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Turnover of Top 15 UK gym chains rises 8% in a year to £1.6bn

Tim Woodgates

The turnover of the Top 15 UK gym chains increased 8% last year to £1.61bn, up from £1.49bn in the previous year*, says accountants and business advisors, Moore.
Moore’s research suggests that spending on gyms is far exceeding that of other parts of the leisure industry such as pubs and bars – bucking the current weakness in consumer spending. Consumer spending on recreation and culture activities as a whole has increased by just 3.8% over the last year**.
Moore says one of the key drivers of the success of gyms is that they have been able to grow sales at the both ends of the market, from budget to super premium. This has been achieved by different offerings and pricing options to suit those market segments.
Premium gyms, for example, offer extra benefits, such as spa treatments, restaurants and personal trainers. Whilst budget gyms tend to focus on flexible subscriptions including weekly, monthly, and ‘pay as you play’. 
Many of the fastest growing gyms organise ‘social’ workouts focused on group activity, in addition to traditional services, which tend to be more attractive to younger audiences. Barry’s Bootcamp and Gymbox have made this a key part of their offering.
Moore adds that turnover is also being driven by gyms becoming increasingly innovative in how they deliver their services to consumers. There are now apps that allow members to seamlessly register for classes and track their progress. Some even provide classes that can be downloaded or live-streamed, at an extra cost.
Tim Woodgates, Associate at Moore, says: “The gym and health industry has been very successful at segmenting the market to allow it to maximise sales across all income bands. Gyms that have quickly reacted to the latest trends tend to be the ones driving growth in the sector.”
“Those that have developed the social side of gym going are doing particularly well – especially those that are renowned for group-style workouts. Some of these gyms even have DJs, which is part of the attraction for both experienced gym-goers and the newcomers.” “More and more established gyms are now trying to follow suit.”

Healthier lifestyles help to drive demand for gyms

Moore says that the gym sector is benefiting from the growing desire among consumers, in particular younger millennials, to stay fit and healthy. Going to the gym regularly is now seen a key part of living a healthy lifestyle by many people, in addition to eating well and drinking less alcohol.

Tim Woodgates adds: “UK gym chains are reaping the rewards from the country’s health craze amongst certain elements of the population.”
“The industry has even spawned a new sector of ‘sport-lux’. Employers are also contributing to increased turnover by offering gym memberships as an employment perk.”