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press release: ukactive

Private fitness operators report 10.2% growth in memberships since 2022 as ukactive and 4GLOBAL publish first Private Sector Benchmarking report

02 Apr 2024
Membership revenue across the period rose by 22.4% / Shutterstock.com / NDAB Creativity
ukactive and 4GLOBAL have published the first annual Private Sector Benchmarking report, which represents the most accurate picture yet of the scale and impact of privately operated fitness facilities** within the UK.

The report is based on data collected in 2022 and 2023 from 12 private operators, representing 1,089 privately operated fitness and leisure facilities, showing the total number of clubs, number of members and membership revenue, as tracked each quarter.

Key findings (January 2022 – December 2023, with quarters based on calendar year):

  • A net of 78 new clubs opened across the UK, representing a growth rate of 7.7%.
  • The greatest quarterly growth was seen between Q3 2022 and Q4 2022, with a net of 27 new clubs opening.
  • The number of members between Q1 2022 and Q4 2023 increased by 345,958 (10.2%).
  • Membership revenue across the same period rose by 22.4%.


The growth in the number of facilities shows the resilience and determination of operators to invest in new sites and reach more communities with their services, despite the operational pressures faced.

The data indicates that despite the cost-of-living crisis, positive consumer habits are still being seen within private sector gym memberships, with consumers renewing or taking out memberships as they prioritise their physical and mental health. The sector offers a broad range of membership prices and packages, with options to suit all budgets.

Higher revenue growth may have been driven by inflation-linked price increases in response to operational cost pressures, after the energy crisis caused some operators’ bills to rise by up to 200%.

The Private Sector Benchmarking project began in 2021 when facilities reopened following the COVID-19 pandemic, with ukactive and 4GLOBAL collecting quarterly performance data from participating ukactive members to generate an accurate picture of the private sector’s performance.

The first report details how the Private Sector Benchmarking project will collect data and the benefit it will bring to participating members.

Operators taking part will receive access to a private 4GLOBAL dashboard, where they can track their performance and benchmark this against sector averages on a quarterly basis. They will be able use the data and insights to help support their strategies and growth, based on emerging market trends.

For organisations that operate across Europe, the project aligns with the European DataHub project that benchmarks organisations across the continent.

While operator-specific detail will remain private and confidential, the aggregated findings within the report will be used to support ukactive’s research and lobbying work, demonstrating to the Government, decision-makers and investors, the scale and impact of the sector. With the sample expected to grow over time as more operators contribute, the value of the insights it provides will increase.

As announced at the Active Uprising conference by ukactive Chair Mike Farrar, ukactive, 4GLOBAL and Sport England will work together to combine the findings of the Private Sector Benchmarking project and the Moving Communities platform, which reports data from public leisure operators across England. The partners will also explore ways to replicate the data collection across the devolved nations. The collaboration means that for the first time, the sector will have access to accurate quarterly reporting of data and insights.

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “These findings provide irrefutable evidence that people want to be more physically active and are prioritising their health and wellbeing by using gyms, pools, and leisure facilities.

“This data is essential in helping show the Government and policymakers the value and potential of the physical activity sector and its role in addressing some of the nation’s biggest challenges, in terms of public health and economic growth. Indeed, in a General Election year the credibility of the public health plans from all the main political parties will be dependent on how they plan to leverage the full potential of these facilities.

“Our Private Sector Benchmarking means private operators can now track and benchmark their performance on a quarterly basis against sector averages, helping to better identify trends and insights that can support the overall growth of the sector.

“We’re proud to be working with 4GLOBAL and we’re encouraging all our private operator members to make the most of this new platform so we can continue to use data and insight to give our sector the foundation it deserves to grow and succeed.”

Dr Matthew Wade, Head of Research and Development at ukactive, said: “The need for high-quality data and insight is fundamental in fully understanding and demonstrating the scale, impact, and value of the UK fitness and leisure sector.

“By collecting quarterly data and encouraging our members to get involved and share their data, we are creating an accurate picture of how the sector is performing, leading to valuable insights that will help members make operational decisions and understand the real value our sector brings.”

Utku Toprakseven, Chief Development Officer at 4GLOBAL, said: “At 4GLOBAL, we are immensely proud to be at the forefront of a remarkable digital transformation journey within the health and fitness industry.

“Our collaboration with ukactive and our esteemed sector members in creating the ukactive Private Sector Benchmarking platform marks a pivotal step towards a more data-driven and insightful future.

“The platform, powered by the DataHub infrastructure, unlocks and facilitates key insights about the sector’s performance in clubs, memberships and income, providing invaluable benchmarks to participating operators.

“As we launch this milestone report, it is a privilege to witness the tangible growth and resilience of our sector, underpinned by robust data and analytics.”

The Private Sector Benchmarking Report is available to read here.

To receive the quarterly reports and access to the personalised dashboard for your organisation, please contact: [email protected]

*Twelve private sector operators, representing 1,089 sites, have been providing quarterly data including the number of facilities, number of members, and total member income with 4GLOBAL through secure data transfer processes.

**Data within this report is collected from multi-site private operated fitness facilities.
More press releases and updates from ukactive:
A shared mission to enhance industry standards has been announced (on 9 April) as part of a landmark collaboration between the physical activity sector’s leading bodies.
The Chancellor said there can be no “solid growth without solid finances”, but we know there can be no growth without improved health too. The announcements yesterday will do little to move the dial on physical activity levels nor unlock the potential of our sector to contribute to wider Government policy priorities.
The Spring Budget is ordinarily one of the Government’s biggest milestones within the year. It features the Government’s financial interventions, such as tax cuts/rises and spending commitment, as well as signalling the direction of travel for the year ahead.
Politicians across the UK have signed up to a new health challenge starting on 1 March, called ‘Fit for Office’, which encourages them to recognise the benefits of physical activity for themselves and the communities they serve.
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, discusses the ‘Fit for Office’ Parliamentary challenge taking place in March in partnership with Myzone.
ukactive: news from HCMmag.com and FitTechGlobal.com
The first annual Private Sector Benchmarking report was released today (27 March). A collaboration between UK Active and 4Global, the aim of the research is to provide accurate insight into the state of UK-based private sector health clubs.
In a soft power exercise, politicians in the UK have been invited to take part in a challenge which encourages them to be more active, while raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity.
Mike Farrar, chair of UK Active, has called on the UK government to deploy the physical activity sector to support the NHS and tackle the UK’s pandemic of poor health and sluggish economy.
Physiotherapy patients are being offered treatment in leisure centres thanks to a tie-up between London hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’s and local operators, with the arrangement brokered by UK Active as part of its MSK pilots initiative.
ukactive: featured in HCM and Fit Tech magazines
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Remember when there was mass hostility about London hosting the 2012 Olympics? Huw Edwards, CEO of UK Active, was there. He talks to Kath Hudson about the lessons he learned
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ukactive
Tel: 020 8158 9700
Address: The Bloomsbury Building, 10 Bloomsbury Way, London, WC1A 2SL, United Kingdom
Huw Edwards, CEO
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ukactive press release: Private fitness operators report 10.2% growth in memberships since 2022 as ukactive and 4GLOBAL publish first Private Sector Benchmarking report
ukactive and 4GLOBAL have published the first annual Private Sector Benchmarking report, which represents the most accurate picture yet of the scale and impact of privately operated fitness facilities** within the UK.
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press release: ukactive

Private fitness operators report 10.2% growth in memberships since 2022 as ukactive and 4GLOBAL publish first Private Sector Benchmarking report

02 Apr 2024
Membership revenue across the period rose by 22.4% / Shutterstock.com / NDAB Creativity
ukactive and 4GLOBAL have published the first annual Private Sector Benchmarking report, which represents the most accurate picture yet of the scale and impact of privately operated fitness facilities** within the UK.

The report is based on data collected in 2022 and 2023 from 12 private operators, representing 1,089 privately operated fitness and leisure facilities, showing the total number of clubs, number of members and membership revenue, as tracked each quarter.

Key findings (January 2022 – December 2023, with quarters based on calendar year):

  • A net of 78 new clubs opened across the UK, representing a growth rate of 7.7%.
  • The greatest quarterly growth was seen between Q3 2022 and Q4 2022, with a net of 27 new clubs opening.
  • The number of members between Q1 2022 and Q4 2023 increased by 345,958 (10.2%).
  • Membership revenue across the same period rose by 22.4%.


The growth in the number of facilities shows the resilience and determination of operators to invest in new sites and reach more communities with their services, despite the operational pressures faced.

The data indicates that despite the cost-of-living crisis, positive consumer habits are still being seen within private sector gym memberships, with consumers renewing or taking out memberships as they prioritise their physical and mental health. The sector offers a broad range of membership prices and packages, with options to suit all budgets.

Higher revenue growth may have been driven by inflation-linked price increases in response to operational cost pressures, after the energy crisis caused some operators’ bills to rise by up to 200%.

The Private Sector Benchmarking project began in 2021 when facilities reopened following the COVID-19 pandemic, with ukactive and 4GLOBAL collecting quarterly performance data from participating ukactive members to generate an accurate picture of the private sector’s performance.

The first report details how the Private Sector Benchmarking project will collect data and the benefit it will bring to participating members.

Operators taking part will receive access to a private 4GLOBAL dashboard, where they can track their performance and benchmark this against sector averages on a quarterly basis. They will be able use the data and insights to help support their strategies and growth, based on emerging market trends.

For organisations that operate across Europe, the project aligns with the European DataHub project that benchmarks organisations across the continent.

While operator-specific detail will remain private and confidential, the aggregated findings within the report will be used to support ukactive’s research and lobbying work, demonstrating to the Government, decision-makers and investors, the scale and impact of the sector. With the sample expected to grow over time as more operators contribute, the value of the insights it provides will increase.

As announced at the Active Uprising conference by ukactive Chair Mike Farrar, ukactive, 4GLOBAL and Sport England will work together to combine the findings of the Private Sector Benchmarking project and the Moving Communities platform, which reports data from public leisure operators across England. The partners will also explore ways to replicate the data collection across the devolved nations. The collaboration means that for the first time, the sector will have access to accurate quarterly reporting of data and insights.

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “These findings provide irrefutable evidence that people want to be more physically active and are prioritising their health and wellbeing by using gyms, pools, and leisure facilities.

“This data is essential in helping show the Government and policymakers the value and potential of the physical activity sector and its role in addressing some of the nation’s biggest challenges, in terms of public health and economic growth. Indeed, in a General Election year the credibility of the public health plans from all the main political parties will be dependent on how they plan to leverage the full potential of these facilities.

“Our Private Sector Benchmarking means private operators can now track and benchmark their performance on a quarterly basis against sector averages, helping to better identify trends and insights that can support the overall growth of the sector.

“We’re proud to be working with 4GLOBAL and we’re encouraging all our private operator members to make the most of this new platform so we can continue to use data and insight to give our sector the foundation it deserves to grow and succeed.”

Dr Matthew Wade, Head of Research and Development at ukactive, said: “The need for high-quality data and insight is fundamental in fully understanding and demonstrating the scale, impact, and value of the UK fitness and leisure sector.

“By collecting quarterly data and encouraging our members to get involved and share their data, we are creating an accurate picture of how the sector is performing, leading to valuable insights that will help members make operational decisions and understand the real value our sector brings.”

Utku Toprakseven, Chief Development Officer at 4GLOBAL, said: “At 4GLOBAL, we are immensely proud to be at the forefront of a remarkable digital transformation journey within the health and fitness industry.

“Our collaboration with ukactive and our esteemed sector members in creating the ukactive Private Sector Benchmarking platform marks a pivotal step towards a more data-driven and insightful future.

“The platform, powered by the DataHub infrastructure, unlocks and facilitates key insights about the sector’s performance in clubs, memberships and income, providing invaluable benchmarks to participating operators.

“As we launch this milestone report, it is a privilege to witness the tangible growth and resilience of our sector, underpinned by robust data and analytics.”

The Private Sector Benchmarking Report is available to read here.

To receive the quarterly reports and access to the personalised dashboard for your organisation, please contact: [email protected]

*Twelve private sector operators, representing 1,089 sites, have been providing quarterly data including the number of facilities, number of members, and total member income with 4GLOBAL through secure data transfer processes.

**Data within this report is collected from multi-site private operated fitness facilities.
More press releases and updates from ukactive:
A shared mission to enhance industry standards has been announced (on 9 April) as part of a landmark collaboration between the physical activity sector’s leading bodies.
The Chancellor said there can be no “solid growth without solid finances”, but we know there can be no growth without improved health too. The announcements yesterday will do little to move the dial on physical activity levels nor unlock the potential of our sector to contribute to wider Government policy priorities.
The Spring Budget is ordinarily one of the Government’s biggest milestones within the year. It features the Government’s financial interventions, such as tax cuts/rises and spending commitment, as well as signalling the direction of travel for the year ahead.
Politicians across the UK have signed up to a new health challenge starting on 1 March, called ‘Fit for Office’, which encourages them to recognise the benefits of physical activity for themselves and the communities they serve.
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, discusses the ‘Fit for Office’ Parliamentary challenge taking place in March in partnership with Myzone.
ukactive: news from HCMmag.com and FitTechGlobal.com
The first annual Private Sector Benchmarking report was released today (27 March). A collaboration between UK Active and 4Global, the aim of the research is to provide accurate insight into the state of UK-based private sector health clubs.
In a soft power exercise, politicians in the UK have been invited to take part in a challenge which encourages them to be more active, while raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity.
Mike Farrar, chair of UK Active, has called on the UK government to deploy the physical activity sector to support the NHS and tackle the UK’s pandemic of poor health and sluggish economy.
Physiotherapy patients are being offered treatment in leisure centres thanks to a tie-up between London hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’s and local operators, with the arrangement brokered by UK Active as part of its MSK pilots initiative.
ukactive: featured in HCM and Fit Tech magazines
Life lessons: Huw Edwards
Remember when there was mass hostility about London hosting the 2012 Olympics? Huw Edwards, CEO of UK Active, was there. He talks to Kath Hudson about the lessons he learned
Consumer expectations are rising all the time, but nowhere more than in relation to digital. UK Active’s Dave Gerrish explains how the industry is shaping up
Kath Hudson talks to industry experts from around the world about their key takeaways from last year and their hopes for 2024
Industry insights: Predictions
Time are tough but tough times bring out the best in us. Kath Hudson asks some of the world’s top industry experts where they see the glimpses of blue sky
Life lessons: Dave Courteen
The author, industry veteran, UK Active board member and founder and CEO of Mosaic Spa and Health Clubs talks to Kath Hudson about the challenges of operating a high-end club when low-cost came on the scene
Interview: Mike Farrar
Harnessing the healthcare network to further the fitness sector’s ambitions is the core purpose of UK Active’s new chair, as he explains to Kate Cracknell
ukactive
Tel: 020 8158 9700
Address: The Bloomsbury Building, 10 Bloomsbury Way, London, WC1A 2SL, United Kingdom
Huw Edwards, CEO
ukactive video gallery:
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Mike Farrar, Chair
Huw Edwards, CEO
Steven Scales, Director of Membership and Sector Development
Jack Shakespeare, Director of Research, Policy and Communications
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