Health and fitness club usage set to grow by 20% in five years

New research from Mintel into the usage of health and fitness clubs in the UK predicts the sector could see a 20% increase in users by 2020, bringing the number of users nationwide to 6.5 million.

The figure is a big hike up from the 1% growth in users between 2011 and 2016. Today the number of users stands at an estimated 5.4 billion, according to Mintel. Consequently, the analyst also predicts a rise in the value of the private health and fitness club market to over £3 billion by 2018, up from an estimated 2.9 billion today, with one in eight Brits a user of such clubs.

Of these, Mintel’s research says 52% of current users visit three or more days a week and 35% use their club one to two days weekly, with 27% said saying they would consider joining a gym in the future. The majority of these would likely be swayed by incentives such as money-back guarantees if they didn’t achieve their fitness goals and cheaper membership costs for new members.

“We’re expecting continuing growth in the number of health and fitness clubs across the UK to make these venues more accessible to more people over the next five years, particularly as the rate of expansion is fastest at the low-cost end of the market. Affordability looks to be a big factor in attracting more young people into the market and is putting these clubs in more direct competition with public leisure centres,” commented David Walmsley, senior leisure analyst at Mintel.

Even when considering those who said they no longer use their gym or health club, Mintel found high levels of satisfaction in terms of users achieving their fitness goals, with 84% of current users and 58% of past users saying they were completely or mostly satisfied with the progress they made during membership. Mintel says this could suggest that price is just as important a factor as perceived benefits for people joining clubs.