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UK independent gym sector valued at £625m

LeisureDB has launched the first of a new Spotlight Report series
It analyses the changes that occurred in the independent gym sector during the pandemic
The report focuses on the 'Independent Survivor Gym' or ISG – those listed as gyms in both the 2019 and 2022 audits
The UK market value of ISGs was found to be worth £625m
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LeisureDB has launched a new Spotlight Report series analysing the independent sector of the fitness industry.

It has been compiled by drilling down into the State of the Fitness Industry Report, which was released in May 2022.

The new report delves into changes that occurred in the independent sector during the pandemic from 2019 to 2022 but draws a distinction between an independent club and an Independent Survivor Gym (ISG).

It defines ISGs as “those gyms that were listed as independent following industry audit on 31st March 2019 and 31st March 2022, covering the critical period before and after the COVID-19 lockdowns”.

The report revealed that while there are 2,207 independent gyms in total, it is the 1,969 ISGs – which made up 89 per cent of the gyms analysed for the State of the Fitness Industry Report – that is the focus for this Spotlight Report.

It adds that in the State of the Fitness Industry Report, independent gyms represented 20 per cent of the £3.5bn private sector total market value, but ISGs have a lower percentage market share at 17.7 per cent.

After giving a breakdown of gyms, number of members, average membership and market value for each region in the UK, LeisureDB totals the market value of ISGs at £625m against £626m for 2019.

From 2019 to 2022, 46 multi-site operator gyms became independent through losing a second site or due to a change of ownership. Additionally, 44 independent gyms became multi-site operators after adding a second site or through acquisition.

A section of the report that looks at growth through adversity highlights how 18 per cent or 23 of the ISGs have changed their name, but have no underlying changes to ownership or management and have therefore undergone a degree of rebranding.

The report also considers how the ISGs who changed ownership and management – the remaining 82 per cent – have fared over the three-year reporting period.

Other sections in the report compare pay-as-you-go with the membership model of payment and look at member management systems. Findings include that 52 per cent of ISGs use a recognised management system, with Clubwise, Clubright, Ashbourne and GloFox the systems gaining the most clients.

It also explores changes ISGs have made to their facilities and how their offerings have changed due to the impact of COVID-19. For example, the number of ISGs who have a dance/aerobics studio has increased by 18 to 1,006.

Overall, when looking at openings and closures, the lost market value from closures was £60m and 151,000 members, but gained market value from openings is £43m and 85,000 members.

Leisure DB itself has undergone a rebranding and name change from The Leisure Database Company after its assets and IPs were acquired by Addleisure, owned by LA Fitness co-founder, David Turner, in May 2022.

At the time, Minton told HCM in an exclusive interview: “We have plans in place to enable LeisureDB to support the industry with more useful analytics and data, and with regular updates in different formats, which is so vital for both operators and investors.”

To download the new report, click here.

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LeisureDB has launched a new Spotlight Report series analysing the independent sector of the fitness industry.