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SOFI 2015 report: More gyms, more members, more money

Technological innovation and an enhanced consumer experience helped the UK health and fitness industry to gain more gyms, more members and a greater market value over the past year, according to the 2015 State of the UK Fitness Industry (SOFI) Report.

Building on the gains recorded in last year’s report, the twelve-month period to the end of March 2015 saw the industry make purposeful progress. There were increases across all three KPIs, as market value jumped 5.4 per cent to £4.3bn, the number of gyms increased by 3.3 per cent to hit 6,312, while membership grew an impressive 5.8 per cent to reach 8.78m. As a result, the penetration rate nudged up half a percentage point to 13.7 per cent – its highest ever level.

Continuing the trend of recent years, low-cost clubs played a key role in driving growth. The low cost market now accounts for 9 per cent of all private clubs, but a huge 24 per cent of the private sector membership. Analysts noted that the strong technology focus of low-cost clubs appears to be forcing other operators to innovate.

David Minton, director of The Leisure Database Company – the firm behind the SOFI report – told Health Club Management: “The results are great news for the industry and finally we have some innovation and fresh thinking coming through; the consumer obviously appreciates the new experiences, as shown by the sharp increase in member numbers and the all-time high penetration rate.”

The figures provide a more positive outlook for the industry than Sport England’s most recent Active People Survey which reported a small drop in the number of people regularly participating in what it defines as the ‘keepfit and gym sector’. However this definition comes with several caveats, whereas the SOFI report is dedicated solely to the health and fitness industry and, as such, is better positioned to provide a more comprehensive picture of its current health.

One area the SOFI report doesn’t yet cover is the growing boutique studio sector, where brands such as Boom Cycle, Heartcore Fitness and 1Rebel. SOFI analysts say these studios are difficult to quantify, as many don’t have members and operate purely on a PAYG basis, however they are looking at ways to incorporate them into future reports.

Without taking into account the launch of several new boutiques, it was still an excellent year for openings, with 191 new gyms coming to market – a 7.9 per cent increase on last year’s figure.

ukactive executive director Steven Ward welcomed the SOFI figures, which he described as “extremely encouraging.”

He told Health Club Management: “As we can see from the increases in the total number of gyms and the number of members, the sector continues to grow and make not only a significant contribution to the health of our nation, but also to the UK economy, further emphasising the true value of the physical activity sector.”

To access the 2015 State of the UK Fitness Industry (SOFI) Report, click here.

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Technological innovation and an enhanced consumer experience helped the UK health and fitness industry to gain more gyms, more members and a greater market value over the past year, according to the 2015 State of the UK Fitness Industry (SOFI) Report.
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SOFI 2015 report: More gyms, more members, more money

Technological innovation and an enhanced consumer experience helped the UK health and fitness industry to gain more gyms, more members and a greater market value over the past year, according to the 2015 State of the UK Fitness Industry (SOFI) Report.

Building on the gains recorded in last year’s report, the twelve-month period to the end of March 2015 saw the industry make purposeful progress. There were increases across all three KPIs, as market value jumped 5.4 per cent to £4.3bn, the number of gyms increased by 3.3 per cent to hit 6,312, while membership grew an impressive 5.8 per cent to reach 8.78m. As a result, the penetration rate nudged up half a percentage point to 13.7 per cent – its highest ever level.

Continuing the trend of recent years, low-cost clubs played a key role in driving growth. The low cost market now accounts for 9 per cent of all private clubs, but a huge 24 per cent of the private sector membership. Analysts noted that the strong technology focus of low-cost clubs appears to be forcing other operators to innovate.

David Minton, director of The Leisure Database Company – the firm behind the SOFI report – told Health Club Management: “The results are great news for the industry and finally we have some innovation and fresh thinking coming through; the consumer obviously appreciates the new experiences, as shown by the sharp increase in member numbers and the all-time high penetration rate.”

The figures provide a more positive outlook for the industry than Sport England’s most recent Active People Survey which reported a small drop in the number of people regularly participating in what it defines as the ‘keepfit and gym sector’. However this definition comes with several caveats, whereas the SOFI report is dedicated solely to the health and fitness industry and, as such, is better positioned to provide a more comprehensive picture of its current health.

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ukactive executive director Steven Ward welcomed the SOFI figures, which he described as “extremely encouraging.”

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To access the 2015 State of the UK Fitness Industry (SOFI) Report, click here.

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Technological innovation and an enhanced consumer experience helped the UK health and fitness industry to gain more gyms, more members and a greater market value over the past year, according to the 2015 State of the UK Fitness Industry (SOFI) Report.
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