Report Finds Strong Expansion in U.K. Gym and Fitness Center Industry

Monday, March 25, 2013
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Revenue in the gym and fitness center industry in the United Kingdom is forecasted to rise over the coming five years to 2017-2018, according to a recently released report. IBISWorld, an industry research report generator, analyzed growth in gym openings and revenue increases in the past ten years. Growth has "expanded strongly," the company concluded, especially in the past five years through 2012-2013. Compared with the strong growth in that period, the rise predicted during the next five years is "marginal," according to IBISWorld, but it follows an upward trajectory.

According to the UK's Office of National Statistics, industry revenue is estimated to increase at an annualized 9.5 percent, to 1.15 billion pounds in 2012-2013. This estimate includes both major increases in 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 and an estimated 8.7 percent drop in the current year as industry revenue growth returns to a more normalized level.

Yearly revenue growth has been high on average despite the fact that the industry has undergone consolidation, with major companies undertaking several mergers and acquisitions in the past several years, the report says. One factor in the growth is the entry of new low-cost gyms. The growth has occurred despite declining profit margins caused by weak economic conditions and the increasing appeal of alternative fitness options, such as personal trainers and boot camps.

Players in the U.S. gym and fitness industry have been watching the growth overseas with interest. As Eric Willin, Chief Operating Officer, of EZFacility, a gym management software provider in Bethpage, New York, says, "Our clients in the UK are a very important part of our work. We've been excited by the growth over there, and we're looking forward to seeing future developments."

The report names several factors in the recent growth. Rising disposable income levels in the UK, along with increased health-consciousness and concerns about childhood obesity have played a role. Last summer's Olympic events in London might also have influenced some change. Currently, an estimated 8.7 million individuals, or 17 percent of the adult population, hold gym memberships across the UK.

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