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Major benchmarking report highlights narrowing price gap between public and private gyms

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Increasingly fierce competition in the UK gym sector is leading to historically low differences in price between the public and private sector.

The revelation that the average private health club now charges just £8 more for a monthly membership than a public site is one of several key findings from the inaugural Business Benchmarking Insight Report produced by ukactive and accountancy firm Mazars.

The continued ascendance of budget gyms is likely one of the main reasons for the homogenisation of average sector prices, with memberships as low as £5 per month dragging down the overall average for the private sector. Private health clubs are now charging £35.77 on average for a monthly fitness membership, while the average monthly membership fee across all sites in the UK for 2014 was £30.82.

The new ukactive report examines the business-governing trends of gyms and leisure centres based on unique data from 600 UK sites with a combined membership of almost one million people.

The report relates to the 12 months of 2014 and also reveals that on average, members stay with their clubs for 17 months before moving on, but that private health and fitness centres enjoyed a longer average patronage of 24 months.

According to the report, members remain with a site for an average of three months longer where group exercise classes are available, while facilities with a swimming pool typically generate more membership revenue per month than sites without pools. Another not entirely unexpected finding was that operators saw the biggest gain in members in January 2014 (5.58 per cent), while December - perhaps partly due to the legacy of 12-month contracts - was the worst month as membership numbers slipped 2.32 per cent.

“These are increasingly competitive times and tools like these are critical to the success of all customer-focused businesses,” said ukactive CEO David Stalker.

“This first Benchmarking Insight Report is part of our continuing effort to not only provide our members with a free service of significant value, but also shows our commitment to analysing our sector as comprehensively as possible so that members can be ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding their customers and responding to their needs.”

ukactive Business Performance Benchmarking is a free service, exclusively for ukactive operator members and allows operators to compare their performance against the national averages and their peers within the market in an anonymous environment. Quarterly Insight Reports will subsequently be published and made available to all Benchmarking participants to provide insights into the current member landscape and emerging trends.

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Increasingly fierce competition in the UK gym sector is leading to historically low differences in price between the public and private sector.
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