BENGALURU: Sport has become an important marketing tool in India but many Indians don’t do any physical activity at all never mind play sport, according to a new survey that highlights the time people choose to spend on social media and television.

A survey of 3,924 18-40 year-old respondents across 18 cities, conducted for Puma India, found that one third had not done any physical activity – a definition which included walking, swimming and yoga as well as sport – even once during the previous 12 months.

More than half (57%) had not played any sport during that time. Younger respondents were far more likely to have done so – 70% of 18-21 year-olds for example – but the figure rapidly tailed off as they left college and started working.

The research noted that 58% of those who don’t play any sport cited ‘lack of time’ as the main reason. But the same respondents also spent between four and five hours over the course of a working day on social media, watching TV, personal phone conversations and using various messaging platforms.

And the average number of working hours for those who don’t play was found to be fewer than those who do (4.8 hours vs. 5.4 hours)

India cricket captain Virat Kohli, who last year signed a Rs 100 crore endorsement deal with Puma, expressed shock at the findings. “Technology and social media is gaining preference over health and fitness in our lives – this needs to change,” he said, as he encouraged people to integrate sport into their daily lives.

Three quarters of those who do play sport reported playing in open spaces near their homes, indicating that a lack of infrastructure need not be a barrier.

While Puma is focused on everyday sport, rival Nike has sought specifically to get more young women involved in sport with a music video featuring female athletes that was promoted against top Bollywood YouTube videos.

Adidas, meanwhile, has opted to highlight stories from talented athletes pursuing minority sports.

Sourced from Pitch, Times of India; additional content by WARC staff