Who's winning at digital in health and fitness? A new survey gives insights
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Who's winning at digital in health and fitness? A new survey gives insights

A new report, titled ‘Digital Futures', from Rewrite Digital, charts the digital maturity of the UK health and fitness sector
Private sector operators are leading the market in terms of digitalisation, being categorised as 'Digitally Established'
The report was published by industry body, UK Active as a benchmark for the current state of play
Sport England and UK Active will now support a new initiative to drive digital improvements in the sector
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A review of the state of 'digital maturity' of health club operators in the UK has established the current winners in the race to elevate the sector's digital performance, as well as highlighting areas for development.

UK Active commissioned digital consultancy, Rewrite Digital, to collaborate with a sample of operators to design a digital maturity and effectiveness index tool for the sector to use, free of charge.

Since August 2021, when the review launched, the tool has formed a core component of industry consultations, enabling operators to receive analysis and a score for their digital maturity.

The output of that collaboration is a new report, called Digital Futures: A review of the digital maturity and digital effectiveness of the UK’s fitness and leisure sector, which charts the operators’ digital prowess and preparedness and sets an overall benchmark for the sector.

The consultation was completed by 44 organisations, representing 1,300 facilities in the UK. It’s not known if this was a representative sample of the sector or a self-selected sample.

Private operators with more than 51 sites were the highest-scoring cohort, with an average score of 72 per cent, putting them at the ‘Digitally Established’ level (60-79 per cent), with one outstanding operator classed as a ‘Digital Leader’.

The average score for private operators was 63 per cent, putting them in the ‘Digitally Established’ category.

Public operators scored 55 per cent on average, with the index describing this level (40-59 per cent) as ‘Digital Experimenter’, typically meaning that operators are making great strides forward but without the investment, goal alignment and rapid advances to yield a strong performance.

When it comes to the ambitions of the sector, the current scores are not enough to satisfy many and the survey found that a third (30 per cent) of operators don’t have a digital strategy, while 84 per cent say theirs isn’t "up to date, complete, ambitious enough and supported by an achievable roadmap”. Only 16 per cent of operators have a digital strategy they’re happy with.

The findings will be used as a foundation for Sport England and UK Active to develop a new knowledge programme for operators.

This will include the self-assessment tool provided by the index, themed papers and seminars to support learning and a digital resource marketplace.

Huw Edwards, CEO of UK Active, said: “For the first time we’ve been able to conduct a detailed digital consultation with operators across the UK and provide a benchmark of our sector’s progress.

“The Digital Futures report makes the irrefutable case for accelerating digital strategies and skills at all levels of our workforce, from the boardroom to the gym floor, and we’re committed to working with our partners and members to take our sector to the next level.

“We encourage all operators to use UK Active’s digital maturity and effectiveness index tool, both to improve their digital mindset and strategy, and so UK Active can monitor and support our sector’s progress.”

Find out more about the report here.

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A review of the state of 'digital maturity' of health club operators in the UK has established the current winners in the race to elevate the sector's digital performance, as well as highlighting areas for development.
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