Sustainable demand is key to success

According to the BFA NatWest Franchise Survey; 97% of franchises reported that they were profitable - so the question is not 'do I franchise?' but 'who do I franchise with?'.

Sustainable demand is key to success

According to the BFA NatWest Franchise Survey; 97% of franchises reported that they were profitable – so the question is not ‘do I franchise?’ but ‘who do I franchise with?’. 

There are many crucial factors to consider; the brand’s reputation, the support, the proof of returns now – but these questions are ultimately underpinned by ‘is the demand sustainable to deliver a good return?’

The proven demand in the fitness sector

Pre-covid the gym sector experienced an impressive growth trajectory. The last in-depth report into the state of the UK fitness industry (2019), reported that 10.3 million people held a gym membership, over 15% of the total UK population.

Whilst physical facilities had to close, the demand to stay active increased. Operators responded creatively, developing online workout programmes, tech companies saw a boom and an estimated 1m fitness apps were download in the UK alone. But, research by the IHRSA of over 1,170 gym members during this time showed that 94% of members were looking forward to returning to the gym. 

And now we are back to the ‘almost normal’, the majority of gyms are reporting strong trading. In July 2021, at Snap Fitness 24/7, we saw membership numbers grow by 14.27% across the same number of sites against those recorded in February 2020 by the end June 2021. And, this January we have seen an 6.27% uplift in new members verses 2020.

And the future looks bright; By the end of 2021 the fitness industry as a whole was predicted to have rebounded to 0.55% pre-pandemics levels, by 2028 its projected the Gym and Health Club sector will grow by 62.8%. 

Why there is demand

We all want to feel good, our research has shown us that 73% of us feel better after exercise and for 83% it lifts their mood. Physical and mental health are intrinsically linked and plays a key role in why we exercise; The IRHSA 2020 report stated that 76% felt anxious about their health and 65% use exercise to cope with stress. A further survey we conducted in January 2022, highlighted that we continue to be a health conscious nation with 47% of us prioritising making a reset in our daily routines that will benefit our physical health and 43% our mental health. 

41% of us make changes to our exercise routine specifically to continue to improve and make progress, with a 33% citing we do it to keep motivated. Whilst there has been a rise in tech options, human connection plays a strong role in this for many. We can’t underestimate the importance that a sense community and face-to-face support from trained fitness professionals play in helping us on our fitness journeys.

Market demographics forecast sustainability 

The demographics of gym goers further demonstrates that there is, and will continue to be sustainable demand. The IHRSA shows that 18-34 year olds hold 30.9% of gym memberships, closely followed by 35-54 year olds at 30.7% whilst memberships held by 55+ are now the fastest growing demographic. It’s certainly the trends we are seeing at Snap Fitness 24/7.

As we all continue to priorities our health and wellbeing, the industry is undeniably set for sustainable growth that will deliver franchises a good return on their investment.

This article comes courtesy of Snap Fitness 24/7, one of the fastest growing fitness brand in the UK with a network of over 80 franchises in the UK and 1,000 globally.

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