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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

European market review: Going Deutsch

Dirk Kemmerling provides an overview of the German health and fitness market

By Dirk Kemmerling, HMC Health Management Company GmbH | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 4

The German health and fitness market is booming: there were 8.55 million members in 2013 – a rise of 8.1 per cent on 2012, and equating to 10.6 per cent of the total population. The number of clubs was up 4.9 per cent to 7,940, and revenues up 12.1 per cent to €4.55bn (data from DSSV).

This growth is driven primarily by the growth of the budget sector. Surprisingly then, average dues per member per month (including VAT) remains fairly high at around E47 – although as the budget operators take even more market share, this is likely to go down.

And the budget operators do look set to continue their march, offering not only great value for money but also evolution in their product. Market leader McFit, for example, has added studios (three per club) with a stylish Apple-white design, offering a wide range of virtual classes. It has also made its clubs more female-friendly by moving free weights areas into separate rooms.

New challengers in the budget sector even offer instructor-led classes, ladies-only areas and complementary drinks in large (up to 2,800sq m) design-led clubs, manned by increasingly well-educated staff and with convenient joining processes and inductions.

This sector of the market is ‘pulling’ members with its innovation, as opposed to many mid-market operators – lumbered with complicated overhead structures and a flagging quality of offering – who are trying to ‘push’ their products. Unless mid-market clubs offer additional facilities such as pools or large wellness areas, consumers are increasingly questioning why they should pay E50-60 for a monthly membership.

FEMALE FOCUS
Women-only clubs are also strong in Germany, comprising around 9 per cent of all clubs – a number that’s remained stable over the last 10 years. Why? First of all, there’s a demand: 50 per cent of women claim not to like their body, and prefer not to be exposed to the other gender while they work out.

Secondly, the successful women-only clubs understand their market, with an offer that’s tailored to their specific needs: there’s a higher focus on communication, motivation and interaction; club interior design is key; and group exercise is high on the agenda, including mind-body classes. Meanwhile, the marketing speaks direct to the women in a language they appreciate, and with a strong emphasis on the values and philosophy of the company.

With many mixed-gender operators failing to meet these demands, there’s still plenty of opportunity for new entrants to the women-only sector: for example, Women’s Gym Jopp & Jopp, a Berlin chain, opened about eight women-only clubs in the last two and a half years, with an average of 2,300 members per club in the otherwise crowded mid-market sector.

Meanwhile, Mrs.Sporty is an ongoing success story – a German women-only franchise operation that now operates over 550 clubs in eight European markets, but predominantly in Germany. Its recipe for success centres around attracting women over the age of 45 who mostly have never worked out before and who are overweight and out of shape. This market is willing to pay around E45 a month for a simple circuit training and nutritional consultancy offering; if you can meet their needs, they have the money to spend.

Other mixed gender operators are beginning to recognise this and are ‘feminising’ their offering where they can – but really the success stories in this field are those that embrace the female market in all dimensions of the business.

TRENDING NOW
As in other markets, functional training is a strong trend. Fitness First, for example, is investing heavily in its ‘freestyle’ offering and making this the core of its marketing campaigns.

Circuit workouts also continue to have wide appeal, from high-end milon circuits through to high-intensity freestyle circuits that appeal predominantly to younger customers.

Clubs purely offering circuits are growing strongly thanks to their small footprint – less than 200sq m – which allows them to operate in convenient locations. PT studios are also developing along the same lines: sites of 200sq m or less represent an affordable way for PTs to start their own business, often based on functional and EMS equipment.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
Budget operators will continue to expand, bringing new exercisers into their facilities as well as attracting members from mid-market operators.

At the other end of the scale, more premium clubs will arise, offering additional value in the shape of pools, big wellness areas, outdoor spaces and first-class services. Healthcare will be more prominent, with clubs offering highly educated staff as well as specialist measurement and analysis to guide those with health issues. These clubs will be accepted and able to co-operate more closely with the health sector.

Smaller footprint clubs will become more significant as the trend towards convenience of location gathers momentum. Some will emerge as niche products – whether single-sex, focused on a clear customer proposition like pure muscle training or backcare, or standalone mind-body studios.

Functional training will also drive this small club trend, through CrossFit boxes for example – although more operators will look to build concepts like CrossFit and MMA into their full-service clubs.

Integration of nutritional programmes run by competent staff and based on reward systems / gamification will also become a strong factor. And as everywhere around the world, digital interaction will play a huge role through the likes of apps and wearables – all of which will require new management skills and investment strategies.

New builds and refurbs will be based on more professional data analysis upfront as the market gets more and more saturated. But the German market remains highly attractive: witness new international entrants like Migros (ELEMENTS) and Madonna’s Hard Candy Fitness. I’m sure there’s more to come.

How attractive is the German fitness sector as an employer?

“At first sight, the fitness industry in Germany is a very appealing employer. But in reality there are too few employment contracts that are sufficiently well-paid, and few chances for personal development. Many potential employees often have misconceptions about the job, both in terms of job content and the earning potential; they will consequently often move towards other employers in the service and health sectors.

“The fitness industry has to focus on offering more attractive jobs in order not to lose the qualified human resources they require for their businesses to succeed.”

Nicole Capelan, HR specialist and founder of www.medicpro.de

Dirk Kemmerling is owner and MD of HMC Health Management Company GmbH in Germany. Prior to that, he was the authorised signatory, director of operations and business development for Fitness First Germany. He has also owned and operated several fitness clubs. 

Web: www.hmc-germany.com
Email: [email protected]

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Circuit classes – such as milon (above) and freestyle – are popular in Germany
Circuit classes – such as milon (above) and freestyle – are popular in Germany
Female brand Mrs.Sporty developed its offer with tennis star Steffi Graf
Female brand Mrs.Sporty developed its offer with tennis star Steffi Graf
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2014_4market.gif
Dirk Kemmerling gives an overview of Germany's fitness market
Dirk Kemmerling is owner and MD of HMC Health Management Company GmbH in Germany,Dirk Kemmerling, Germany, DSSV, Mrs.Sporty, McFit, budget clubs, women-only, circuits
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates

features

European market review: Going Deutsch

Dirk Kemmerling provides an overview of the German health and fitness market

By Dirk Kemmerling, HMC Health Management Company GmbH | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 4

The German health and fitness market is booming: there were 8.55 million members in 2013 – a rise of 8.1 per cent on 2012, and equating to 10.6 per cent of the total population. The number of clubs was up 4.9 per cent to 7,940, and revenues up 12.1 per cent to €4.55bn (data from DSSV).

This growth is driven primarily by the growth of the budget sector. Surprisingly then, average dues per member per month (including VAT) remains fairly high at around E47 – although as the budget operators take even more market share, this is likely to go down.

And the budget operators do look set to continue their march, offering not only great value for money but also evolution in their product. Market leader McFit, for example, has added studios (three per club) with a stylish Apple-white design, offering a wide range of virtual classes. It has also made its clubs more female-friendly by moving free weights areas into separate rooms.

New challengers in the budget sector even offer instructor-led classes, ladies-only areas and complementary drinks in large (up to 2,800sq m) design-led clubs, manned by increasingly well-educated staff and with convenient joining processes and inductions.

This sector of the market is ‘pulling’ members with its innovation, as opposed to many mid-market operators – lumbered with complicated overhead structures and a flagging quality of offering – who are trying to ‘push’ their products. Unless mid-market clubs offer additional facilities such as pools or large wellness areas, consumers are increasingly questioning why they should pay E50-60 for a monthly membership.

FEMALE FOCUS
Women-only clubs are also strong in Germany, comprising around 9 per cent of all clubs – a number that’s remained stable over the last 10 years. Why? First of all, there’s a demand: 50 per cent of women claim not to like their body, and prefer not to be exposed to the other gender while they work out.

Secondly, the successful women-only clubs understand their market, with an offer that’s tailored to their specific needs: there’s a higher focus on communication, motivation and interaction; club interior design is key; and group exercise is high on the agenda, including mind-body classes. Meanwhile, the marketing speaks direct to the women in a language they appreciate, and with a strong emphasis on the values and philosophy of the company.

With many mixed-gender operators failing to meet these demands, there’s still plenty of opportunity for new entrants to the women-only sector: for example, Women’s Gym Jopp & Jopp, a Berlin chain, opened about eight women-only clubs in the last two and a half years, with an average of 2,300 members per club in the otherwise crowded mid-market sector.

Meanwhile, Mrs.Sporty is an ongoing success story – a German women-only franchise operation that now operates over 550 clubs in eight European markets, but predominantly in Germany. Its recipe for success centres around attracting women over the age of 45 who mostly have never worked out before and who are overweight and out of shape. This market is willing to pay around E45 a month for a simple circuit training and nutritional consultancy offering; if you can meet their needs, they have the money to spend.

Other mixed gender operators are beginning to recognise this and are ‘feminising’ their offering where they can – but really the success stories in this field are those that embrace the female market in all dimensions of the business.

TRENDING NOW
As in other markets, functional training is a strong trend. Fitness First, for example, is investing heavily in its ‘freestyle’ offering and making this the core of its marketing campaigns.

Circuit workouts also continue to have wide appeal, from high-end milon circuits through to high-intensity freestyle circuits that appeal predominantly to younger customers.

Clubs purely offering circuits are growing strongly thanks to their small footprint – less than 200sq m – which allows them to operate in convenient locations. PT studios are also developing along the same lines: sites of 200sq m or less represent an affordable way for PTs to start their own business, often based on functional and EMS equipment.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
Budget operators will continue to expand, bringing new exercisers into their facilities as well as attracting members from mid-market operators.

At the other end of the scale, more premium clubs will arise, offering additional value in the shape of pools, big wellness areas, outdoor spaces and first-class services. Healthcare will be more prominent, with clubs offering highly educated staff as well as specialist measurement and analysis to guide those with health issues. These clubs will be accepted and able to co-operate more closely with the health sector.

Smaller footprint clubs will become more significant as the trend towards convenience of location gathers momentum. Some will emerge as niche products – whether single-sex, focused on a clear customer proposition like pure muscle training or backcare, or standalone mind-body studios.

Functional training will also drive this small club trend, through CrossFit boxes for example – although more operators will look to build concepts like CrossFit and MMA into their full-service clubs.

Integration of nutritional programmes run by competent staff and based on reward systems / gamification will also become a strong factor. And as everywhere around the world, digital interaction will play a huge role through the likes of apps and wearables – all of which will require new management skills and investment strategies.

New builds and refurbs will be based on more professional data analysis upfront as the market gets more and more saturated. But the German market remains highly attractive: witness new international entrants like Migros (ELEMENTS) and Madonna’s Hard Candy Fitness. I’m sure there’s more to come.

How attractive is the German fitness sector as an employer?

“At first sight, the fitness industry in Germany is a very appealing employer. But in reality there are too few employment contracts that are sufficiently well-paid, and few chances for personal development. Many potential employees often have misconceptions about the job, both in terms of job content and the earning potential; they will consequently often move towards other employers in the service and health sectors.

“The fitness industry has to focus on offering more attractive jobs in order not to lose the qualified human resources they require for their businesses to succeed.”

Nicole Capelan, HR specialist and founder of www.medicpro.de

Dirk Kemmerling is owner and MD of HMC Health Management Company GmbH in Germany. Prior to that, he was the authorised signatory, director of operations and business development for Fitness First Germany. He has also owned and operated several fitness clubs. 

Web: www.hmc-germany.com
Email: [email protected]

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Circuit classes – such as milon (above) and freestyle – are popular in Germany
Circuit classes – such as milon (above) and freestyle – are popular in Germany
Female brand Mrs.Sporty developed its offer with tennis star Steffi Graf
Female brand Mrs.Sporty developed its offer with tennis star Steffi Graf
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2014_4market.gif
Dirk Kemmerling gives an overview of Germany's fitness market
Dirk Kemmerling is owner and MD of HMC Health Management Company GmbH in Germany,Dirk Kemmerling, Germany, DSSV, Mrs.Sporty, McFit, budget clubs, women-only, circuits
Latest News
Industry body ukactive has joined the chorus of organisations across a number of sectors calling ...
Latest News
German fitness operator BestFit Group has acquired regional gym chain EuroFit for an undisclosed sum. ...
Latest News
The US fitness industry lost around 58 per cent of its revenues during 2020, due ...
Latest News
Speaking exclusive to HCM, Ralph Scholz and Nathalie Smeeman have confirmed that B2B trade show ...
Latest News
The Pingdemic of people receiving notifications on their phones, telling them to self-isolate because of ...
Latest News
Xponential Fitness has completed its initial public offering (IPO), becoming the second major franchised operator ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has extended its partnership with digital fitness platform Fiit, becoming the first ...
Latest News
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled again and will now take ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: INEOS: The future of hand-sanitising
As gyms begin to reopen, cleanliness and hygiene remain an essential part of ensuring staff and members are confident to return.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: miha bodytec EMS-PT: an irresistible way to boost your in-club offer
Post pandemic, technology continues to shape the way consumers access fitness. Apps and wearables are helping people reach their goals while digital offerings – which grew exponentially during lockdowns – continue to thrive.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Company profiles
Company profile: Quoox
With more than 200 integrated features, Quoox is confident there is a solution for every ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Myzone
Myzone is an innovative heart rate monitor and community engagement tool to track physical activity ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Precor: The power of networking
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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