GET FIT TECH
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of Fit Tech magazine and also get the Fit Tech ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window I've already subscribed!
The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
features

Research round-up: One step ahead

The fitness industry might be growing, but it needs to do even more to achieve future success. David Minton reports

Published in Health Club Handbook 2017 issue 1

William Shakespeare famously said: “We know what we are, but know not what we may be”.

Eloquently spoken personal trainers often recite this quote as their opening line – and I could make the same observation when asked, time and time again: “How big can the fitness industry grow?”

LET’S GET INNOVATIVE
Like all business, timing is everything and this year we’ve seen more innovation than ever before. This has continued to drive growth in the industry for the fourth consecutive year, as detailed in The Leisure Database Company’s (TLDC) State of the Fitness Industry Report 2016.

Last year’s highlights include the combined penetration rate for the public and private fitness sectors in the UK rising from 13.7 per cent to 14.3 per cent; the total number of fitness sites growing from 6,312 to 6,435; and the number of members jumping from 8.8 million to 9.2 million – the first time the UK industry has surpassed nine million members.

Combined, the strong performance in all these areas contributed to the overall market value climbing from £4.3bn in 2015 to £4.4bn in 2016.

BUDGET BRANDS BOOM
Although the disruptive business models of the so-called low-cost brands are primarily responsible for driving this growth, it’s not having an adverse effect on the overall industry value – many have found that the market’s strength allows them to charge above publicity-grabbing ‘teens’ price tags.

These low-cost brands are now responsible for around one-third of all private fitness memberships. The average monthly membership price in this segment also moved from £18.23 in 2015 to £18.77 in 2016, reflecting the strength in latent demand for fitness across these sites.

Benefiting from scale and innovative new in-house systems enabling hour-to-hour and day-to-day business management, these first movers have allowed this sector to grow to more than 450 sites with around two million members within a very short time period. And the low-cost sector has continued to grow in the past year: it saw a huge (41 per cent) increase in the number of clubs in the last 12 months, with an average club membership of 4,118.

Looking to the future, immediate data science and enterprise security software are key to further growth in this sector.

KEY PLAYERS
Some major changes have taken place in the six months since the publication of the 2016 report. Although Pure Gym (which has already opened a further 17 clubs) remains at the top of the fitness operator leader board by number of sites (169), there’s a new entry at the number two slot.

Following a buying spree, which included mostly Virgin Active clubs, Nuffield Health has jumped from fifth to second place, with 112 clubs. It has gained 35 clubs and more than 120,000 new members.

The Gym Group and DLL claim joint fourth spot, after franchise Anytime Fitness, which lies in third place. Both the Gym Group and DLL have 82 sites and similar membership numbers.

It looks like 2016/17 will be the best year yet for the franchise sector: as of end September 2016, Anytime Fitness had opened 22 new clubs, taking its total to 91; Energie Fitness and its low-cost brand Fit4Less had jumped to seventh place with 76 clubs; and Snap Fitness had added six clubs, taking it to 14 sites.

PUBLIC LEADERS
Moving on to the public sector, 2,735 fitness sites collectively account for more than 3.3 million fitness members and an estimated similar number of ‘pay as you go’ customers. Forty-one per cent are now managed by a trust.

For the third year running, the top three public operators by number of gyms are GLL, SLM and Places for People Leisure. Freedom Leisure and Fusion are the only operators to move up the top 10 rankings in the last year: Fusion jumped to fourth; Freedom to sixth.

Last year, for only the second time in six years, the number of closures across the public sector surpassed the number of openings: 49 new gyms opened while 65 closed – a net loss of 16 fitness sites. However, these sites were characterised as smaller gyms (24 per cent smaller than the average), with fewer members (27 per cent fewer than average) and fewer facilities. Without investment, they were never realistically going to compete.

POKEMON GO!
In the past six months, we’ve also experienced Pokémon Go fever, which overnight eclipsed social media platforms. The game achieved a higher number of daily users and longer time periods spent in the app than anything achieved by WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

Although I’m sure it didn’t set out to make more people more active, in just a few weeks it achieved just that. It was fun while it lasted – the latest data shows the craze is waning – but the fitness industry can learn a valuable lesson from Pokémon Go’s popularity: people will take part in more activity if it’s fun, engaging and different.

ONLINE ABSENCE
In this fast-changing world, social media remains a challenging area for fitness brands in their bid to win followers and build quality engagement.

Among the top 20 private fitness brands, Facebook is the most popular platform, reaching just over one million ‘likes’. Twitter is in second place with just over 275,000 followers across the top brands, while the highly engaging Instagram lags behind with only 68,000 followers.

But only half of the top 20 fitness industry brands have a presence – shame on you! To check out who’s leading the way, take a look at The Leisure Database Company’s Social Media Fitness Index Report.

ACTIVE TRACKING
It’s no coincidence that the top four active wear brands – Nike+ Running, Under Armour Record, Adidas Train & Run and Puma’s Pumatrac – are all building fitness communities through activity tracking. Fitness industry brands could grow as quickly if they took advantage of the opportunities and channels available to better connect with their consumers through repeat check-ins for classes, challenges, guest passes and push notifications. One day, my personalised push notification will come!

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Into the fitaverse

Fitness is already among the top three markets in the metaverse, with new technology and partnerships driving real growth and consumer engagement that looks likely to spill over into health clubs, gyms and studios
Fit Tech people

Ali Jawad

Paralympic powerlifter and founder, Accessercise
Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
Fit Tech people

Hannes Sjöblad

MD, DSruptive
We want to give our users an implantable tool that allows them to collect their health data at any time and in any setting
Fit Tech people

Jamie Buck

Co-founder, Active in Time
We created a solution called AiT Voice, which turns digital data into a spoken audio timetable that connects to phone systems
Profile

Fahad Alhagbani: reinventing fitness

The team is young and ambitious, and the awareness of technology is very high. We share trends and out-of-the-box ideas almost every day
Opinion

Building on the blockchain

For small sports teams looking to compete with giants, blockchain can be a secret weapon explains Lars Rensing, CEO of Protokol
Innovation

Bold move

We ended up raising US$7m in venture capital from incredible investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Primetime Partners, and GingerBread Capital
App analysis

Check your form

Sency’s motion analysis technology is allowing users to check their technique as they exercise. Co-founder and CEO Gal Rotman explains how
Profile

New reality

Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR, talks to Fit Tech about taking digital workouts to the next level, with an immersive, virtual reality fitness club
Profile

Sohail Rashid

My vision was to create a platform that could improve the sport for lifters at all levels and attract more people, similar to how Strava, Peloton and Zwift have in other sports
Ageing

Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
App analysis

Going hybrid

Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
Research

Physical activity monitors boost activity levels

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
Fit Tech People

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
Fit Tech People

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
Fit Tech People

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
Fit Tech People

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
More features
PSLT Fitness Solutions manufacture, remanufacture and buy back commercial gym equipment. We supply and maintain ...
FIBO pursues the vision of a strong and healthy society and as a global network ...
Lockers
Salt therapy products
Flooring
Cryotherapy
Digital
08-10 Oct 2024
Malaga - FYCMA, Malaga, Spain
PSLT Fitness Solutions manufacture, remanufacture and buy back commercial gym equipment. We supply and maintain ...
FIBO pursues the vision of a strong and healthy society and as a global network ...
Get Fit Tech
Sign up for the free Fit Tech ezine and breaking news alerts
Sign up
Lockers
Salt therapy products
Flooring
Cryotherapy
Digital
08-10 Oct 2024
Malaga - FYCMA, Malaga, Spain

latest fit tech news

Apple has previewed the upcoming watchOS 11, which has more health and fitness insights and offers more personalisation than ever ...
news • 12 Jun 2024
Noraxon’s next-generation motion capture system, MyoMotion, can be used by PTs to enable custom training programmes, minimise injuries and help ...
news • 11 Jun 2024
New research shows that following social media health influencers motivates young people to exercise more vigorously and eat more fruit ...
news • 28 May 2024
Peloton has secured a critical US$1bn five-year loan to shore up its finances. The loan has repayment terms which are ...
news • 24 May 2024
Peloton Interactive Inc is believed to be working to get its costs under control in a bid to align with ...
news • 08 May 2024
HoloBike, a holographic training bike that simulates trail rides in lifelike 3D, is aiming to push indoor cycling technology up ...
news • 08 May 2024
Xplor Technologies has unveiled a financing solution for small businesses, which aims to counter the traditional lending process and help ...
news • 08 May 2024
Moonbird is a tactile breathing coach, which provides real-time biofeedback, measuring heart rate and heart rate variability. Studies show it ...
news • 02 May 2024
Atlanta-based boutique fitness software company, Xplor Mariana Tek, has kicked off a push for international expansion. Shannon Tracey, VP of ...
news • 18 Apr 2024
Portugese footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, has launched a health and wellness app that harmonises advice on fitness, nutrition and mental wellness ...
news • 05 Apr 2024
More fit tech news
features

Research round-up: One step ahead

The fitness industry might be growing, but it needs to do even more to achieve future success. David Minton reports

Published in Health Club Handbook 2017 issue 1

William Shakespeare famously said: “We know what we are, but know not what we may be”.

Eloquently spoken personal trainers often recite this quote as their opening line – and I could make the same observation when asked, time and time again: “How big can the fitness industry grow?”

LET’S GET INNOVATIVE
Like all business, timing is everything and this year we’ve seen more innovation than ever before. This has continued to drive growth in the industry for the fourth consecutive year, as detailed in The Leisure Database Company’s (TLDC) State of the Fitness Industry Report 2016.

Last year’s highlights include the combined penetration rate for the public and private fitness sectors in the UK rising from 13.7 per cent to 14.3 per cent; the total number of fitness sites growing from 6,312 to 6,435; and the number of members jumping from 8.8 million to 9.2 million – the first time the UK industry has surpassed nine million members.

Combined, the strong performance in all these areas contributed to the overall market value climbing from £4.3bn in 2015 to £4.4bn in 2016.

BUDGET BRANDS BOOM
Although the disruptive business models of the so-called low-cost brands are primarily responsible for driving this growth, it’s not having an adverse effect on the overall industry value – many have found that the market’s strength allows them to charge above publicity-grabbing ‘teens’ price tags.

These low-cost brands are now responsible for around one-third of all private fitness memberships. The average monthly membership price in this segment also moved from £18.23 in 2015 to £18.77 in 2016, reflecting the strength in latent demand for fitness across these sites.

Benefiting from scale and innovative new in-house systems enabling hour-to-hour and day-to-day business management, these first movers have allowed this sector to grow to more than 450 sites with around two million members within a very short time period. And the low-cost sector has continued to grow in the past year: it saw a huge (41 per cent) increase in the number of clubs in the last 12 months, with an average club membership of 4,118.

Looking to the future, immediate data science and enterprise security software are key to further growth in this sector.

KEY PLAYERS
Some major changes have taken place in the six months since the publication of the 2016 report. Although Pure Gym (which has already opened a further 17 clubs) remains at the top of the fitness operator leader board by number of sites (169), there’s a new entry at the number two slot.

Following a buying spree, which included mostly Virgin Active clubs, Nuffield Health has jumped from fifth to second place, with 112 clubs. It has gained 35 clubs and more than 120,000 new members.

The Gym Group and DLL claim joint fourth spot, after franchise Anytime Fitness, which lies in third place. Both the Gym Group and DLL have 82 sites and similar membership numbers.

It looks like 2016/17 will be the best year yet for the franchise sector: as of end September 2016, Anytime Fitness had opened 22 new clubs, taking its total to 91; Energie Fitness and its low-cost brand Fit4Less had jumped to seventh place with 76 clubs; and Snap Fitness had added six clubs, taking it to 14 sites.

PUBLIC LEADERS
Moving on to the public sector, 2,735 fitness sites collectively account for more than 3.3 million fitness members and an estimated similar number of ‘pay as you go’ customers. Forty-one per cent are now managed by a trust.

For the third year running, the top three public operators by number of gyms are GLL, SLM and Places for People Leisure. Freedom Leisure and Fusion are the only operators to move up the top 10 rankings in the last year: Fusion jumped to fourth; Freedom to sixth.

Last year, for only the second time in six years, the number of closures across the public sector surpassed the number of openings: 49 new gyms opened while 65 closed – a net loss of 16 fitness sites. However, these sites were characterised as smaller gyms (24 per cent smaller than the average), with fewer members (27 per cent fewer than average) and fewer facilities. Without investment, they were never realistically going to compete.

POKEMON GO!
In the past six months, we’ve also experienced Pokémon Go fever, which overnight eclipsed social media platforms. The game achieved a higher number of daily users and longer time periods spent in the app than anything achieved by WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

Although I’m sure it didn’t set out to make more people more active, in just a few weeks it achieved just that. It was fun while it lasted – the latest data shows the craze is waning – but the fitness industry can learn a valuable lesson from Pokémon Go’s popularity: people will take part in more activity if it’s fun, engaging and different.

ONLINE ABSENCE
In this fast-changing world, social media remains a challenging area for fitness brands in their bid to win followers and build quality engagement.

Among the top 20 private fitness brands, Facebook is the most popular platform, reaching just over one million ‘likes’. Twitter is in second place with just over 275,000 followers across the top brands, while the highly engaging Instagram lags behind with only 68,000 followers.

But only half of the top 20 fitness industry brands have a presence – shame on you! To check out who’s leading the way, take a look at The Leisure Database Company’s Social Media Fitness Index Report.

ACTIVE TRACKING
It’s no coincidence that the top four active wear brands – Nike+ Running, Under Armour Record, Adidas Train & Run and Puma’s Pumatrac – are all building fitness communities through activity tracking. Fitness industry brands could grow as quickly if they took advantage of the opportunities and channels available to better connect with their consumers through repeat check-ins for classes, challenges, guest passes and push notifications. One day, my personalised push notification will come!

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Into the fitaverse

Fitness is already among the top three markets in the metaverse, with new technology and partnerships driving real growth and consumer engagement that looks likely to spill over into health clubs, gyms and studios
Fit Tech people

Ali Jawad

Paralympic powerlifter and founder, Accessercise
Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
Fit Tech people

Hannes Sjöblad

MD, DSruptive
We want to give our users an implantable tool that allows them to collect their health data at any time and in any setting
Fit Tech people

Jamie Buck

Co-founder, Active in Time
We created a solution called AiT Voice, which turns digital data into a spoken audio timetable that connects to phone systems
Profile

Fahad Alhagbani: reinventing fitness

The team is young and ambitious, and the awareness of technology is very high. We share trends and out-of-the-box ideas almost every day
Opinion

Building on the blockchain

For small sports teams looking to compete with giants, blockchain can be a secret weapon explains Lars Rensing, CEO of Protokol
Innovation

Bold move

We ended up raising US$7m in venture capital from incredible investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Primetime Partners, and GingerBread Capital
App analysis

Check your form

Sency’s motion analysis technology is allowing users to check their technique as they exercise. Co-founder and CEO Gal Rotman explains how
Profile

New reality

Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR, talks to Fit Tech about taking digital workouts to the next level, with an immersive, virtual reality fitness club
Profile

Sohail Rashid

My vision was to create a platform that could improve the sport for lifters at all levels and attract more people, similar to how Strava, Peloton and Zwift have in other sports
Ageing

Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
App analysis

Going hybrid

Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
Research

Physical activity monitors boost activity levels

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
Fit Tech People

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
Fit Tech People

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
Fit Tech People

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
Fit Tech People

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
More features