We all know that New Year is traditionally the time for making resolutions. For many people more exercise is high on the list, and they use this time as an opportunity to join the gym, to return to the gym, or generally find a way to start exercising more regularly. There are nearly 7,500 gyms in the country but not all places are equal and not all people want to use the gym in the same way.
At Newgrove we have mapped every sports facility in the UK. This enables us to analyse the location of all the gyms in the UK and understand how they serve the local population.
So which places have the highest levels of gym provision?
Our analysis shows some surprises. In some of the more rural counties like Cornwall, Northumberland, or Cumbria the per capita availability of gym facilities is highest and some of the larger conurbations suffer most from lack of access.
We have analysed how many gyms there are in each of these locations and calculated the number of people per gym to understand provision.
The table below shows those parts of the UK where gym access is greatest in terms of the number of facilities available per head of population.
Which ones have the lowest?
Meanwhile in Staffordshire, South Yorkshire and the East Riding, which house cities such as Stoke, Sheffield and Hull, there appears to be pent up demand purely based on total population alone as the table below shows.
How does age and lifestyle factor into this?
We know your likelihood to go to the gym is going to vary enormously according to the type of person you are. Propensity to join a leisure club will be impacted by factors such as your age, your lifestyle, or your family circumstances. There is also a burgeoning active population amongst retirees so it important to look at this topic in different ways.
On average roughly 16% of the UK has gym membership although this varies significantly by age group. The 65+ group is a fast-growing part of the fitness sector. However, membership levels vary from less than 10% in the 55- 64 age group to nearly 30% in the 25-34 category.
Areas of the UK such as Torbay and the Isle of Wight contrast sharply with urban boroughs such as Town Hamlets, Hackney and Newham where the percentage of retirees can vary from nearly 30% in the former to less than 10% in the latter.
New concepts especially those focussed on more physical activity, out of ours use, or solo experience will thrive in locations with higher concentrations of working aged people. In contrast the broader range of facilities that you see in the larger more established clubs are more suited to the lifestyles of the retired and of family groups.
What sort of data can you use to assess this?
It is important to look at the lifestyle of visitors and the trade-off between local authority provision and private provision of fitness facilities. Clearly the cost of monthly membership of the private gym groups represents a significant financial outlay. Therefore, there is inevitably going to be a relationship between the locations of these facilities and demographics.
This is illustrated by the map below which shows the location of one of the leading chains in Nottingham. This is in an area of affluence as indicated by the ONS Index of Multiple Deprivation data which is also displayed on the same map.
Overall access to sports facilities varies significantly across the country and this needs to be related to age, income and behaviour of the local population to truly understand the dynamics. All this data comes as standard with the licence of Periscope® from Newgrove.
How can I access all this data?
Periscope®, Newgrove’s geospatial tool in the cloud, is widely used across the leisure and gym industry to help our clients understand their customers, assess the potential for new locations and carry out local area marketing to increase membership levels.
Please get in touch with our team to request a demo and to find out how you can use Periscope® to grow your business and build a successful expansion strategy.
To find out how Periscope® could help you expand your gym or leisure business or to request a free demonstration, please do not hesitate to contact us today.