UK Fitness Industry Valued at $7.6B as Low-Price Gyms Thrive

Total U.K. gym memberships are at 10.7 million, up 4% from 2021, with many people gravitating to HVLP operators like PureGym

New findings from the U.K. reveal that gym membership numbers, market value and penetration all surpass pre-pandemic levels and have hit all-time highs, according to a new report that’s bullish on the U.K.’s health and fitness industry’s future.

The results – courtesy of market intelligence company Leisure DB, highlight the health of the U.K.’s private fitness sector but indicate some challenges linger for the public sector gym market (defined as all U.K. public centers with a gym facility available to members of the general public on a pay-and-play or membership basis.)

Here are some key total market findings from Leisure DB’s State of the U.K. Fitness Industry Report 2024:

The industry market value has increased to £5.9 billion ($7.6 billion) in 2024 (+9.7% since 2023 and an all-time high).

There was a slight rise in the number of gyms, although the total remains below the highs of 2019. The report lists 7,009 gyms for the 12 months to the end of March 2024, whereas there were 7,239 in 2019. 

Total U.K. gym memberships have increased to 10.7 million, up 4.1% from 10.3 million in 2021.

The total penetration rate has reached 15.9%, exceeding 2019’s pre-pandemic high of 15.6%.

PureGym and GLL remain the U.K.’s leading private and public operators, respectively, in terms of the number of gyms. 

PureGym, SLM (Everyone Active) and JD Gyms are the only three operators to have added ten or more gyms in the last 12 months (34, 12, and 10, respectively.)

A Fitness Market Filled With Potential 

The report highlights the growing competition in London’s property market, considering large spaces typically reserved for big-box gyms are being targeted for activities such as virtual cricket and clay pigeon shooting, football or Formula 1 driving simulators. 

“There’s still room for big-box gyms as many landlords remain keen to offer well-being,” noted Central London Retail Dvision’s Steven Stedman and Will Brown. “But the market has slimmed down massively. You have to be the best in the game now. and the market has polarized: Anytime Fitness maintains a good presence, but generally, it’s either the leading low-cost operators — PureGym and The Gym Group — or high-end brands such as Third Space, and even more super-premium, on landlords’ radar.”

Mostly Good News for HVLP Gyms

Notably, Leisure DB’s findings show that the low-price fitness segment is less significant this year. Of the 120 new clubs that opened in the last two months, only 45 (37.5%) were low-cost, compared to the previous year, when low-cost fitness gyms accounted for 80 of the 145 new openings (55%). 

Still, the findings aren’t dampening the spirits of the U.K.’s leading private gym brands.

PureGym now operates 379 clubs in the U.K. and is the only operator to have more than 1.5 million members in the U.K. The brand plans to reach the 400-club mark in the U.K. over the next 12 months and is making a major play for the North American market to grow beyond its three locations. 

Behind PureGym is The Gym Group, the second largest private operator. The Gym Group added net four clubs for a grand total of 234 sites and has approximately 900,000 members. 

The high-value, low-price (HVLP) gym, founded in 2007, plans to open 10-12 locations this year and, over the next three years, plans to accelerate “site rollout.” 

“There continues to be substantial headroom for low-cost gyms in the U.K., and we are fully focused on making high-value, low-cost fitness even more accessible for all,” The Gym Group CEO Will Orr recently shared.

Following PureGym and The Gym Group are Anytime Fitness (178 clubs), Nuffield Fitness & Wellbeing (112 clubs) and David Lloyd Clubs (102 clubs). 

Franchise Health

The U.K.’s three largest franchise operators—Anytime Fitness, Energie Fitness and Snap Fitness — have 324 clubs between them, a slight drop from 327 in 2023 and combined membership remains at a similar level to 2023.

Anytime Fitness U.K. chair Andy Thompson noted that the fitness franchise is experiencing an all-time high when Anytime Fitness looks at member or visit numbers or system-wide sales. 

“We’re also seeing strong interest from people looking to invest in fitness, franchising, and Anytime Fitness specifically,” Thompson said. “We’re on track to sell the 25 franchise licenses we’ve targeted for 2024. With 185 clubs trading at the end of March and 200,000 members, we hit over one million visits a month for January, February and March. The trajectory looks exciting.”

Leisure DB’s State of the U.K. Fitness Industry Report 2024 can be found here. The report is free of charge this year, as part of Leisure DB’s effort to improve the health of the nation. 

The post UK Fitness Industry Valued at $7.6B as Low-Price Gyms Thrive appeared first on Athletech News.


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