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FIA UPDATE


The fitness industry stands strong despite the downward economic trend, reports David Stalker, CEO of the FIA


R


ecent figures from The 2011 State of the UK Fitness Industry report show that the industry has maintained


a total market value of £3.81bn (see also HCM June 11, p8). Despite being the fi rst static


performance in 10 years, achieving an overall fl at performance during this tough period demonstrates how the industry has become an indispensable commodity. While other sectors are declining, we are innovating, infl uencing and improving our service to respond to a challenging economic environment, where newborn consumer expectations are evident. It’s also been a great year for


investment going into the industry. An estimated £250m has been pumped into the public sector through trusts, in-house teams and leisure management companies, and this has increased participation, membership and market value in this sector. A similar level of investment has gone into the high-end and low-cost brands across the private sector.


growth areas Since the start of the recession in 2008, our industry has grown its total market value by 4 per cent and increased the member base by 2 per cent, while


SUMMARY OF KEY FACTS


• Total market value (public and private sectors combined): £3.81bn, sustained from 2010 and up 4 per cent since 2008 • 11.9 per cent of the UK population are members of a health club or publicly- owned fitness facility • Total industry membership base down 0.3 per cent to 7.3 million over the past 12 months – but a 2 per cent increase since 2008 • 149 new public and private fitness facilities opened in the 12 months to 31 March 2011, up from 122 in 2010 and 114 in 2009 • 125 public and private fitness facilities closed in the reported period • Total number of UK fitness facilities: 5,852 – down from 5,885 in 2010 but up by 1.7 per cent since 2008


22


NEWS STATE OF THE INDUSTRY


Health Club Management is the FIA’s Public Affairs Media Partner


Budget chains such as The Gym account for 4 per cent of all members


increasing the number of fitness facilities by 1.7 per cent. A total of 11.9 per cent of the UK population are now registered as members of a health and fitness club or publicly-owned fitness facility. In the past year, there has been a small


but anticipated drop in membership levels (0.3 per cent) and a small net loss of facilities, down from 5,885 to 5,852. However, overall the industry has maintained its strong position, according to the fi gures produced by The Leisure Database Company (TLDC). The performance has been largely


attributed to the public sector, which saw growth across three key performance indicators: an increase in the number of sites open (up 20), a growth in membership numbers (up 2 per cent) and a growth in market value of 5.8 per cent. Public sector operators are going well


beyond their traditional leisure remit and are embracing public health initiatives that deliver on numerous policy agendas. They have benefi ted from a period of sustained investment, improved facilities and enhanced service levels. Intelligent marketing is now packaging a wide range of the additional facilities into an exciting consumer proposition and delivering that right into the heart of community health. Meanwhile, for the fi rst time this year,


emerging low-cost gyms were indexed on the report, demonstrating their impact


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


on the sector. As anticipated, budget gyms have driven an increase in fi tness- only and fi tness-and-studio club openings. The low-cost model now represents 4 per cent of the total number of fi tness members. These clubs’ membership gains are welcomed as a way of growing and developing the industry, expanding the reach of the sector. We fully expect well- run, well-fi nanced models to continue to stimulate the low-cost end of the market.


future potential As our industry evolves away from differentiation based on public versus private sector and towards a market in which the segmentation is more about high-end, low-cost and niche clubs, a clear customer proposition is more important than ever. The ever-more competitive environment brought about by recent acquisitions, both in the UK and in Europe, further drives this need for clear brand propositions. Our industry has matured. It’s


been one of the toughest years in our history, but with increased public health awareness of the importance of physical activity and a three-year industry strategy in place, there’s real opportunity for sector growth ahead. Industry data such as this State of the Industry report is the sort of evidence we need to benchmark and drive the industry forward.


july 2011 © cybertrek 2011


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