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Mintel study: more than six million Brits now members of private health clubs

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The number of people in the UK who are members of a private health and fitness club reached a record-breaking six million during 2019.

According to research by Mintel, the number of people with a private gym membership has risen by 15 per cent over the past five years – from 5.3 million in 2014 to 6.1 million in 2019.

The increase in memberships over the past 12 months has helped grow the total revenue registered by private health and fitness clubs to nearly £3.4bn during 2019 – an increase of 4.1 per cent on 2018 levels.

“The rise of lower-cost options and increased locations has made private gyms an accessible form of leisure, while a greater focus by consumers on healthier living and exercise is also providing a boost to the sector," said Lauren Ryan, Mintel leisure analyst.

"The convenience of more options close to work and home, with more flexible off-peak options available from the leading brands, has boosted demand, while competition has driven prices down.

"While membership numbers are set to continue to increase, the competition for new customers will drive down average fees and limit revenue growth over the next five years."

Ryan added that group exercise classes – a hallmark of the boutique offering – have been a major driver in the increase in memberships. Mintel figures show that almost three in five (58 per cent) of gym-goers say classes are the main reason they visit a club, while 64 per cent say group classes help them "put in more effort".

"Classes are particularly important for fitness clubs, with people seeking variety and friendly instructors," Ryan said.

"Online fitness services and workout apps mean consumers have direct access to leading experts and celebrity trainers, with classes live-streamed or available to download 24/7.

"However, the need for personal interaction and more personalised guidance provides health and fitness clubs with a strong opportunity if they can retain high-quality instructors and personal trainers.

"With consumers tending to take a more holistic approach to their total wellbeing, there are good opportunities for clubs to provide their customers with help outside of just physical fitness, including nutrition and mental health."

• To access the full report, click here for the Mintel store.

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The number of people who are members of a private health and fitness club reached a record- breaking six million during 2019.