Fitness industry: 70% of gym-goers ditched memberships post-lockdown

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2 min read
Corona virus greeting
Gym-goers have been cautious to rejoin following coronavirus lockdowns. Photo: Getty

A month on from gyms and pools in England getting the OK to re-open their doors following coronavirus lockdowns, Brits are cautiously returning.

With caution being the operative word, just 31% of gym members have returned to their gym since lockdowns ended, according to a survey by RunRepeat.

According to the research, 59.06% of the 5,055 surveyed have cancelled or are considering cancelling their memberships.

Consumer confidence in gyms has deflated since march, with 22.4% fewer members returning to their gyms than had expected to by now and 22.5% more respondents already having cancelled or considering cancelling memberships than expected to in March.

This has played out similarly across the world, with Australians showing the highest impetus to continue paying for gym memberships.

Australians have been the most receptive to returning to the gym post-lockdown according to a survey by RunRepeat. Chart: RunRepeat
Australians have been the most receptive to returning to the gym post-lockdown according to a survey by RunRepeat. Chart: RunRepeat

The UK had the highest gym membership cancellation rate (21.76%) of those surveyed.

Gyms and pools were among the businesses hardest hit by lockdowns, with blanket closures sweeping the fitness industry as the coronavirus set in.

According to research by Hospitality.uk, in 2019, the industry was worth around £5bn, and had grown 20% over the past five years.

READ MORE: Exercise equipment sales spike 5,800% as Brits question returning to the gym

Before July, fitness businesses in England had been closed for four months, and finally received the OK to reopen, after much speculation the government had prioritised other industries such as hospitality. Pubs were allowed to reopen on 4 July.

The sector has warned the financial impact of the pandemic means it will struggle and at least a third of public facilities in England are expected to remain shut.

Community Leisure UK, the members' association that specialises in representing charitable leisure and culture trusts across England, Scotland and Wales, estimated that 48% of all public leisure facilities face closure.

As many as 1,300 could disappear by the end of the year, meaning the loss of 58,000 jobs.