New joiners turn to gym and swim
90% of new joiner visits include some type of fitness or swimming, with new data taken from people who opened new memberships after 25th July 2020.
Are people coming back?
Since the lockdown restrictions on leisure venues have been lifted, there has been a steady growth in memberships, as individuals return or join the facility. At the end of September 2020, the sector showed a joiner rate (joiners as a proportion of total memberships) of just over 6%, balanced against the loss of some members through cancellation.
New joiners are defined as anyone that has joined the facility since 25th July, that did not have a pre-existing membership. This includes members who cancelled during lockdown and subsequently re-joined.
Who are these new joiners?
The prominent age groups are within the 25-44 age range, with limited new joiners comparatively in the 65+ age groups.
What are the activities favoured by new joiners?
The greatest proportion of visits by new joiners are happening in the gym, with 48.8% of activity classed as fitness.
It is clear that while virtual classes and outdoor activities have met some of the latent demand for physical activity during and since lockdown, fitness and swimming are activities that have not been replaced.
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The impact of local restrictions
Local restrictions led to 7% less leisure centre participation in areas with local restrictions, as a result of reduced consumer confidence.
While indoor gyms and leisure facilities were allowed to re-open on 25th July 2020, there has been a range of ‘local restrictions’ on movement in certain areas, starting with Leicester in July and most recently leading to the national ‘tiered’ framework announced on October 12th.
Apart from the most recent Tier 3 restrictions, this has not led to forced closure of facilities in the sport and physical activity sector. However, at 4global we believe it has negatively affected consumer confidence in the use of leisure facilities, reducing activity and participation at facilities in restricted areas.
Insight generated from DataHub indicates that, in the first 8 weeks following local restrictions being imposed, there is a worsening trend for participation in areas that have been restricted, with week 8 of this period showing a 7% reduction* in participation, compared to facilities in areas of no restrictions.
This is forecasted to worsen as facilities in Tier 3 areas are forced to close, both in terms of the total loss of throughput in the areas, as well as a reduction in consumer confidence across the country.
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*all percentage differences are associated with participation in the specific week, compared to participation during the same week in 2019.
Following announcements that indoor gyms and leisure facilities could open on 25th July on 2020, it wasn’t long before the first ‘local restrictions’ were put in place.