2018 LONDON BOUTIQUE STUDIO REPORT - OUT NOW

 
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The 2018 London Boutique Studio Report shows that the London boutique studio market is rapidly expanding. There are 278 boutique studios across the city: 114 HIIT studios, 111 Mind & Body studios and 53 CrossFit studios. They offer over 15k classes each week and at any one time, 9.6k people could be taking part in a class.

The 2018 report highlights that the number of boutique studios has grown by 281% over the last 5 years. 2018 has already seen over 60 new boutique studios open in London (up until 31st October), the highest number yet. This compares to a total of 46 in 2017.

F45 Training, with 21 London studios, is the leading boutique operator (by number of sites). They are the first brand to exceed 20 London locations, after adding 16 new studios in 2018. 

Commenting on the figures, David Minton, Director of LeisureDB said: “The boutique studio trend should come as no surprise; fitness is simply playing catch up to other industries. Retail, hotels, food and drink have been establishing small, hip boutique options for some time. People are prepared to pay a premium to have more of an experience and be part of a tribe. Boutique fitness studios are a part of this movement and are cashing in, particularly in London”.

Summary of Key Facts

  • The number of boutique studios in London is 278.

  • There are 114 HIIT studios, 111 Mind & Body studios and 53 CrossFit studios.

  • 61 studios opened between the period 1st January to 31st October 2018, up from 46 in 2017.

  • There are 15,806 boutique classes on offer across London each week.

  • The total boutique studio capacity across the 278 sites in London is 9,629 people (at any one time).

 

Notes

The London Boutique Studio Report is compiled from the most comprehensive review of the London boutique industry, involving individual contact with all sites and the brands featured. The audit was conducted as of 31st October 2018. The audit and resulting figures are compiled by independent leisure market analysts, LeisureDB, who have been monitoring the performance of the fitness industry for over 30 years. Further details of the report can be found here 2018 London Boutique Studio Report.

Further Information:

LeisureDB

LeisureDB (formerly The Leisure Database Company) is a leading independent database specialist who provides key market intelligence and analysis across the industry. Established over 30 years ago, the company works with a wide range of fitness operators, providing member profiling reports, new site analysis, latent demand estimates, statistics and data licenses.

www.leisuredb.com

enquiries@leisuredb.com

Tel: 020 3735 8491

Aggregators - To aggregate or not to aggregate, that is the question

The health and fitness industry has been slow to adopt aggregators. Are clubs right to be cautious, or are they missing out on business? Kath Hudson finds out more…

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 9

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If you’ve ever used an aggregator service, such as Expedia or lastminute.com, to book a flight or find a holiday, you’ll know from a consumer’s point of view how useful they can be to both find what you want and get a good deal: they make the information transparent and give the benefit of customer reviews, special offers and consolidated services.

However, the health and fitness industry is very different from travel. One’s global, while the other is local. People are motivated to go on holiday, but can be resistant to exercise. Health clubs want to build day-to-day loyalty and relationships, while the travel industry is less concerned with this.

There are a number of other reasons to be cautious, including the fear of losing control of data and the customer base, and concerns about paying a commission to get the same customers or being forced into discounting.

However, if you always do what you always did, you always get what you’ve always had, so if the industry wants to increase penetration rates, it needs to start looking for different ways to mobilise new audiences.

Aggregators bring extra marketing budgets and new technology to the table, which can translate into different customers being brought into the industry, so they’re definitely worth consideration.

If you’re thinking about giving aggregators a go, shop around first. There are a number of different choices in terms of business model and you need to know whether they focus on B2C or B2B.

Choose one that cares about growing the market and as Nishal Desai, co-founder of imin says: “Go forward with your eyes open and hands on the steering wheel. Choose to work with those companies in a way that puts you firmly in control and keeps you there.”

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The benefits of exercising to music

By Chay Westall

Everyone loves listening to music in the gym.

I’ve even arrived at the gym, realised I'd forgotten my earphones and then gone home to get them because the idea of completing an hour workout in silence is just too stressful. 

Have you ever been on a long car journey? Maybe traveling away with a couple of friends that you haven’t seen in a while, have loads to catch each other up on and suddenly you have arrived at the hotel and everyone goes “wow, we’ve arrived already!”

Well, this is due to your perception of time. When you have something to distract you like a conversation with friends, or your favourite music, you perceive time to go faster which brings me to the first benefit of exercising with music...DISTRACTION! No one would turn down the ability to make a 5km run feel like it takes half the time.

Not only does music distract you, it also motivates you to work harder. Listening to a song like Eye of the Tiger to 'get pumped', you can’t help but picture yourself as Rocky doing one-arm press ups, climbing the “Rocky Steps”, and sprinting through the streets of Philly. Let music boost your performance, listen to the words of Eminem's “Lose Yourself” and you’ll smash that 5k row.

 
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Finally, there are the physiological changes that music has on your body:

  • Reduces stress
  • Increases heart rate
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Reduces feelings of fatigue

These changes all speak for themselves. So listen to music! Let it improve your mood and your performance...you won’t regret it!

Chelsea Physic Garden

Yesterday, the LeisureDB team visited the Chelsea Physic Garden, the oldest botanical garden in London, to celebrate David's birthday. 

 
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Chay's 13-minute circuit

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With the days getting shorter and weather getting colder, day-to-day exercises such as walking to the shops will soon be replaced by a quick drive in the car. Instead of having a lovely picnic in the park, you may soon be watching a movie under a blanket.

If you are worried about putting on a few lbs, don't fret! I have you covered. 

Follow this 13-minute circuit, 3 times a week to burn calories and define your muscles over the coming months.

All exercises should be completed at 100% effort with 45 seconds between sets.

Set 1 - 30s Burpees, 30s Jumping Jacks, 30s Mountain Climbers

Set 2 - 30s Jogging, 15s Press Ups, 15s Sit Ups, 15s Squats, 15s Plank

Set 3 - 30s Burpees, 30s Jumping Jacks, 30s Mountain Climbers

Set 4 - 30s Jogging, 15s Press Ups, 15s Sit Ups, 15s Squats, 15s Plank

Set 5 - 20s Lunges, 20s Heel Kicks, 20s Donkey Kicks (Left Leg), 20s Donkey Kicks (Right Leg)

Set 6 - 30s Sit & Reach, 30s Downward Dog, 60s Cat & Cow Stretches

Once you have finished, why not treat yourself to poached eggs on wholemeal toast? This meal will aid recovery and set you up for the rest of the day.

Why not start tomorrow!

Calories and losing weight

By Chay Westall

How many people can say they go a whole day without thinking about calories and losing weight?

Calories are the body's energy source, it fuels you when completing your daily circuit class, and even when walking to the kitchen to make that morning cup of tea. Still we devote so much time to calorie counting…they’re not the enemy, are they?

Well! The last report published by the NHS shows that 26% of the UK’s adult population is obese, up 15% since 1993. Yet the 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report revealed there are 9.9 million fitness members, more than ever before! So why are obesity levels still rising?

The simple matter of the fact is, your body will have plateaued. It has been adapted by three main areas: diet, activity level, and resting metabolic rate, you are the final product. To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you use. Obviously, it can get extremely complicated with what your body needs including: carbohydrates, fats and a whole array of micronutrients.

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Protein seems to be a macronutrient that is commonly over consumed, especially in the fitness industry. If asked, would you know how much protein you need to consume a day? A competing bodybuilder for example, may need to consume around 1.7g of protein per kg of their body weight a day; if that man weighed 80kg, he would need 136g (just under 23 large eggs or 481g of chicken breast).

However, that’s for a bodybuilder, the rest of us only need 0.8-1.2g/kg, and yet, the last national nutrition survey showed that we consume 45-55% more than recommended. With weight gain being a side effect of excess protein, over consumption certainly doesn’t help lower obesity levels.

So, what about all these different diets: low-calorie, low-Carb, vegan… Are they working? They can but only because the calorie intake is less, simple! Despite this, did you know that the weight you lose on extreme low-calorie diets tends to be muscle mass and not fat? Realistically then, you have three options:

  1. Gradually reducing your calorie intake while sticking to the same routine such as snacking on a banana rather than a Bounty.
  2. Maintaining the same diet and increasing activity levels, for example a female going for a brisk 30 minute walk a day, 5-days a week will expend an extra 550 calories.
  3. A little of both.

Everyone knows what foods and drinks are bad for them, you don’t need to look at the contents to figure it out. Make small changes to your diet and lifestyle and you’ll start to notice the difference. 

Sweat by BXR

By Chay Westall

On a sunny Thursday afternoon, the LeisureDB team (plus friends of the company) headed to Anthony Joshua’s BXR gym in Marylebone to experience the new cardio class, Sweat. Utilising cutting-edge technology, this 45-minute VersaClimber session offered us a total body workout. On average, the class burns 8-9 extra calories a minute than the equivalent group cycling sessions…. meaning you could have just over 3 glasses of red wine, and not feel guilty!

 
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Just don’t think for one second that these classes are a walk in the park! It’s rightfully named the “Sweat studio”! The nightclub environment guarantees to have your muscles burning, but at least you’ll complete the class with a grin on your face as you sing and climb to the beat.

Not only can you feel the calories fall away, the engineering and design of the VersaClimber means you are exercising in a way that causes zero stress to the body, unlike running or CrossFit classes.

If you’re tired of the same old circuits or spinning classes, this unique, climbing-based class will definitely mix up your fitness routine!

Give it a go! What have you got to lose?

 
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July: Gym Owner Monthly

Pure Gym and GLL have strengthened their positions as the UK’s leading private and public operators (by number of gyms and members). Pure Gym have become the first operator to reach 200 clubs and impressively passed the 1 million member mark earlier this year. GLL, with 194 gyms, are also likely to break the 200 milestone in the next year.

Source: Gym Owner Monthly

 
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2018 STATE OF THE UK SWIMMING INDUSTRY REPORT - OUT NOW

 
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The 2018 State of the UK Swimming Industry Report reveals that the number of swimming pool sites has remained static over the last 12 months. There has been a marginal increase of 0.1%.

 

Nuffield and GLL remain the UK’s leading private and public swimming operators (by number of sites). Public leisure trust GLL lead the way with 142 swimming centres, followed by Nuffield who have 110 clubs with a swimming pool.

 

Over the twelve-month period to the end of March 2018, the swimming industry has seen fewer new pool facilities built than across the previous year, but there have also been fewer closures.

 

The 2018 report highlights that 84% of the UK population live within 2 miles of one of the 3,161 swimming pool sites.

 

Commenting on the figures, David Minton, Director of LeisureDB said: “It seems all types of water sport participation continues to grow and it’s not just down to global warming and the need to cool off! There is in fact genuine interest in all areas of water based activities and the fitness it can bring. Operators constantly report growth in swimming numbers, lessons and the usage of outdoor pools. However, this report shows that supply is reducing; across the private sector the number of pool sites has fallen from 1,549 in 2010 to 1,467 in 2018, and across the public sector from 1,725 in 2010 to 1,694 in 2018. Although the 22 new swim sites built over the last 12 months will improve the quality of swimming stock for the consumer, the numbers are failing to keep up with demand.”.

 

Summary of Key Facts

  • The number of swimming sites in the UK is up from 3,158 to 3,161 this year.
  • 22 new public and private swimming pool sites opened in the last 12 months, down from 34 in 2017.
  • Public pay and play fees increased by 3% to £4.38.

 

Notes

The State of the UK Swimming Industry Report is compiled from the most comprehensive review of the UK swimming industry, involving individual contact with all sites. The reporting period is the 12 months to 31st March 2018. The audit and resulting figures are compiled by independent leisure market analysts, LeisureDB, who have been monitoring the performance of the fitness and swimming industry for over 30 years. Further details of the report can be found here 2018 State of the UK Swimming Industry Report.

2018 STATE OF THE UK FITNESS INDUSTRY REPORT - OUT NOW

 
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The 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report reveals that the UK health and fitness industry is continuing to strengthen. It has more gyms, more members and a greater market value than ever before. There are over 7,000 gyms in the UK for the first time, total membership is approaching 10 million and market value is just under £5 billion. The penetration rate remains at 14.9%, so 1 in every 7 people in the UK is a member of a gym.

 

The 2018 report highlights that the industry, over the twelve-month period to the end of March 2018, has seen increases of 4.6% in the number of fitness facilities, 2% in the number of members and 2.9% in market value. But the devil is in the detail as the rate of growth is lower than last year; previously the UK saw increases of over 5% in both members and market value. The report also shows distinct differences in the performance of the key metrics between the public and private sectors over the last 12 months. Can the public sector stabilise amid ever increasing competition from the growing private low-cost market? Will the private sector reach the growth rates of the previous year again or is the rise of boutique studios beginning to take effect?

 

Pure Gym and GLL have strengthened their positions as the UK’s leading private and public operators (by number of gyms and members). Pure Gym have become the first operator to reach 200 clubs and impressively passed the 1 million member mark earlier this year. GLL, with 194 gyms, are also likely to break the 200 milestone in the next year.

 

Commenting on the figures, David Minton, Director of LeisureDB said: “After being widely quoted from last year’s report about ‘the golden age of fitness’, I’m sticking to my prediction that the period up to 2020 remains the time for fitness to continue to break all barriers. It has for the past six years, after all; and as the consumer gets more personalisation, localisation, seamless booking and payment options, taking part will become easier. The next challenge will be broader consumer adoption… could we aim for 20% penetration in the UK by 2020?”

 

Summary of Key Facts

  • The number of fitness facilities in the UK is up from 6,728 to 7,038 this year.
  • Total membership grew by 2% to 9.9 million.
  • Total market value increased by 2.9% to £4.9 billion.
  • The UK penetration rate remained at 14.9%, the same as last year.
  • 275 new fitness facilities opened in the last 12 months, up from 272 in 2017.

 

Notes

The State of the UK Fitness Industry Report is compiled from the most comprehensive review of the UK fitness industry, involving individual contact with all sites. The reporting period is the 12 months to 31st March 2018. The audit and resulting figures are compiled by independent leisure market analysts, LeisureDB, who have been monitoring the performance of the fitness industry for over 30 years. Further details of the report can be found here 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report.

Is your fitness obsession driving you into debt?

For some people exercise is a luxury lifestyle they can’t do without — but they also can’t afford

 Dynamic Pilates at Heartcore, £27

Dynamic Pilates at Heartcore, £27

If you want to work out in a walnut-floored boutique studio with an exclusive handful of classmates dripping in Lululemon finery, you must be prepared to pay for the privilege. And it seems that we are. Our fitness expenditure is spiralling, not just in terms of the amount paid for bespoke classes and personal trainers, but on the high-end clothing we wear to them, the £200 running shoes and the entry fees for ever more glamorous endurance challenges.

Where once a designer handbag was an expression of status, now it is your choice of workout and where you do it. So when Prince Harry is spotted heading to the £8,000-a-year KX Gym in Chelsea, London, those who live to work out, rather than work out to live, don’t bat an eyelid. They know how expensive a luxury gym habit can be.

Charlotte Quesnel, a 38-year-old database manager from London, says she made the switch from a regular gym — where the monthly direct debit from her account was £60 — to a boutique studio last year. “It took some serious rebudgeting as it costs me about five times more than I was previously paying, but it’s become part of my lifestyle rather than something I fit in when I have time,” she says.

Quesnel is part of a tribe that puts fitness outlay before all else. Its members prioritise the pursuit of wellness and all it promises — perfect posture, even-keeled emotions and a hoisted butt — even when it puts pressure on their bank balances. I know people who once moaned about their monthly direct debit to a gym, but who now reel off a fitness agenda so extravagant it would rival the training programme of an elite athlete. There are twice-weekly visits to a Pilates teacher, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or boxing sessions at a bespoke gym, runs (often with a trainer), yoga classes and sports massage with a physiotherapist to iron out the inevitable aching muscles.

Fine if they can afford it, but many can’t. Sue Hayward, a personal finance and consumer expert, says that overspending on fitness is common and an increasing contributor to personal debt. “A lot of people are spending too much,” she says.

Among them is Caroline (not her real name) from Guildford whose gym spending escalated to the point where her bank withdrew her debit card. “I went to a gym where I paid £12 a session for classes and was going almost every day,” she says. “As they were HIIT-style strength classes, I needed yoga to help my flexibility and that was £15 a time. Before I knew it I was racking up almost £400 a month and was way overdrawn.”

Hayward says that it’s far easier to justify spending a large chunk of your monthly salary on a barre class or bespoke boxing session than a shopping spree. A report by Virgin Active last month revealed that half of Londoners see their workout spending as an investment in their health rather than a cost. It underlines just how far some people’s mindsets — and their spending habits — have shifted. “Our perspective on exercise has changed,” Hayward says. “It’s easy to get hooked on the appeal of luxury fitness trends and to convince yourself they are worth paying for. People feel virtuous about doing anything fitness-related and convince themselves that spending huge amounts of money on it is worthwhile.”

According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), a non-profit research company, the worldwide wellness market is worth $372 trillion, but is expected to grow a further 17 per cent by the end of 2020. It is an industry with a growth trajectory “that appears unstoppable”, GWI’s senior researchers said, making it “one of the world’s fastest-growing, most resilient markets”. There’s certainly no sign of an imminent downturn in fortune.

David Minton, the managing director of the market-research company Leisure DB, who has been tracking UK consumer fitness habits for more than three decades, predicts that we are entering a “golden age of fitness” and that “several milestones are likely to be hit” this year, including a peak in spending.

Collectively, we spend £4.7 billion on gym memberships in the UK, a rise of 6.3 per cent since 2016. That figure is likely to exceed £5 billion this year and doesn’t include the luxury add-ons that are eating into our surplus cash.

“Without doubt, there is a sector of the population that is spending more and more on fitness,” Minton says. “A growing number of people are ditching their £40 to £60 direct debt to a gym chain and spending quadruple that amount — or more — on tailored sessions at boutique gyms.”

A decade ago it was unthinkable to have more than one gym payment a month. Yet Minton says we have reached the point where paying up to £30 for a single class is normal and some think nothing of sweating their way through double and occasionally triple workouts on the same day.

It’s not just the healthy, wealthy silver army who are paying a premium to preserve their bodies. In January the fitness brand Myprotein surveyed 2,800 UK adults aged 18 to 65 and found that the debt-ridden millennial generation spend the most on fitness, averaging £155 monthly on an array of gym sessions and kit.

Even students, long considered the group least likely to squander cash on healthy pursuits, are cutting back on alcohol and spending up to four times more on fitness than they were a decade ago, according to a recent survey conducted by the student letting app SPCE. “The number and range of people prepared to pay £20 or £30 just to get sweaty for an hour is incredible,” Minton says. “There are now around 600 boutique gyms in London alone and most are thriving. The demand and willingness to pay is there.”

Not that overspending is confined to weekly workouts — the cost of entering events also hits the bank balance. Thousands take part in events such as the Colour Run, in which you pay £28 to run 5km while being splashed with paint, while others will part with five-figure sums to participate in global tests of stamina such as the North Pole Marathon or the Antarctic Ice Marathon.

For those who want to push themselves farther, signing up for Iron Man triathlons can cost anything from £5,000 to £12,000 by the time you factor in race entry, training plans, pool subscription and the kit required for the disciplines. Meanwhile, the cost for entry to the Marathon des Sables — the notoriously gruelling stomp across the Sahara desert, billed the “toughest footrace on earth” — is £4,250 this year. That does include flights, but not the hundreds more you will need to spend on “mandatory” desert-friendly running gear to endure the six days and 156 miles in searing heat. I know people who would spend less on a car, yet have done it not once, but three or four times.

Where will it end? Minton says there will inevitably be a tipping point. “Our gym spending has consistently risen year on year,” he says. “Most people can’t sustain a thrice-weekly boutique gym habit indefinitely.” On the average budget something has to give if high levels of gym debt is to be avoided. Yet Quesnel speaks for many in saying she has no intention of cutting back. “It is super-expensive for me,” she says, “but just for the benefits and positive change to my lifestyle I think it’s worth spending that much on it.”

How fitness debt stacks up

Pair of Nike VaporMax Flynit 2 £169.95

Yoga class at Triyoga £17

Barry’s Bootcamp class £20

Psycle London spinning class £20

Weekly deep fascial release massage session at Twenty Two Training £100

Barre Class at Frame £14

AquaFit session at Bulgari Spa £125

Barrecore ballet-inspired class £28

Month’s membership of Third Space £142-£185 (plus £50 joining fee)

Month’s membership of Equinox £210 (plus £400 initiation fee)

Personal training £60-£250 an hour

GPS fitness tracker £200

Entry to London Triathlon Olympic Plus event £135.70

Wattbike smart cycle £2,250

Work out for nothing

Parkrun
More than 1.6 million people take part in these events held at more than 520 locations around the UK (and overseas if you fancy some Parkrun touring). parkrun.org.uk

Sweaty Betty
The women’s gym clothing store offers free in-store classes from yoga to barre. You need to be quick to grab a place. sweatybetty.com

Our Parks
This initiative provides free 60-minute classes at a range of parks across Greater London. Select from circuit training, abs workout, Box Fit, bootcamp, etc. ourparks.org.uk

Lululemon
Offset the cost of those expensive leggings by booking a free run club or yoga class. lululemon.co.uk

Good Gym
Go on a “mission run” to help a community cause (eg a run to collect an elderly person’s shopping or clear litter from a park). goodgym.org

Tennis For Free
Free 90-minute sessions (followed by half an hour of “open” play) delivered by tennis coaches at venues around the UK. tennisforfree.com

Source: The Times

California Road Trip

David Minton, LeisureDB | Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 5

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I’m in California for the annual IHRSA gathering. Around 12,000 people have registered for the convention and trade show from 70 different countries, including 200 from the UK.

California is the most populous state in the US, with around 40 million residents – were it a country, it would be the fifth largest economy in the world.

It’s home to four of the world’s ten largest companies and four of the ten richest people and is considered a global trendsetter in so many areas including technology, film, new media, wine and, of course, fitness.

The can-do attitude here is layered with dynamism, creativity and a pace of life that’s infectious. No wonder the state has six of the 15 fittest cities in the entire country.

People who live in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Diego value their health and love working out and as a result, thousands of people are inventing new fitness concepts all the time.

As a result of this energy and focus, these cities are home to some of the most successful global fitness trends and brands including, group cycling, Piloxing, Pound and Aeriform to name a few.

High street revolution
Fitness in California is also the darling of the high street. A failed nail bar turns into WoLAFiT, a failed showroom turns into Carrie’s Pilates Plus, a failed fashion store becomes the fashionable CruBox.

New brands like Bunda (for a better butt), RiseNation, (30 minutes of VersaClimber classes), LIT (Low Impact Training based on water rower and resistance bands), Prevail (high energy group boxing classes) are just a few of the new workouts I tried or considered during my visit. StretchLab, seemed a good idea at the time – this operators offers one-to-one ‘assisted stretching’ for 25 minutes and two days later I really felt it.

Xponential fitness
StretchLab is one of the portfolio of concept brands under the Xponential Fitness label – others include RowHouse (a low-impact rowing concept), Club Pilates (with over 360 sites, the USA largest Pilates franchise) and most recently a NYC dance concept called InTensive, which was developed by Anna Kaiser.

Founded in 2017 Xponential is backed by private equity heavyweight TPG Growth and has industry veteran John Kersh – formerly with Anytime Fitness – on the team as chief international development officer.

I tried their group cycling offer, CycleBar, in LA’s Culver City – this brand will debut at Battersea, London around June this year. Oliver Chipp has taken the master franchise agreement for the UK and plans to open over 30 studios over the next few years.

Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather, the controversial boxer, with an estimated fortune of US$1 billion and renowned for his fitness levels, has opened a flagship Mayweather Boxing & Fitness studio on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.

In small intense classes, you can follow Floyd’s training programme. At the end of the class I asked my instructor how long it will take to improve my shadow boxing technique – “About a year,” came the reply.

To help me get to this level of excellence, I have the Mayweather app and the virtual in-home workout.

Mayweather and his team are thinking big – 200 sites are planned over the next two years – with a franchise model that allows for the rebranding of existing gyms which will help the company to scale faster.

Soulbody barre
In 1986 Angel Banos first walked into a Gold’s Gym on Venice Beach and today, with his brother, they own 11 clubs in the Greater Los Angeles area and have just agreed to expand into southern California.

One of my early LA favourites was Angel’s Gold’s West Hollywood on Cole. Besides the stunning atmosphere, this club keeps the studio on trend with pre-choreographed Barre classes from SoulBody. I just wish my body flowed as well as some people around me.

Body bar and ballet barre are mindfully intense movements that work deep into the muscles and give great results – no wonder the word ‘sculpt’ comes up so often in conversation in California.

Outside the main cities, the fitness love-in on the high street continues. Temecula City in Southern California, just north of San Diego, has a population of just over 100,000, with a median household income of US$78,356.

The City sustains over 20 fitness brands, plus boutique studios, all scattered throughout the shopping complex and where the ‘high-value, low-price’ operator EOS Fitness are just fitting out a new site to add to the mix.

EOS Fitness are expanding their business following their acquisition in 2015 by BRS and PEM. As an indication of things to come, it’s worth remembering BRS took Town Sports International from 22 clubs to 162 locations and an IPO in only ten years, so watch this space.

Fitness Trends in California - Report on IHRSA 2018

“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Robert F. Kennedy

Elon Musk has the same way of thinking and its revolutionised payment systems, PayPal, solar energy, SolarCity, electric cars, Tesla, and the private space industry, SpaceX. What if Elon dreamed and asked why not of the fitness industry?

I’m in California for the annual IHRSA gathering and this year around 12,000 registered for the convention and trade show from 70 different countries, including over 200 people from the UK and 95 from Japan.

California is the most populous US state with around 40 million residents and if it were a country it would be the 5th largest economy in the world. It is home to four of the world’s ten largest companies and four of the ten richest people. California is considered a global trendsetter in so many areas including technology, film, new media, wine and, of course, fitness.

The can-do attitude here is layered with dynamism, creativity and a pace of life that’s infectious. No wonder the state has six of the fifteen fittest cities in the entire country. People who live in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Diego value their health and love working out thus thousands of people are inventing new concepts all the time. These cities are also home to some of the most successful global fitness trends including, group cycling, Piloxing, Pound, Aeriform and ViPR to name a few.

Fitness in California is the darling of the high street. A failed yoghurt shop turns into HIIT House , a failed nail bar turns into WoLAFiT , a failed show room turns into Carrie’s Pilates Plus , a failed fashion store becomes the fashionable CruBox . New brands like Bunda, (for a better butt), RiseNation, (30 minutes of VersaClimber classes), LIT (Low Impact Training based on water rower and resistance bands), Prevail (high energy group boxing classes) are just a very few of the new I tried or thought of trying.

StretchLab, seemed a good idea at the time, one to one assisted stretching for 25 minutes, but two days later I really felt it. StretchLab is one of the portfolio of concept brands under Xpotential Fitness, founded in 2017 and backed by private equity heavyweight TPG Growth. It already has RowHouse (a low-impact rowing concept), Club Pilates (with over 360 sites, it’s the USA largest Pilates franchise) and most recently a NYC dance concept (developed by Anna Kaiser InTensive). I tried their group cycling brand CycleBar in LA’s Culver City and this brand will debut at Battersea, London, UK, around June this year. Oliver Chipp has taken the master franchise agreement for the UK and plans to open over 30 studios over the next few years.

Floyd Mayweather, the undefeated boxer, 50-0, with an estimated fortune of $1 billion and renowned for his fitness levels has opened a flagship Mayweather Boxing & Fitness studio on Wilshire in LA. Small intense classes allow you to follow Floyd’s training programme. At the end of the class I asked my instructor how long it will take to improve my shadow boxing technique, about a year came the reply. To help me I have the Mayweather app and the virtual reality in-home workout. Mayweather and his team are thinking big, 200 sites over the next two years with a franchise model that offers to rebrand existing gyms which will help scale faster.

In 1986 Angel Banos first walked into a Gold’s Gym on Venice Beach and today, with his brother, they own 11 clubs in the Greater LA area and have just agreed to expand into southern California. One of my early LA favourites was Angel’s Gold’s West Hollywood on Cole. Besides the stunning atmosphere this club keeps the studio programme on trend with pre-choreographed Barre classes from SoulBody. I just wish my body holistically flowed as well as some people around me. Body bar and ballet barre are mindfully intense movements that work deep into the muscles, no wonder the word sculpt often comes up in conversation.

Outside the main cities the fitness love-in on the high street continues. Temecula City in Southern California, just north of San Diego, has a population of just over 100,000 with a median household income of $78,356. The City sustains over 20 fitness brands plus boutique studios, all scattered throughout the shopping complex and where the ‘high-value, low-price’ EOS Fitness are just fitting out a new site to add to the mix. EOS Fitness are expanding following the acquisition in 2015 by BRS and PEM. BRS previously took Town Sports International from 22 clubs to 162 and an IPO in ten years.

At the California Science Centre I watch, again, the launch of Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster and the dummy driver, Starman, cruising our solar system. You can follow its progress at whereisroadster.com

What if Elon thought fitness?

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By David Minton

Source: Sasakawa Sports Foundation

Project Fitness UK 2018

UK FITNESS CLUB MARKET POWERS AHEAD AS CONSUMERS EMBRACE HEALTH AND WELLNESS

£5.1bn UK fitness club market achieved annual growth of 7.1%, with strong expansion forecast over the next 5 years.

Project Fitness UK 2018, the definitive new report from Allegra Strategies, reveals the total UK fitness club market serves an estimated 10.2 million members across more than 7,000 outlets, with circa 5% outlet growth forecast over the next five years.
The research was produced in partnership with leading leisure market intelligence specialists Leisure Database Company and leading retail and leisure field experts, The Local Data Company.
Project Fitness UK 2018 states the private sector now makes up more than half of the total fitness club market, with an estimated 6.8 million members across 4,300 gyms.
Property scarcity and low membership penetration among a new generation of value-conscious consumers represent the biggest challenges to fitness club growth. Operators must also respond to tightening consumer spend and decreased investment associated with on-going Brexit uncertainty.


Boutiques pick up the pace as smaller independents feel the burn
Allegra records strong growth in the boutique sector over the last 5 years. The burgeoning segment has successfully innovated beyond the traditional fitness club proposition, specialising in group-based, instructor-led classes. There are an estimated 250 boutique outlets in the UK, with Allegra identifying appetite for further investment in the segment.
As of May 2017, there are an estimated 2,077 independent fitness club operators in the UK according to the Leisure Database Company. A lack of capital investment funds and competition from low-cost operators is increasingly marginalising this segment.
Low-cost is the fastest-growing market segment, opening an average of 75 new outlets and attracting an estimated 300,000 new members every year. With 200 sites and 1 million members, Pure Gym is the UK’s leading low-cost private fitness club chain, followed by Anytime Fitness with 146 outlets and The Gym Group with 130.


Increased health awareness fuels UK growth but north-south prices poles apart
Profound societal changes, such as urbanisation, preventative healthcare and a focus on wellbeing are fuelling growth in UK fitness club memberships. Increasing recognition that exercise is essential to wellbeing is driving the rising popularity of fitness activities among UK consumers. 86% surveyed claim exercise is essential to their wellbeing and 32% state regular exercise is their most important health priority.
Harnessing the UK’s enthusiasm for health and wellness is a key challenge for fitness club operators. While 81% of consumers believe fitness is important, only 39% are happy with their current fitness level and just 23% agree that gym memberships are necessary for staying fit.
The average monthly membership spend across the UK is £29.68, with Allegra revealing substantial regional divide in terms of average monthly membership outlay. Consumers in the South are paying £41.07, nearly twice as much as those in the North at £22.75.


Digital integration and customisation will redefine the fitness club experience
Exercise motivation varies significantly between demographics, highlighting that operators must tailor their approach to products and services rather than adopting a ‘one size fits all’ model.
Key opportunities to hone revenue streams across core growth demographics include digital integration for millennials, holistic healthcare services for older consumers, and innovative group fitness concepts for women.
Technology will increasingly drive growth as operators move towards full-scale digital integration. Adopting new and emerging technologies, such as wearable devices and digitally-integrated equipment, will be essential for attracting new members and maximising membership retention in the coming 5-10 years.


The health and wellness market outlook
Allegra CEO and founder, Jeffrey Young said: “I’m very excited by recent market developments in the health and wellness sector. The fundamentals of the industry remain strong as UK consumers seek to improve wellbeing through the adoption of exercise for a healthy lifestyle. I see positive trends in the long-term and great opportunities for fitness clubs to continue innovating by offering new products and developing their membership propositions.”
Jeffrey Young will present key findings from Project Fitness 2018 UK at the Allegra Health and Wellness Summit, taking place at Balance Festival, 11 May 2018, Old Truman Brewery, London.
The Project Fitness UK 2018 Report is now available to purchase from Allegra Strategies.


Editor’s Notes
Sources

  • Over 100 online and telephone interviews with industry leaders, including CEOs and Managing Directors of major fitness club chains, key suppliers, industry associations and other industry participants (May 2016 – September 2017)
  • Over 7,500+ online surveys with UK consumers (May – September 2017) and in conjunction with Men’s Health and Women’s Health.
  • Desk research including trade press, company financials and online data sources

Allegra Strategies

Established in 1999, and part of Allegra Group, Allegra Strategies is a leading-edge research and strategy consulting firm based in central London. Since 2002, Allegra has published research in the health and wellness sector, supporting companies globally across the health and wellness value chain and adjacent retail, leisure and consumer lifestyle sectors.
Working closely with clients across critical M&A activity, growth strategies, customer segmentation research, global expansion, pricing strategies, and NPD, Allegra analysts are well-placed to answer key business questions and help clients harness their full growth and profit potential.
Allegra Group is the owner and creator of the Balance Festival, UK’s largest celebration of the thriving health and wellness movement, and the producer of the annual UK Health + Wellness Summit. Allegra Group is also the author of the London Wellness Guide.