Interviews

There’s never been a better time to open a fitness franchise in the UK

3 min read

15 June 2016

Former deputy editor

With almost half of Brits currently in the market for a gym membership, data suggests entrepreneurs and investors seeking a new challenge would do well to consider embracing a fitness venture – particularly one of the franchised variety.

The report highlighted by the British Franchise Exhibition (BFE), which takes place on 17-18 June at EventCity Manchester, found 34 per cent of UK adults said they aren’t members of a gym but would like to join one. Meanwhile, 12 per cent of existing members are looking for a new location to work up a sweat.

The demand for health clubs has risen six per cent annually, while the BFE found franchised companies and the affordable options they bring to the market is enabling them to dominate. Particularly as fees play a part in Brits’ decisions to join gyms.

Brett Edwards, GM at Anytime Fitness, said:“Access to gyms has increased dramatically; they are on our high street and range from budget to high end. Our job is to strike a chord with these consumers and appeal to them as a club not just a place to work out.

“Investing in a health and fitness franchise is one of the smartest business moves you could make in 2016. It is such a lucrative market, consumers are starting to get smart about what they want so businesses need to wise up to that too, as this survey suggests.”

The British Franchise Association (BFA) found that 97 per cent of franchise-owned units reported profitability last year, which encouraged the BFE to insist “franchising is in the best shape it’s ever been”.

BFA CEO Pip Wilkins said: “There is a wide range of business opportunities for different budgets. More choice in a growing marketplace means entrepreneurs are taking notice.”

Read more on the fitness sector:

With 88 24-hour clubs in the UK, Anytime has a global presence with 3,110 locations around the world in areas such as the US, Chile, Mexico, Australia, China, Sweden and Belgium.

“The UK’s attitude to health and fitness has changed dramatically in the last five years. Back then for many of us, going to the gym was a chore reserved only for getting in shape,” continued Edwards.

“Now working out has become so much more than a way of losing a few pounds – it is part of our identity. Gym goers are sharing selfies of themselves, using apps to keep track of their fitness goals and meeting their friends for a catch up on the treadmill.”

We dug deep to find out how the boutique fitness sector is squaring up to gym chain giants in David vs Goliath battle.

Image: Shutterstock