The UK health and fitness club industry survived much of the economic downturn relatively unscathed but the past two years have seen tougher conditions as consumers have had to cut their expenditure further and further in the wake of a prolonged period of real terms declines in living standards.

The structure of the industry has also changed significantly during this period, with the emergence of budget clubs hitting the mid-market hard. It is not a surprise therefore that the two main mid-market operators have both hit financial troubles in the past two years and undergone CVAs.

Looking to the future, the prospects are more promising than they have been for several years, with the UK economy seemingly on course for recovery and consumer confidence improving markedly, although wage growth has still yet to consistently outpace price inflation, something which will be necessary for sustained market growth.

This report examines the factors driving the market, looks at recent innovations, assesses the size of the market and how it segments, provides market shares as well as profiles of the leading operators, and examines a wide variety of consumer behaviour and attitudes relating to health clubs. Mintel last reported on this market in Health and Fitness Clubs – UK, June 2013.


This report examines the market for private health and fitness clubs, although some reference is also made to the public sector for the purpose of comparison. Mintel defines private clubs as those being operated by an individual or company for profit and in private ownership.

Public health and fitness clubs are defined as those operated by, or on behalf of, a local authority, such as a gymnasium and other facilities found in public leisure centres or swimming pool complexes.

The term ‘attrition rate’ is defined as the percentage of members at the start of a given period who have lapsed by the end of that period, which may be a year or a month. Conversely, the term ‘retention rate’ is used to describe the percentage of members who have been retained in that period.

Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.


AED Automated External Defibrillators
AIF Australian Institute of Fitness
BMI Body Mass Index
CRC Carbon Reduction Commitment
CVA Company Voluntary Arrangement
DFP Department of Finance and Personnel
DW Dave Whelan
EBITDA Earnings Before Interest. Taxation, Depreciation and Amortisation
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