An unhealthy sector needing to shape up

The recession we are entering is bad news for fitness clubs. They rely on the hefty monthly fees that make up 80% of revenues, which are a chunky piece of discretionary expenditure for many.

The clubs typically have attrition rates of about 40% ie proportion not renewing for whatever reason. Whilst in the UK only 7% of people have memberships, the large number of clubs mean supply constraints aren’t the thing holding the market back – probably apathy.

For a country with a growing obesity problems, you’d think gyms would do well in attracting custom, but evidently fewer fat people care to make the effort than you might suppose. Its certainly self serving of the industry to ask government to somehow get more people to exercise (obviously health of the nation rather than the P&L is the motive)

Amusingly, chains in London are increasingly turning to family friendly settings – allowing the whole family to spend the weekend at “the club” playing sport and socialising, sometimes with each other. “Its like being on holiday every weekend”. We have lots of friends that do exactly this now.

Clubs owners now just have to worry about the health of the economy.

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