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press release: ukactive

Third Digital Futures report shows rewards for operators investing in digital strategy

30 Nov 2023
The report follows a third year of consultation with the fitness and leisure sector / ukactive
Fitness and leisure organisations that make continued investment in digital transformation are moving ahead of the competition, according to findings released today in the third annual Digital Futures report from ukactive and Sport England.

The report follows a third year of consultation with the fitness and leisure sector, providing a measure of how well organisations are embracing digital and highlights the main areas for improvement to digital strategies, services and connections for consumers.

The report presents the fullest picture yet of the sector’s digital maturity levels with a total of 204 fitness, leisure and sports organisations taking part this year including a 12% increase in the number of private operators taking part in 2023.

Since the Digital Futures Consultation began in 2021, participation has doubled each year and this year’s cohort represents more than 2,200 sites across the UK (up from 1,800 in 2022) which serve an estimated 5.5 million members nationwide. For the first time, the consultation also included National Governing Bodies for sports and the Active Partnership Network.

The growth in participation provides greater insight into the digital challenges and opportunities across the sector, meaning ukactive, Sport England and partners can deliver tailored support to enable the sector to continue to advance their digital maturity with the ultimate aim of helping operators to grow participation in physical activity and reduce inequalities.

Key findings:

  • Five operators reached ‘Digital Leader’ status, the pinnacle of the digital maturity and effectiveness index, by scoring 80% or more, compared to three in 2022. Digital Leader typically means an organisation that is already making digital deliver significant business performance and setting the benchmark for peers to follow.

  • Fitness, leisure and sports organisations taking part in the consultation for a second or third time on average scored significantly higher with a 57% digital maturity score (+4% on their previous score), compared to new participants who scored an average of 43%. This suggests continued involvement in the Digital Futures programme leads to an improved digital maturity rating.

  • Of the total sample, UK leisure, fitness and sports organisation scored on average a 47% digital maturity score and leisure and fitness organisations specifically, achieved a score of 51% (the same figure as 2022). The index describes this level (40-59%) as ‘Digital Experimenter’, typically meaning operators are making great strides forward but missing the investment, goal alignment and rapid advances to yield a strong performance.

  • To complete the consultation, organisations answer a set of questions designed by experts at Rewrite Digital, following the same questions as in previous years but this year with the addition of two questions around emerging technologies (such as artificial intelligence/AI) and environmental impact.



In addition, the third year of the programme saw the integration of data from ukactive’s Consumer Engagement and Insights work to provide greater context behind consumer’s preferences that may impact an operators’ digital journey.

The report’s recommendations include how operators can do more to ensure inclusion and accessibility in digitisation to the benefit of all individuals – particularly through personalisation. Work is already underway, with the launch of ukactive’s EDI self-assessment tool to help understand existing levels of inclusion and areas for improvement.

The authors also recommend harnessing the increased wealth of data and insights within the digital space to enrich experiences and provide further commercial opportunities.

The Digital Futures programme is referenced in the Government’s ‘Get Active’ strategy for sport and physical activity, which aims to get 3.5 million more people active by 2030. It highlights the combined work of ukactive, Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy, and the British Chamber of Commerce’s report ‘Digital Revolution Challenge’ on the growth and opportunity presented by emerging technology.

Today’s publication is the third annual report of its kind and is supported by ukactive Strategic Partners, Gladstone, Myzone, EGYM, Les Mills, Technogym, and Xplor and its contribution partners Keepme, Leisure Labs, Perfect Gym, Endurance Zone, Xn and Zoom Media.
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: "It’s great to see more organisations engaging in our Digital Futures programme so we can gain the most accurate picture of where our sector stands in terms of its digital maturity.

"This year’s findings are encouraging and it is clear that participating in this consultation is providing tangible results for operators who are accessing evidence and clear recommendations to enhance their digital strategies.

"By supporting our members’ understanding and progress of digital strategies, we’re helping them to engage customers in new and innovative ways – not only to get more people through the doors, but reducing health inequalities and delivering a more active nation."

Allison Savich, Strategic Lead for Innovation & Digital at Sport England, said: "Digital is absolutely here to stay and it is particularly encouraging, in this third year of building our collective understanding of how best to apply digital to improve the experience of getting active, to see the growing participation numbers in Digital Futures from across the whole system, including NGBs and the Active Partnership network.

"We encourage all our partners to engage with this year’s recommendations, and to prioritise completing the Digital Futures consultation, as the results clearly show that regular review of progress is beneficial to our collective growth.

"The findings will help ensure we can design and provide the right services to help meet our partners’ needs in digital, which in turn helps us to unite together to tackle inequalities and to deliver on the government’s target of getting 3.5 million more people active by 2030."

See the Digital Futures report findings and recommendations in full here.

Use ukactive’s free Digital Maturity and Effectiveness Index Tool here.
More press releases and updates from ukactive:
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, discusses the ‘Fit for Office’ Parliamentary challenge taking place in March in partnership with Myzone.
The leading bodies for the sport, recreation and physical activity sector have made an urgent call to the main political parties and their leaders to pledge to make the UK the most active nation in Europe.
Izzy Wolridge, ukactive’s Events Manager, shares some of the key takeaways from Active Uprising and how the sector came together to focus on ‘Growth, development and improving the health of the nation’.
Mike Farrar, Chair of ukactive and former CEO of the NHS Confederation, has called on the Government to deploy the physical activity sector urgently to help save the NHS and tackle the UK’s pandemic of poor health and sluggish economy.
On Tuesday 16 January, Shadow Sport Minister Stephanie Peacock MP met with the sport and physical activity sector’s representative organisations to discuss how Labour can harness the impact of sport, recreation and physical activity to create a happier, healthier and more prosperous nation in the event of a change of Government.
ukactive: news from HCMmag.com and FitTechGlobal.com
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.
As the UK's political parties set their sights on the general election in 2024, UK Active CEO, Huw Edwards, says there can be no economic growth without better health in the population.
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.
People in the UK are getting the message that health clubs can support and protect their health and now the government needs to get on board by delivering greater support for the sector, says UK Active CEO, Huw Edwards.
ukactive: featured in HCM and Fit Tech magazines
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
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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
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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
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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
Fuel the debate about issues across the industry and share your best practice. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
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: Third Digital Futures report shows rewards for operators investing in digital strategy
Fitness and leisure organisations that make continued investment in digital transformation are moving ahead of the competition, according to findings released today in the third annual Digital Futures report from ukactive and Sport England.
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press release: ukactive

Third Digital Futures report shows rewards for operators investing in digital strategy

30 Nov 2023
The report follows a third year of consultation with the fitness and leisure sector / ukactive
Fitness and leisure organisations that make continued investment in digital transformation are moving ahead of the competition, according to findings released today in the third annual Digital Futures report from ukactive and Sport England.

The report follows a third year of consultation with the fitness and leisure sector, providing a measure of how well organisations are embracing digital and highlights the main areas for improvement to digital strategies, services and connections for consumers.

The report presents the fullest picture yet of the sector’s digital maturity levels with a total of 204 fitness, leisure and sports organisations taking part this year including a 12% increase in the number of private operators taking part in 2023.

Since the Digital Futures Consultation began in 2021, participation has doubled each year and this year’s cohort represents more than 2,200 sites across the UK (up from 1,800 in 2022) which serve an estimated 5.5 million members nationwide. For the first time, the consultation also included National Governing Bodies for sports and the Active Partnership Network.

The growth in participation provides greater insight into the digital challenges and opportunities across the sector, meaning ukactive, Sport England and partners can deliver tailored support to enable the sector to continue to advance their digital maturity with the ultimate aim of helping operators to grow participation in physical activity and reduce inequalities.

Key findings:

  • Five operators reached ‘Digital Leader’ status, the pinnacle of the digital maturity and effectiveness index, by scoring 80% or more, compared to three in 2022. Digital Leader typically means an organisation that is already making digital deliver significant business performance and setting the benchmark for peers to follow.

  • Fitness, leisure and sports organisations taking part in the consultation for a second or third time on average scored significantly higher with a 57% digital maturity score (+4% on their previous score), compared to new participants who scored an average of 43%. This suggests continued involvement in the Digital Futures programme leads to an improved digital maturity rating.

  • Of the total sample, UK leisure, fitness and sports organisation scored on average a 47% digital maturity score and leisure and fitness organisations specifically, achieved a score of 51% (the same figure as 2022). The index describes this level (40-59%) as ‘Digital Experimenter’, typically meaning operators are making great strides forward but missing the investment, goal alignment and rapid advances to yield a strong performance.

  • To complete the consultation, organisations answer a set of questions designed by experts at Rewrite Digital, following the same questions as in previous years but this year with the addition of two questions around emerging technologies (such as artificial intelligence/AI) and environmental impact.



In addition, the third year of the programme saw the integration of data from ukactive’s Consumer Engagement and Insights work to provide greater context behind consumer’s preferences that may impact an operators’ digital journey.

The report’s recommendations include how operators can do more to ensure inclusion and accessibility in digitisation to the benefit of all individuals – particularly through personalisation. Work is already underway, with the launch of ukactive’s EDI self-assessment tool to help understand existing levels of inclusion and areas for improvement.

The authors also recommend harnessing the increased wealth of data and insights within the digital space to enrich experiences and provide further commercial opportunities.

The Digital Futures programme is referenced in the Government’s ‘Get Active’ strategy for sport and physical activity, which aims to get 3.5 million more people active by 2030. It highlights the combined work of ukactive, Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy, and the British Chamber of Commerce’s report ‘Digital Revolution Challenge’ on the growth and opportunity presented by emerging technology.

Today’s publication is the third annual report of its kind and is supported by ukactive Strategic Partners, Gladstone, Myzone, EGYM, Les Mills, Technogym, and Xplor and its contribution partners Keepme, Leisure Labs, Perfect Gym, Endurance Zone, Xn and Zoom Media.
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: "It’s great to see more organisations engaging in our Digital Futures programme so we can gain the most accurate picture of where our sector stands in terms of its digital maturity.

"This year’s findings are encouraging and it is clear that participating in this consultation is providing tangible results for operators who are accessing evidence and clear recommendations to enhance their digital strategies.

"By supporting our members’ understanding and progress of digital strategies, we’re helping them to engage customers in new and innovative ways – not only to get more people through the doors, but reducing health inequalities and delivering a more active nation."

Allison Savich, Strategic Lead for Innovation & Digital at Sport England, said: "Digital is absolutely here to stay and it is particularly encouraging, in this third year of building our collective understanding of how best to apply digital to improve the experience of getting active, to see the growing participation numbers in Digital Futures from across the whole system, including NGBs and the Active Partnership network.

"We encourage all our partners to engage with this year’s recommendations, and to prioritise completing the Digital Futures consultation, as the results clearly show that regular review of progress is beneficial to our collective growth.

"The findings will help ensure we can design and provide the right services to help meet our partners’ needs in digital, which in turn helps us to unite together to tackle inequalities and to deliver on the government’s target of getting 3.5 million more people active by 2030."

See the Digital Futures report findings and recommendations in full here.

Use ukactive’s free Digital Maturity and Effectiveness Index Tool here.
More press releases and updates from ukactive:
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, discusses the ‘Fit for Office’ Parliamentary challenge taking place in March in partnership with Myzone.
The leading bodies for the sport, recreation and physical activity sector have made an urgent call to the main political parties and their leaders to pledge to make the UK the most active nation in Europe.
Izzy Wolridge, ukactive’s Events Manager, shares some of the key takeaways from Active Uprising and how the sector came together to focus on ‘Growth, development and improving the health of the nation’.
Mike Farrar, Chair of ukactive and former CEO of the NHS Confederation, has called on the Government to deploy the physical activity sector urgently to help save the NHS and tackle the UK’s pandemic of poor health and sluggish economy.
On Tuesday 16 January, Shadow Sport Minister Stephanie Peacock MP met with the sport and physical activity sector’s representative organisations to discuss how Labour can harness the impact of sport, recreation and physical activity to create a happier, healthier and more prosperous nation in the event of a change of Government.
ukactive: news from HCMmag.com and FitTechGlobal.com
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.
As the UK's political parties set their sights on the general election in 2024, UK Active CEO, Huw Edwards, says there can be no economic growth without better health in the population.
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.
People in the UK are getting the message that health clubs can support and protect their health and now the government needs to get on board by delivering greater support for the sector, says UK Active CEO, Huw Edwards.
ukactive: featured in HCM and Fit Tech magazines
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
Fuel the debate about issues across the industry and share your best practice. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
ukactive
Tel: 020 8158 9700
Address: The Bloomsbury Building, 10 Bloomsbury Way, London, WC1A 2SL, United Kingdom
Huw Edwards, CEO
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