Gym trends: how to entice new users and inspire current subscribers

A picture of gym equipment

The fitness industry is booming and is set to reach important milestones in the UK, including the number of gyms topping 7,000, memberships exceeding 10 million, and the market value coming to £5 billion.

We ran a demographic steer asking just under eight thousand people how often they visit the gym. The results we obtained showed almost half of our consumer community visit the gym, be it daily, weekly or monthly:

Looking into the results from another steer, which segmented gym goers into members of a particular gym, including an option for those who did not attend a large chain, it showed that 65% of people were not members of any gym. The difference of around 11 percentage points might stem from the group of people not taking out a membership but instead paying per visit, which could work out cheaper than a membership for some.

Considering the large percentage of people not using a gym membership, we attempted to determine the reason for this. We selected five popular arguments against and ran a multi-answer steer, including a ‘none of the above’ option:

The second most influential argument against gym membership was unwillingness to enter a long-term contract. A pay-as-you-go system would be more cost effective for the respondents giving this answer, who are usually infrequent gym goers. As for the supposedly more frequent gym goers, who have a particular reason for exercising, such as strength and conditioning, body confidence, weight loss, etc., we attempted to obtain information on most preferred activities by a multi-answer steer:

Three of the most popular activities at a gym from the users we tested came back as cardio, classes and weights. This justifies the rapid rise of gyms offering a simple service of a fully equipped gym, providing classes with a cheap membership. This sought-after concept has boosted the rapid expansion of PureGym, which reached one million members in 2018. From the other hand, swimming is also one of the top reasons behind going to the gym, which justifies the market for leisure centres as opposed to gyms. It was interesting to establish what proportion of gym goers attend classes:

Classes are proving popular with more than 35% of gym goers attending them at least once a week. Providing a range of classes to suit various needs is an important way to attract new customers and keep existing members interested in retaining their membership.

As a way of attracting people to join a gym, a variety of classes could be offered ranging from yoga to boxing. New types of classes are constantly added, moving away from traditional options. We ran a preference steer, asking 506 gym goers to choose their favourite less traditional classes. The most popular exclusive preference was hot yoga which has increased in popularity with people becoming more aware of the negative effects of being seated in the same position for long periods.

The close second result of cold room body pump, with reported benefits of reduced muscle soreness and inflammation, showed the willingness of potential users of fitness classes being up to try relatively unknown classes as a way to stay motivated.

Hot yoga and cold room body pump have the highest potential to attract gym goers, especially the youngest. The two options were highlighted as both exclusive preferences, where consumers chose the same option every time it was offered (shown on the left) and overall preferences (on the right-hand side).

The fitness market is still growing on top of the already huge growth accomplished in the past decade triggered by the quest for a healthier lifestyle. Using the Vypr app can provide guidance to what gyms can offer to potential customers to satisfy the large variety of preferences. It can help gauge potential success of new ideas by measuring people’s responses to a set of industry-specific questions.