2019 STATE OF THE UK SWIMMING INDUSTRY REPORT - OUT NOW

 
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The 2019 State of the UK Swimming Industry Report reveals that the UK swimming industry has not changed significantly in the last 12 months. 26 swimming pool sites have opened and 27 have closed.

The 2019 report highlights that the industry, over the 12 month period to the end of March 2019, has seen an increase in the number of swimming pools opening and a decrease in the number of swimming pools closing compared to the previous year.

Nuffield and GLL remain the UK’s leading private and public operators (by number of sites with a pool). Public leisure trust GLL lead the way with 146 swimming centres, followed by Nuffield who have 111 clubs with a swimming pool.

The 2019 report shows that 84% of the UK population live within 2 miles of one of the 3,170 swimming pool sites.

Commenting on the figures, David Minton, Director of LeisureDB said: “Although the total stock of swimming pools doesn’t change dramatically, year to year, the carrying capacity of the water keeps expanding. It’s very encouraging to see participation is growing across the industry. Operators have found that by differentiating the offering, improving the customer journey and providing digital solutions helps towards engaging the consumer both in and out of the water.”

 

Summary of Key Facts

  • The number of swimming pool sites in the UK is 3,170.

  • 26 public and private swimming pool sites opened in the last 12 months, up from 22 in 2018.

  • 27 public and private swimming pool sites closed in the last 12 months, down from 33 in 2018.

  • The public pay and play swim fee increased by 5% to £4.58.

 

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 2019. 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 2019 State of the UK Swimming Industry Report.

2019 STATE OF THE UK FITNESS INDUSTRY REPORT - OUT NOW

 
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The 2019 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report reveals that the UK health and fitness industry is healthier than it has ever been. It has more gyms, more members and a greater market value than ever before. Several key milestones have been achieved over the last 12 months. The total UK membership has broken the 10 million mark and the industry is now worth more than £5 billion for the first time. The elusive 15% penetration rate has not only been reached but exceeded with it now standing at 15.6%. In the UK, 1 in every 7 people is a member of a gym.

The 2019 report highlights that the industry, over the 12 month period to the end of March 2019, has seen increases of 2.9% in the number of fitness facilities, 4.7% in the number of members and 4.2% in market value. The rate of growth for members and market value is higher than last year across the public and private sectors. Has the private sector weathered the rise of the boutique studios? Has the public sector finally stabilised against the low-cost market?

Pure Gym and GLL remain the UK’s leading private and public operators (by number of gyms and members). In 2018, Pure Gym became the first operator to reach 200 clubs and this year they are joined by GLL (with 203 gyms).

Commenting on the figures, David Minton, Director of LeisureDB said: “As seen in the record-breaking figures from this report, the UK is enjoying a golden period of growth and exciting development across the fitness sector. It’s a great time to be working and reporting on the industry. As operators compete against the at-home fitness revolution, boutique studios and tech-enabled fitness, they must continue to provide more than just gyms; experiences are essential to hold customers attention. The last year has seen continued investment into ‘fitness-tainment’ and there is still plenty of opportunity for creativity and growth.”

 

Summary of Key Facts

  • The number of fitness facilities in the UK is up from 7,038 to 7,239 this year.

  • Total membership grew by 4.7% to 10.4 million.

  • Total market value increased by 4.2% to £5.1 billion.

  • The UK penetration rate passed 15% for the first time.

  • 215 new fitness facilities opened in the last 12 months, down from 275 in 2018.

 

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 2019. 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 2019 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report.

Elevate 2019

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Yesterday was the opening day of the annual Elevate event at London ExCel. It’s the UK’s largest physical activity trade show and hosts over 350 exhibitors and 300 speakers.

David was a guest speaker and his presentation about the “golden age of fitness” revealed headline stats from the 2019 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report which is due out next week. He also chaired a panel discussing “what do customers really want?” with speakers from the Bannatyne Group, Sky, PromotePR and Hussle (formerly PayasUGym).

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Fitness is getting more fashionable

Fitness is getting more fashionable, which is good news for the franchise industry…

There are over 7,000 gyms in the UK for the first time, up by 4.5 per cent year on year, while total membership is approaching 10 million (up two per cent).

One in every 7 people in the UK is a member of a gym, according to the 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report. And more growth is predicted.

David Minton, director of LeisureDB, which published the report, says: “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.”

Fitness looks like a good industry to get into, but setting up a gym on your own requires in-depth knowledge of the sector and putting significant capital at risk.

However, many of the top UK fitness brands are franchises, which may be an easier route in. Typically, the franchisor helps you choose the right location, fit out your centre and arrange launch marketing. As a franchisee, you benefit from its training and sector experience.

Which type of gym franchise is for you?

Some franchises offer the traditional full service gym, with exercise equipment, rooms for classes and a team of staff. Others, often smaller, provide members with 24-hour card access, with staff available only between certain hours, and off er ‘budget’ membership.

David says: “At present ‘boutique studios’ are increasing - smaller, stylish places with high class instructors, expensive toiletries and healthy food. They deliver an experience, rather than just an exercise session - all for a premium price.”

Some of the bigger fitness franchises are already incorporating this. Mike Carr, sales manager at the énergie Fitness franchise, says: “We are rolling out the YARD Club, a boutique-type space within the larger club. Technology monitors class participants’ heart rates, so trainers can safely deliver individualised workouts.”

Training trends

Competition means that keeping up with the latest type of workout or exercise class can make or break your gym business, so choosing a franchise that keeps up with trends is important.

Currently, many gyms are offering functional fitness - group classes where specialist trainers deliver routines that train the muscles for daily tasks, while focusing on core stability.

Sport England’s Active Lives Adult Survey 2018 showed more people went to fitness classes, especially yoga, pilates and high intensity interval training (HIIT).

An extra 84,800 people are doing combat sports, martial arts, boxing and boxing fitness classes. Many fitness franchises are already on to this.

A future trend?

Norwegian chain HITIO Gym, recently launched in the UK, brings together combat sports with a trend new to the UK - families with children exercising at the same time.

Chief executive Mark Chambers says: “We plan to open two gyms here in Q1 2019 that off er daily classes in martial arts for children, self defence for women and boxing fitness. We also have the usual gym machines and free weights. It means parents can exercise while their children are doing classes.”

HITIO is targeting market town locations and is looking for franchisees keen on community involvement - another current fitness industry trend that encourages franchisees to promote the business through sponsorship and at local events.

Impact of technology

The rise of wearable technology and smartphone fitness apps might be expected to negatively impact gym use, but David says it’s just the opposite. “We found no evidence that these have reduced gym membership,” he explains. “In fact, we found that apps have encouraged some people to join, as they have become motivated to monitor their fitness.

Mark adds: “We offer énergie Fitness members an app that links to wearable tech such as a Fitbit, so their gym and outdoor workouts can be brought together in one place, driving them to better their performance. Apps can also bring members together by offering them the chance to take part in member competitions, which increases the community aspect of the club and helps member retention.”

Combining business and passion

Mike Racz has 40 franchised businesses across several sectors, including food. He got into the fitness industry with an Anytime Fitness gym in Gateshead in 2017 and now has seven.

Mike says: “I’ve always been into fitness and used to be a personal trainer, so this combines business and passion.”

Comparing fitness to food and drink franchises, he says: “With a coffee or pizza business, you’re always fighting to get repeat business from hundreds of customers daily. With Anytime Fitness, your customers are loyal for at least 12 months and hopefully longer.

“Retention is vital in the fitness industry, even more so than getting new members. You have customers that will stay with you for years and it’s great that you can nurture relationships with them in a way you can’t in other sectors.

“Regarding staffing, in hospitality you’re easily looking at 20-30 staff per store, but at an Anytime Fitness club it’s more like five or six. With less staff overheads and the longevity of customers, it’s a great platform to run a successful and profitable business.”

Are you fit for a fitness franchise?

Running a successful fitness centre takes more than a passion for fitness and a desire to make money. Here are some points to consider:

  • Owning a fitness centre will test your business skills more than your capacity for bicep curls. Fitness franchises offer training and support in setting up and running your business, but previous management experience helps.

  • It pays to get involved. Many fitness franchises are happy for you to be an investor who appoints a manager to run your fitness centre, but if you want your business to grow be proactive in setting business goals, motivating your team and prioritising marketing, both in your community and on social media.

  • Fitness means working with people. People management skills and customer awareness help.

  • Fitness franchises typically start at around £100,000, so ensure you have enough capital behind you.

Original article: https://www.what-franchise.com/business-advice/running-a-franchise/fitness-is-getting-more-fashionable

Boutique fitness attracts a wide range of investment

London’s growth in both supply and demand for boutique studios has become the fastest growing fitness segment. By the end of October 2018, London had 278 boutique sites with over 400 studios offering 15,806 classes each week. The popularity of this segment, which sets itself apart by offering captivating experiences providing a memorable visit, is detailed in the new benchmark report 2018 London Boutique Studio Report.

 
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The boutique studio trend should come as no surprise as Barry’s, for example, started in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, 20 years ago and other concepts like ‘spinning’ are even more mature. Boutique concepts are not new; London is awash with cool, hip hotels, bars selling craft beer from microbreweries, wine bars specialising in boutique wineries and there’s no end to the number of baristas adding value to the simple coffee bean. People are prepared to pay a premium to have a story to tell; an experience, to understand the provenance and to be part of a tribe.

Boutique studios are cashing in on this movement and the 2018 Report explores the growth since 2011. Details include studio type, number, classes, location, capacity, extra facilities and live links to the social media channels. A breakdown and history of the main boutique styles (HIIT, Mind & Body and CrossFit) are provided along with charts showing the number of weekly classes across all sites.

 
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This is the most fitness-tainment moment London has known in our time and it’s a safe bet to say the research team at LeisureDB are not only the fittest but most well informed on what makes a great experience, after taking classes at every main brand.

This movement couldn’t happen without investment, imagination and some clever mash-up of athletic-wear, fashion, music, some inventive collaborations and design. In London, the investment and co-branding has been on a more British scale with hype and queues to get into classes more muted than NYC and LA. Crowd Funding has helped brands like 1Rebel, BLOK, Core Collective and Boom Cycle, contributing around £10 million towards growth. Investment firms like Codex Capital (1Rebel), Piper (Frame), Encore Capital (Another Space) and Pembroke VCT (Boom Cycle) are some of the early investors with around £20 million committed so far. Private investment from former and current professional boxers and fighters, local and international franchise operations plus industry specialists are fuelling the growth.

After the investment comes the imagination, design and experience which people are prepared to pay for. BXR, a fitness site with boutique studios launched in January 2017, is a passion project for the undefeated boxer Anthony Joshua. It has been experimenting with ‘drop-culture’ to create demand and urgency, a strategy pioneered by streetwear brands like Supreme and Palace. So, drop in to see the next Joshua fight (it was a great evening), to the Selfridges Residency (a pop-up first) and Victoria Secret (shhh, it’s a secret).

BXR, like top end fashion brands, have developed a diffusion line with three studios on a pay-as-you-go basis called Sweat. BLOK is where fitness meets art in seductive spaces. Celebrity endorsements and photoshoots provide global exposure for their cool brand and studios. The legendary Ministry of Sound nightclub and multimedia entertainment business opened London’s first studio fitness nightclub. Located in the club’s previous back-of-house vault, it takes the club-style sound system plus lighting and pairs it with HIIT classes. Digme (named after a beach in Hawaii) opened in London thanks to Geoff and Caoimhe. Number one in the classes league table is Frame, run by Pip and Joan, who are also busy designing their own workout gear, a concept called ‘MumHood’ and an Academy (no wonder they need the occasional Negroni)! Rize, formerly Movers and Shapers, is growing out in the community with three sites. Ten, founded by Joanne, has grown to eight sites with a more intense version of Dynamic Pilates. F45, where no workout is ever the same, has over 20 studios in London with its many devotees. Another Space has three types of classes and doing a combination of all three is the norm now. There are thirty main brands, with two or more sites, featured in the report with unique benchmarking facts and figures on each.

The scale of investment and collaborations in the USA speaks volumes for the ‘can-do’ positive attitude that flows from the west coast. Venture capitalists, private equity firms, family offices, real estate firms, hotels have all developed an appetite for boutiques and seen how new concepts can add value to their existing investments.

Luxury brands are linking with street power brands and collaborations are going mainstream. Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), who have over 60 prestigious brands, partnered with Catterton, a private equity firm, in 2016. The re-branded L Catterton is one of the largest, diversified consumer-dedicated private equity firms in the world. Three of L Catterton portfolio of boutique companies are named in The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2018 by Fast Company.

Included in the Wellness listing at number 1 is Peloton, for bringing the boutique fitness experience into the home. Number 7 is Pure Barre for stretching the appeal of ballet-based exercise and number 8, Equinox, for breaking further into the luxury wellness industry with its new hotel concept. The Equinox owned SoulCycle is at number 6. L Catterton also have investments in CorePower Yoga, the UK athleisure brand Sweaty Betty and for the cyclists reading this, Pinarello.

TPG Growth is another red-hot investor in this sector and Mark Grabowski joined in 2016 after leaving L Catterton, where he worked on the Peloton and Pure Barre deals. TPG Capital, the main investment firm, owns a stake in USA fitness gym operator Life Time Fitness which it took private in 2015 with Leonard Green & Partners from LA, in a $2.8bn leveraged buyout. Leonard Green & Partners purchased the UK’s largest low-cost brand Pure Gym, in 2017. Grabowski has now spun out of TPG, raised his own fund and partnered with Anthony Geisler to buy Xponential with the idea of curating various boutique fitness concepts under one umbrella. The holding company currently has Club Pilates, Stretch Lab, Cyclebar, Row House, AKT, Yoga Six and in 2017 had almost $150 million in revenue. Cyclebar will be the first brand to open next to the new Embassy of the United States in London’s wider Battersea development this year, while master franchises, will be appointed to expand all brands throughout Europe.

Hotels and real estate companies have been expanding the boutique concept to include fitness. Hilton Hotels, a legendary name in the hospitality industry, is listed number 3 in the Fast Company Wellness listing for building hotel rooms that double as gyms with its Five Feet to Fitness initiative. Hilton have also installed 6 Les Mills ‘The Trip’ virtual studios in the UK. Hyatt Hotels acquired Exhale, a 15-year-old boutique spa concept with 25 locations, in 2017 to add to the Miraval, a provider of wellness experiences, to deliver wellness to guests. Marriott International own the five W Hotels in NYC and have partnered with Swerve Fitness locations at Midtown and Flatiron. Guests get a Swerve swag bag and unlimited rides during the stay. At Swerve you ride in ‘teams’ (Red, Green and Blue) for 45 minutes of rhythm rides bringing indoor cycling and team competition.

 
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Another NYC hotelier, Michael Achenbaum, who’s behind the sleek Gansevoort Hotels, opened the Curtain Hotel and members club in Shoreditch, London, with local developer SUSD, May 2017. In the members club soundproofed live music studio, Boom Cycle (featured in the Report) pop-up opened for members. The pop-up has moved on but as Achenbaum says, “boutique, hotels and fitness, are redefining creativity”.

The Related Companies first Equinox-branded hotel with 60,000 square foot gym and spa will join Related Companies boutique brands like SoulCycle and Rumble in NYC Manhattan’s West Side in a new $25 billion Hudson Yards development, a new model for urban renewal. An interesting aside, Thomas Heatherwick, one of London’s most original thinkers, responsible for the new Routemaster buses in London, the Rolling Bridge at Paddington Basin and the London Olympics 2012 Cauldron, is creating his monumental $200 million artwork ‘Vessel,’ a honeycomb like staircase, to be the focal point for Hudson Yards.

This first comprehensive report on the growth of Boutique Studios in London provides unique insight, with benchmarking, into the fastest growing fitness segment. Copies of the report can be purchased and downloaded here.

Article written by:

David Minton, Founder & Director of Leisure DB

January 2019