a motivator, although the types of data used to motivate themselves varies
  • The most common use for fitness technology is tracking distance covered (71%), followed by tracking calories (57%). 53% of people track their steps and 52% track their speed
  • The research found that women are more likely to use technology to keep track of their calories, with 66% using fitness technology for this purpose, compared to 57% of men. 45% of women say that tracking the number of calories is most important to them, compared to just 30% of men
  • Older people are most likely to use fitness technology to track their heart-rate; 29% of over 55s do this, compared to the average of 21%
  • Despite a perception that fitness technology is used to brag about exercise on social media, just 18% of respondents said that have shared their fitness data on social media: men are more likely to do this than women (21% compared to 16%)
  • Competition against others is also not seen as a major reason to use fitness technology; just 14% of people used it for this reason, although men were more likely to do so (16% of men compared to 12% of women)

Better, more personalised data is the innovation that respondents would most like to see in the future:

  • 40% would like fitness technology to be able to give them personalised health data, such as bespoke nutritional advice based on performance; this is particularly popular with women (44%, compared to 35% for men)
  • Better data is more popular than the Internet of Things (36%), Artificial Intelligence (29%) or Augmented Reality technology (29%)
  • One in three people (32%) would like to use Virtual Reality headsets to simulate different locations while training; 13% of people would be interested in using a drone to allow them to livestream a video of their run

Fitness technology does also lead to some strange behaviour:

  • 13% of people have given their fitness tracker to someone else in order to boost their figures and make it look like they have exercised more
  • One in ten people (10%) have put their fitness tracker on their pet to make it look like they have taken more steps or travelled further; equally, 10% of people admit to putting their fitness tracker on a child to boost their statistics
  • More than one in five people (21%) have run around their house or bedroom to hit their daily targets before going to bed; this is more common for women, with one in four (25%) doing so, compared to 16% of men
  • 7% of respondents admitted that they have decided not to exercise or go to the gym because they had forgotten to wear their fitness tracker that day

Fitness technology is big business:

  • The average recreational athlete in the UK has spent £83 on fitness technology in total, and they plan to keep spending in the next 12 months; the average expected spend digital fitness apps and devices in the coming year is £56
  • The survey found that men are likely to spend more than women. The average male runner has – in total – spent £93 on fitness technology, compared to £72 for the average female. Looking ahead at tech purchases within the next 12 months, men expect to spend £64 on fitness technology compared to £48 for women
  • More than half (51%) of runners will spend more than £40 on fitness technology in the next twelve months; 17% will spend over £100

Background information:
The 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon takes place on Sunday 24 April 2016. First established in 1981, and part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, the Virgin Money London Marathon is considered one of the world’s foremost marathons. A record total of 247,069 people entered the ballot for the 2016 race, with over 37,000 runners expected to take part on Sunday 24th April. This year’s race is also set to see a major milestone, with the London Marathon’s one millionth finishercrossing the finish line on The Mall. TCS will be the race’s Official Technology Partner for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 events.

With a workforce of more than 11,000 people in the UK, TCS is one of the country’s leading digital employers. The company has offices in more than 30 UK locations, including London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough and Liverpool. These sites help to deliver digital projects for more than 150 TCS customers in the UK, including Boots, BT, Diageo, National Grid, Nationwide, NEST, Marks & Spencer, Thames Water and Virgin Atlantic.

About the research
The TCS Digital Fitness Survey is based on a survey of 2,000 UK recreational runners. The fieldwork was conducted by Censuswide in March 2016.

About Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS)
Tata Consultancy Services is an IT servicesconsulting and business solutions organization that delivers real results to global business, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match. TCS offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of ITBPS,infrastructureengineering and assurance services. This is delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery Model™, recognized as the benchmark of excellence in software development. A part of the Tata group, India’s largest industrial conglomerate, TCS has over 353,000 of the world’s best-trained consultants in 46 countries. The company generated consolidated revenues of US $16.5 billion for year ended March 31, 2016 and is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India. For more information, visit us at www.tcs.com.

For TCS global news, follow @TCS_News.

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