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Health Club Management

Health Club Management


Editor's letter: The rise of health and fitness

Consumer expenditure on health, fitness and sport is forecast to grow, while more sedentary leisure-time options are experiencing a decline. It’s all part of a trend towards wellness which is reshaping the world

By Liz Terry, Leisure Media | Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 5
Generation Alpha – raised to exercise and eat right / Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/ Elena Nasledova
Generation Alpha – raised to exercise and eat right / Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/ Elena Nasledova
In ten years, Generation Alpha will be reaching adulthood and when complete, this generation will number a staggering 2 billion people

Good news this month from Deloitte, who predict that as we head into summer, the health and fitness and sports markets will be the only two sectors bucking a downward trend in consumer leisure spending.

Deloitte’s report, Passion for Leisure, UK Leisure Consumer – Q1 2018, predicts spending on ‘going to the gym or playing sport’ and ‘attending live sports events’ will both grow 1 per cent in Q2 2018 when compared with 2017 numbers.

Elsewhere in the more sedentary leisure sectors things are not so rosy, with expected declines of 5 per cent for eating out and drinking in pubs and bars, 4 per cent for ‘other leisure’ (bingo and cinema), 3 per cent for culture and entertainment and 1 per cent each for both gaming and drinking in coffee shops.

In terms of the wider leisure market, Deloitte doesn’t track the spa and wellness or visitor attractions sectors in this report.

These declines are in spite of a general improvement in consumer confidence in Q1, due to easing of inflation, gradual increases in wages and the Brexit transition deal in March.

Deloitte says this is a sign that “consumers are consciously re-evaluating and adjusting their discretionary spending.”

Our take on this good news for the industry is that consumers are prioritising their spending and focusing on ‘essential categories’. Happily, this sees gym and sports spending being classified as fundamentally important, alongside groceries, utilities and transport, rather than being seen as nice-to-have extras, such as eating out.

Generational trends are driving this general drift. Millennials led the charge by prioritising experiences over material possessions and now the coming-of-age of Gen Z – the largest generation ever so far – is further consolidating this direction, due to their interest in all aspects of healthy living.

Gen Zers are more likely to want a green smoothy than a pint of beer and a pilates class than a night in front of the TV.

Look forward ten years and Generation Alpha will be reaching adulthood. These children of the Millennials are being raised by parents more committed to exercising and eating right than other generations and they’re passing these habits on to their kids.

More than 2.5 million members of Generation Alpha are being born every week and when complete, this generation will number a staggering 2 billion people across the world.

So when we see our markets bucking the trend, it isn’t a blip, it’s a long-term shift in human behaviour. No wonder all parts of the health, fitness and wellness markets are attracting such keen interest from investors.

Liz Terry, editor



'Gen Zers are more likely to want a green smoothie than a pint of beer' – HCM editor Liz Terry on the rise of wellness
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