17 Aug 2022 World leisure: news, training & property
 
 
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Health Club Management
2022 issue 3

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Leisure Management - Fitronics: Game changing growth

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Fitronics: Game changing growth


The UK health club sector could grow to engage up to 35 per cent of the population, according to a Fitronics study, reports Marc Jones

Fitronics worked with YouGov and Dr Melvyn Hillsdon to understand non-members photo: shutterstock/BGStock72

In recent focus groups, health and fitness operators said they wanted to understand growth opportunities in the market.

As a result, Fitronics commissioned YouGov and Dr Melvyn Hillsdon to carry out a landmark study into non-members to better understand the growth potential of the sector.

A survey of over 2,000 adults was undertaken, designed as a representative sample of the UK population. Research questions focused on gaining insight into important areas, such as the potential for growth, audience size, and the proportion of active and inactive non-members.

Breaking down the sample, 55 per cent had never been a member of a health club, while 30 per cent were lapsed members and 14 per cent were current members.

In addition, 45 per cent were active at or above the recommended government level, 42 per cent were active, but at lower levels than recommended and 13 per cent were inactive.

Key findings
The findings revealed a substantial opportunity to increase membership in the UK fitness market by 10.9m members, taking market penetration from the current level of 14 per cent up to 35 per cent.

For some years, the industry has been focused on attracting the 85 per cent of the UK population who are not yet members of a health club, however, this new research suggests the greatest potential for growth lies in targeting people who are already active but are not members of a gym, health club or leisure centre.

Priorities
Attracting active non-members requires persuading them away from their existing ways of being active and represents a new marketing challenge, especially if the activities they’re engaged with are free.

Within the target group of active non-members, researchers found those who’ve never been a member would be harder to reach than lapsed members, as those who’ve never joined see fewer reasons to do so.

Motivation
Across the entire sample, the main factors that people said would increase the probability of them joining a club were cost and access. However, friendly staff, a range of exercise offerings and peoples’ preferred equipment were also ranked as important.

Across the active non-member sample, people were nine times more likely to say membership was important to them if they thought there would be friendly staff, whereas affordability only doubled the likelihood of them saying membership was important.

Finding a balance
With the growing movement within the industry to reach and nurture inactive non-members, there is –of course – a balance to be struck between delivering social and community value and commercial gains and deliverables.

There is, therefore, an opportunity to focus on, to onboard and to attract active non-members, alongside people in the harder-to-reach non-active market.

More: www.fitronics.com

Get the report

• You’ll be able to download the full Fitronics report from April 2022.

• Part two of this research will explore attitudes, values and behaviours in more depth when it’s published later this year.

• Register your interest using the QR code


Originally published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 3

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