Restaurants in gyms are helping to attract Britons to spend more as they exercise, as spending at the country’s top 15 chains rose 8% last year.
Spending on gyms is growing faster than other leisure activities, such as pubs or bars, as they find ever more innovative ways to attract customers.
Some are offering DJs, while others allow their members to live-stream classes and join in from home, the park, the office, or wherever else they happen to be.
UK gym chains are reaping the rewards from the country’s health craze amongst certain elements of the populationTim Woodgates, Moore
“Gyms that have quickly reacted to the latest trends tend to be the ones driving growth in the sector,” said Tim Woodgates, an associate at accountants Moore, which compiled the data.
They show spending rose to £1.61 billion in the 2017-18 financial year, up from £1.24 billion just two years earlier.
The 8% rise last year compares to a 3.8% rise for recreation and culture as a whole, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
“UK gym chains are reaping the rewards from the country’s health craze amongst certain elements of the population,” Mr Woodgates said.
“The industry has even spawned a new sector of ‘sport-lux’. Employers are also contributing to increased turnover by offering gym memberships as an employment perk.”
But the success of the sector comes not just because it has managed to innovate by giving members access to spas, personal trainers, and mobile apps.
A pincer movement has also offered budget gyms, which allow flexible subscriptions, including pay-as-you-go options.
“Those that have developed the social side of gym going are doing particularly well – especially those that are renowned for group-style workouts. Some of these gyms even have DJs, which is part of the attraction for both experienced gym-goers and the newcomers,” Woodgates said.
“More and more established gyms are now trying to follow suit.”