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Deloitte report: European fitness sector 'growing rapidly'

As reported in HCM earlier this month, the European health and fitness market continued to grow strongly in 2018, as the total number of health club members increased by 3.5 per cent to 62.2 million.

The figures come from the latest European Health and Fitness Market Report, which has now been published in full by Deloitte and EuropeActive.

The number of facilities on the old continent increased by 4.6 per cent to 61,984 during the year, resulting in total fitness club revenues reaching €27.2bn (US$30.5bn, £23.4bn) a 3.4 per cent increase on 2017.

Other topline findings include that consolidation continues in the sector, with merger and acquisition activity reaching a new high during 2018.

The report cites 24 major transactions in the operator market, resulting in the top 30 European fitness club operators now accounting for 15.4 million members – representing 24.8 per cent of all membership, an 11.2 per cent increase on the share they held in 2017.

In terms of market penetration, 7.8 per cent of the total population were health or fitness club members, with a penetration rate of 9.4 per cent for people aged 15 years and older.

The country with the highest penetration rate in 2018 was Sweden, with 21.6 per cent of the total population holding a fitness club membership.

Other countries with high fitness club penetration include Norway (21.4 per cent), Denmark (18.6 per cent), the Netherlands (17.1 per cent), Finland (17.0 per cent) and the UK (14.9 per cent).

With 1.95 million members, McFIT remained the largest European operator when ranked by size of membership, ahead of Basic-Fit (1.84 million), Pure Gym (1.01 million), The Gym Group (0.72 million), and clever fit (0.72 million).

Basic-Fit – which operates 630 clubs across the Benelux countries, Spain and France – reported the highest year-on-year membership growth in the market with 316,000.

“2018 was another year of continued growth for the sector," said Herman Rutgers, EuropeActive Board member and co-author of the report.

"It was interesting to see positive developments across all market segments; value, premium as well as some mid-market operators. Additionally, we saw more small and medium-sized facilities opening closer to where people live and work, making fitness even more accessible for all. We remain confident to reach the industry goal of 80 million members by 2025.”

The European Health & Fitness Market Report, which is published annually by EuropeActive in cooperation with Deloitte, analyses the European health and fitness industry.

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