UK fitness club market valued at £5.1bn according to new report

Project Fitness UK 2018, the latest report into the fitness club market by Allegra Strategies, has valued the UK industry at £5.1bn, making it the “fastest growing business sector” following a 7.1% increase in value over the last five years.

Serving an estimated 10.2 million members across the private and public sectors in the UK, this latest study predicts a compound annual growth for the market over the next five years of 8.5% in value and a 5% increase in the number of gyms and health clubs.

Between 2013 and 2018, memberships of private facilities rose to 6.9million, coinciding with the number of clubs increasing to 4,400 and despite the number of public sector facilities decreasing to 2,680, memberships improved by over 100,000 to 3.3million.

The market has also seen the substantial growth of a middle ground between the premium and the low-cost operator, according to the study. This is likely to grow further as UK consumers are even more motivated by factors such as value and convenience, with the study finding that 56% of respondents chose their gym or club due to location.

The low-cost sector remains popular with approximately 75 new clubs opening each year, attracting significant numbers of new members, whereas in the top-end sector boutique fitness is expected to continue its steady growth with new, specialised offerings opening all the time. However, this is expected to remain as a small market outside of London.

This remarkable growth comes as a result of significant efforts to publicise the benefits of exercise on physical and mental health, which has been enhanced by several government initiatives, sporting events and technological advancements that have occurred during this period.

With only 17% of the active UK population currently a member of a health club, future trading prospects are predicted to be high. However, the next five years will present significant challenges, with the state of the economy remaining key in influencing consumer demand, while price sensitivity and the increasingly more informed customer will continue to challenge operators of all sizes.

Click here for a full analysis of the Project Fitness UK 2018 report from Health Club Management.