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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

Statistics: Bounceback

ukactive, 4global and partners have modelled the likely recovery from the lockdown. Ed Hubbard outlines the numbers

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 5

A new report has revealed the likely timescales and shape of the UK fitness market’s recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown, finding that nearly 90 per cent of users intend to return to the UK’s gyms and leisure centres.

Using live data provided by organisations from across the sector, the new report, The COVID-19 impact report: the fitness and leisure sector’s path to recovery, has provided an unparalleled view of what the next 12 months may look like for the physical activity industry in the UK.

The work, co-authored by ukactive and 4global Consulting, draws on millions of customer visits captured by the DataHub, alongside data points from across the wider sector, including polling from Leisure-net, Sport England and Savanta ComRes, TA6 Alliance, MyCustomerLens and YouGov.

Using this data, it measures the known impact of COVID-19 on the sector, as well as modelling projections for the sector as a whole.

Predicting the future
Future modelling, which predicts throughput after lockdown is relaxed and facilities are allowed to open, takes into consideration potential restrictions, including 50 per cent capacity, no access for participants aged 70 and over, no swimming lessons and no team sports.

Assuming that these restrictions are in place for three months after lockdown ends [assumed as early July for the sake of the model], by the first week of January 2021 it’s estimated that the industry will have stopped ‘recovering’, with throughput reaching a new normal at 2 per cent lower than 2019 levels.

This is estimated to be over 7 per cent lower than the industry would have achieved if COVID-19 had not happened, compared to 2021 projections.

When considering key individual facility types and the same assumed lifting of restrictions three months after lockdown has ended, group exercise is projected to be the most resilient facility type.

Studio throughput returns to 2019 levels by the first week in November 2020, before reaching its ‘new normal’ of 3 per cent higher than 2019 levels, in the first week of January 2021.

Gym and swim facilities are projected to recover more slowly, with throughput to gym facilities projected to reach 2019 levels in the last week of January 2021 before reaching 1 per cent growth by the third week in March. Swimming pools, however, are not projected to achieve 2019 levels, reaching a new normal of -0.2 per cent by the third week of March.

Key headline figures
• The report estimates there will be a ‘loss’ of around 707 million visits to facilities, in the 12 months following the start of lockdown.

• The estimated social value generated by the sector in 2019 was £3.9bn – this could be reduced by £1.7bn in 2020, if restrictions are maintained for three months and £2.1bn if maintained for six months.

• While some facility types show a return to 2019 throughput levels, all of the three key facility types surveyed fail to reach the levels projected for 2020 and 2021, had COVID-19 not happened. These reductions range from 7 per cent for group workout and gym, down to 3 per cent reductions for swimming facilities.

Impact disparities
There’s a huge range of potential permutations for the way things could pan out as the UK navigates out of its current lockdown state. For instance, outputs from the report demonstrate that should restrictions be maintained for six months, rather than the three months modelled above, the recovery of the sector will be slower, with the sector recovery curve taking until the third week in February to stop growing.

Data from the first 11 weeks of 2020 demonstrates the significant impact that COVID-19 had on the sector. It also shows that affluent parts of society with low deprivation levels were impacted less than participants in poorer segments.

Early data from 2020 demonstrates that the sector began the year strongly, with weeks 1-8 outperforming projections by an average of more than 4 per cent. This data, which is supported by the most recent Active Lives data from Sport England, suggests that without COVID-19, the industry was facing a record-breaking year.

As it panned out, the impact of COVID-19 was first felt in week 9, followed by rapid declines in activity through week 10 and week 11, reaching a maximum of 42 per cent less throughput to leisure facilities in the week before lockdown was imposed.

Greatest reduction
Using Mosaic Consumer Profiling, researchers found the groups that had the greatest reduction in activity levels prior to lockdown included ‘transient renters in low-cost accommodation’, ‘elderly adults in specialised accommodation’ and ‘longstanding owners and renters of low-value homes.’

On the other hand, the groups that appeared to be the most ‘resilient’, included ‘high-status households’, ‘professionals renting premium flats’ and ‘thriving families with good incomes’.

Promising findings
Using data collected from the recent Post Lockdown Recovery survey, delivered by Leisure-net Solutions in partnership with Max Associates and 4global, analysis of responses by level of deprivation provides useful insight.

While participants in ‘deprivation groups’ 1-3 were among the fastest to stop using facilities prior to lockdown, 31 per cent of participants in these ‘high deprivation’ groups said they were likely to use facilities more when they reopen, compared to 20 per cent of groups 4-10.

This insight shows that the traditional member base as we know it may be about to change.

It’s clear that when we look at who was fastest to stop exercising in leisure facilities pre-lockdown, those in low socio-economic groups were impacted most significantly by the pandemic. The silver lining here is that these participants are now most willing to return to facilities and build on inspiration generated during lockdown. This could be the starting point of a re-balancing period for our sector.

Building for the future
As the sector continues to plan for re-opening in early July, the focus has intensified on what the industry may look like in the future.

Projections continue to evolve as more data becomes available, with ukactive and 4global committing to refreshing the key insights to ensure organisations have access to the best source of insight to drive future planning.

It’s clear the sector’s path to recovery will take time, with demand recovering quickly before flattening out. The report identifies key points operators can act on to reduce the long-term impact in their locality, such as re-purposing existing facilities and working to restore consumer confidence.

With the hard work in front of us, there remains light at the end of the tunnel; that this crisis could be the catalyst for greater activity rates among hard to reach groups and the people that the sector has, for so long, struggled to engage.

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

Statistics: Bounceback

ukactive, 4global and partners have modelled the likely recovery from the lockdown. Ed Hubbard outlines the numbers

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 5

A new report has revealed the likely timescales and shape of the UK fitness market’s recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown, finding that nearly 90 per cent of users intend to return to the UK’s gyms and leisure centres.

Using live data provided by organisations from across the sector, the new report, The COVID-19 impact report: the fitness and leisure sector’s path to recovery, has provided an unparalleled view of what the next 12 months may look like for the physical activity industry in the UK.

The work, co-authored by ukactive and 4global Consulting, draws on millions of customer visits captured by the DataHub, alongside data points from across the wider sector, including polling from Leisure-net, Sport England and Savanta ComRes, TA6 Alliance, MyCustomerLens and YouGov.

Using this data, it measures the known impact of COVID-19 on the sector, as well as modelling projections for the sector as a whole.

Predicting the future
Future modelling, which predicts throughput after lockdown is relaxed and facilities are allowed to open, takes into consideration potential restrictions, including 50 per cent capacity, no access for participants aged 70 and over, no swimming lessons and no team sports.

Assuming that these restrictions are in place for three months after lockdown ends [assumed as early July for the sake of the model], by the first week of January 2021 it’s estimated that the industry will have stopped ‘recovering’, with throughput reaching a new normal at 2 per cent lower than 2019 levels.

This is estimated to be over 7 per cent lower than the industry would have achieved if COVID-19 had not happened, compared to 2021 projections.

When considering key individual facility types and the same assumed lifting of restrictions three months after lockdown has ended, group exercise is projected to be the most resilient facility type.

Studio throughput returns to 2019 levels by the first week in November 2020, before reaching its ‘new normal’ of 3 per cent higher than 2019 levels, in the first week of January 2021.

Gym and swim facilities are projected to recover more slowly, with throughput to gym facilities projected to reach 2019 levels in the last week of January 2021 before reaching 1 per cent growth by the third week in March. Swimming pools, however, are not projected to achieve 2019 levels, reaching a new normal of -0.2 per cent by the third week of March.

Key headline figures
• The report estimates there will be a ‘loss’ of around 707 million visits to facilities, in the 12 months following the start of lockdown.

• The estimated social value generated by the sector in 2019 was £3.9bn – this could be reduced by £1.7bn in 2020, if restrictions are maintained for three months and £2.1bn if maintained for six months.

• While some facility types show a return to 2019 throughput levels, all of the three key facility types surveyed fail to reach the levels projected for 2020 and 2021, had COVID-19 not happened. These reductions range from 7 per cent for group workout and gym, down to 3 per cent reductions for swimming facilities.

Impact disparities
There’s a huge range of potential permutations for the way things could pan out as the UK navigates out of its current lockdown state. For instance, outputs from the report demonstrate that should restrictions be maintained for six months, rather than the three months modelled above, the recovery of the sector will be slower, with the sector recovery curve taking until the third week in February to stop growing.

Data from the first 11 weeks of 2020 demonstrates the significant impact that COVID-19 had on the sector. It also shows that affluent parts of society with low deprivation levels were impacted less than participants in poorer segments.

Early data from 2020 demonstrates that the sector began the year strongly, with weeks 1-8 outperforming projections by an average of more than 4 per cent. This data, which is supported by the most recent Active Lives data from Sport England, suggests that without COVID-19, the industry was facing a record-breaking year.

As it panned out, the impact of COVID-19 was first felt in week 9, followed by rapid declines in activity through week 10 and week 11, reaching a maximum of 42 per cent less throughput to leisure facilities in the week before lockdown was imposed.

Greatest reduction
Using Mosaic Consumer Profiling, researchers found the groups that had the greatest reduction in activity levels prior to lockdown included ‘transient renters in low-cost accommodation’, ‘elderly adults in specialised accommodation’ and ‘longstanding owners and renters of low-value homes.’

On the other hand, the groups that appeared to be the most ‘resilient’, included ‘high-status households’, ‘professionals renting premium flats’ and ‘thriving families with good incomes’.

Promising findings
Using data collected from the recent Post Lockdown Recovery survey, delivered by Leisure-net Solutions in partnership with Max Associates and 4global, analysis of responses by level of deprivation provides useful insight.

While participants in ‘deprivation groups’ 1-3 were among the fastest to stop using facilities prior to lockdown, 31 per cent of participants in these ‘high deprivation’ groups said they were likely to use facilities more when they reopen, compared to 20 per cent of groups 4-10.

This insight shows that the traditional member base as we know it may be about to change.

It’s clear that when we look at who was fastest to stop exercising in leisure facilities pre-lockdown, those in low socio-economic groups were impacted most significantly by the pandemic. The silver lining here is that these participants are now most willing to return to facilities and build on inspiration generated during lockdown. This could be the starting point of a re-balancing period for our sector.

Building for the future
As the sector continues to plan for re-opening in early July, the focus has intensified on what the industry may look like in the future.

Projections continue to evolve as more data becomes available, with ukactive and 4global committing to refreshing the key insights to ensure organisations have access to the best source of insight to drive future planning.

It’s clear the sector’s path to recovery will take time, with demand recovering quickly before flattening out. The report identifies key points operators can act on to reduce the long-term impact in their locality, such as re-purposing existing facilities and working to restore consumer confidence.

With the hard work in front of us, there remains light at the end of the tunnel; that this crisis could be the catalyst for greater activity rates among hard to reach groups and the people that the sector has, for so long, struggled to engage.

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

Alexa can help you book classes, check trainers’ bios and schedules, find out opening times, and a host of other information
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