Retailers to Target Rock Climbers Who Prefer Moderately Difficult Climbs


The sport of rock climbing is gaining international attention, having been approved for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games. But news headlines about the sport are still dominated by reports of gruesome injuries and near-​death falls. Are rock climbers going out of their way to seek these risks? A new study published in Risk Analysis: An International Journal reveals that decreasing the level of injury risk at a climbing site generates substantial welfare gains for climbers.

Risk of injury or death is an intrinsic part of rock climbing, whether done for sport or recreation, but not all climbers are thrill-​seeking adrenaline junkies. The study, "Valuing the benefits of rock climbing and the welfare gains from decreasing injury risk," shows that these risks can heavily impact where individuals choose to climb.

When deciding on a product or service to purchase, 49.5% of Rock Climbers turn to search engines to do their research, according to AudienceSCAN. Google is the preferred search engine of 94.1% of this audience. However, they're 4% less likely than other adults to go past the first page of results.

Thirty-​two rock climbing sites located throughout Sicily were considered in an online survey distributed to Sicilian climbing groups on Facebook and via mailing lists from several climbing clubs. Ninety climbers completed the survey which asked questions about their place of residence, the number of trips taken to each of the 32 sites, self-​reported climbing ability, experience, preference for sport or traditional climbing, whether they've attended training courses, are members of a club, whether they climb alone and their socioeconomic status. The average climbing ability of the respondents can be described today as handling routes of "moderate" difficulty, the equivalent of a U.S. 5.10 grade.

The results revealed that a greater quantity of single-​pitch routes, higher quality landscape and a lower level of median difficulty all increase the likelihood of climbers visiting the site. A statistical analysis of the responses indicated that the climbers preferred lower risk routes.

Regardless of the difficulty of the climb, it's always important for Rock Climbers to be prepared for the climb. This year, 14.8% of Rock Climbers plan on purchasing travel planning services, according to AudienceSCAN. Nearly 18% plan on buying a wearable fitness tracker, 17.4% want to buy a camera or video camera, and 15.7% plan on hiring a personal trainer. Sporting goods stores can also promote their wares to Rock Climbers to boost their sales.

The researchers concluded that rock climbing sites with more routes and a better scenic view are more likely to be visited. Most notably, they found that climbers are more likely to choose less risky sites. While risk of injury from falling is intrinsic to the nature of the sport, there is a widespread misperception about the sport in part due to the media coverage and National Geographic filming of climber Alex Honnold, who free-​soloed Yosemite Valley's El Capitan. The values for injury risk reductions revealed by this study can be compared to the cost of increasing safety at a site which can be done by replacing old, worn out bolts and decreasing the length of run-​outs.

Rock Climbers are responsive to both digital and traditional ads. Last year, according to AudienceSCAN, Rock Climbers took action after receiving email ads (61.5%), seeing an ad on a daily deals website such as Groupon (62%) and receiving mobile/​text ads (61.8%). They're also 68% more likely than other adults to take action after seeing an outdoor ad, and last year, 71.7% reacted to TV commercials. 

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Analyst, specializing in audience intelligence, at SalesFuel. She also helps to maintain the major accounts and co-​op intelligence databases. As the holder of a Bachelors degree in English from The Ohio State University, Rachel helps the rest of the SalesFuel team with their writing needs.