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First Private Sector Benchmarking report shows 10.2% growth in memberships since 2022

Private fitness operators report a 10.2% growth in memberships since 2022, representing an increase of 345,958 members, according to ukactive and 4GLOBAL’s first Private Sector Benchmarking report.

The report is based on data collected in 2022 and 2023 from 12 private operators, representing 1,089 privately operated fitness and leisure facilities. Despite the rising cost of living and energy prices, the private sector continues to demonstrate strong participation, with membership numbers, number of sites and membership revenues all rising.

Key findings:

• A net of 78 new clubs opened across the UK, representing a growth rate of 7.7%

• The greatest quarterly growth was seen between Q3 2022 and Q4 2022, with a net of 27 new clubs opening

• The number of members between Q1 2022 and Q4 2023 increased by 345,958 (10.2%)

• Membership revenue across the same period rose by 22.4%


The Private Sector Benchmarking project began in 2021 when facilities reopened following the COVID-19 pandemic, with ukactive and 4GLOBAL collecting quarterly performance data from participating ukactive members to generate an accurate picture of the private sector’s performance. Operators taking part receive access to a private 4GLOBAL dashboard, where they can track their performance and benchmark this against sector averages on a quarterly basis. They will be able use the data and insights to help support their strategies and growth, based on emerging market trends. Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: ‘These findings provide irrefutable evidence that people want to be more physically active and are prioritising their health and wellbeing by using gyms, pools and leisure facilities. ‘This data is essential in helping show the Government and policymakers the value and potential of the physical activity sector and its role in addressing some of the nation’s biggest challenges, in terms of public health and economic growth. Indeed, in a General Election year, the credibility of the public health plans from all the main political parties will be dependent on how they plan to leverage the full potential of these facilities.’

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