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4Global and UK Active launch private sector health club benchmarking

By Kath Hudson    28 Mar 2024
Pure Gym is one of 12 private sector operators contributing to the Private Sector Benchmarking report / PureGym/Martin Brent
Membership numbers at a UK sample of private sector health clubs have grown by 10.2 per cent since January 2022
There was also a net increase of 78 new clubs, a rise of 7.7 per cent
Revenue from membership increased by 22.4 per cent
Twelve private sector operators, representing 1,089 sites, provided quarterly data

The first annual Private Sector Benchmarking report was released today (27 March). A collaboration between UK Active and 4Global, the aim of the research is to provide accurate insight into the state of UK-based private sector health clubs.

Twelve private sector operators – representing 1,089 facilities – have so far come on board, sharing data every quarter since January 2022.

Results indicate that despite the economic challenges involved in running clubs, these operators are continuing to expand and, despite the increased cost-of-living, consumers still want to join clubs.

Memberships increased by 10.2 per cent from January 2022 to December 2023, with a net gain of 78 additional clubs counted – a rise of 7.7 per cent when openings and closures are accounted for.

Huw Edwards, CEO of UK Active, said the data will boost UK Active’s lobbying efforts: “These findings provide irrefutable evidence that people want to be more physically active and are prioritising their health and wellbeing by using gyms, pools, and leisure facilities.

“This data is essential in helping show the government and policymakers the value and potential of the physical activity sector and its role in addressing some of the nation’s biggest challenges, in terms of public health and economic growth.”

Operators taking part receive access to a private 4Global dashboard, where they can track their performance and benchmark this against sector averages on a quarterly basis. They can also use the data and insights to help support their strategies and growth, based on emerging market trends.

For organisations that operate across Europe, the project aligns with the European DataHub project that benchmarks organisations across the Continent, while 4Global is also working to bring data analytics to the US market, where it signed a strategic partnership with Jonas Fitness last May.

UK Active, 4GLOBAL and Sport England will also work together to combine the findings of the Private Sector Benchmarking project and the Moving Communities platform, which reports data from public leisure operators across England, meaning that the sector will have access to accurate quarterly reporting of data and insights from both public and private sectors for the first time.

“The need for high-quality data and insight is fundamental in fully understanding and demonstrating the scale, impact, and value of the UK fitness and leisure sector,” says Dr Matthew Wade, head of research and development at UK Active, talking to HCM.

“By collecting quarterly data and encouraging our members to get involved and share their data, we're creating an accurate picture of how the sector is performing, leading to valuable insights that will help members make operational decisions and understand the real value our sector brings.”

Going forward there are plans to drill down deeper into the figures, looking at data such as the number of joiners and leavers, turnover, secondary spend, demographics and duration of memberships.

The 12 operators currently taking part are Anytime Fitness, David Lloyd Clubs, Fitness First, Fitness4Less, GymBox, Lifestyle Fitness, Mosaic Spa & Health, Nuffield Health, PureGym, The Gym Group, Total Fitness and Third Space.

All members of UK Active are able to take part free of charge and can join and leave whenever they want, with the data being recalibrated accordingly.

All data is anonymised to avoid compromising commercially sensitive information and the data remains the property of the operators.

You can read The Private Sector Benchmarking annual report here.

UK Active  4GLOBAL  Private Sector Benchmarking report  Huw Edwards  Dr Matthew Wade 
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