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As the French national soccer team battle it out to win the European football championships, Euro 2012, the latest research has shown that 80 per cent of the French population rarely participate in sports at all.

The study, carried out by Reims Management School’s International Retailing Centre, reveals that 54 per cent of French people declare that they exercise but most of those do so less than three times a week, and therefore are still deemed inactive by the World Health Organisation. Of that 53 per cent, most are men.

According to the respondents to the online survey, who were aged between 18 and 69, the most popular form of exercise was walking (27 per cent), followed by weightlifting and aerobics (both 22 per cent) and swimming (12 per cent).

Adilson Borges, professor of marketing at the centre, says information about sporting activity can lead to more effective marketing campaigns. “For example, knowing the sizes of the different markets allows business to make the best investment decisions. Knowing that walking is the sport most practised by the French can, or should, lead to retailers adjusting their shelf space accordingly. Also, industry can invest more in this market rather than on another, smaller market.”

Just over 500 people responded to the survey.

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