PESTEL analysis of the fitness (gym) industry
This is an in-depth PESTEL analysis of the fitness (gym) industry. The fitness industry is growing very fast in many countries around the world. It is evolving from a niche to a mainstream industry, and many players have entered it with long-term plans and strategies. As a result, there are many challenges for all those involved in this ecosystem. However, the challenges also present tremendous opportunities for those willing to seize them.
Political factors that affect the fitness (gym) industry
The fitness industry is very developed in big economies. Countries such as USA, UK, and Germany have thousands of health and fitness clubs. These countries have the largest number of fitness club memberships as well (Stasha, 2022). However, in some countries particularly in poor and developing ones, the fitness industry is still in its infancy. It has only recently started gaining traction. In those countries, there are still many challenges that it must overcome.
Government assistance is very low which may hamper the growth of the fitness industry. In some countries, it is indeed non-existent. For this industry to grow, governments need to allocate more resources. It is worth mentioning that the UK government has allocated £100 million to 266 local authorities across England to support the publicly owned leisure centers and gyms that have been struggling from the impact of national and local lockdowns (Harding, 2022).
In countries where there is a growing penetration of health insurance or government programs for the health sector, the demand for fitness equipment and services is increasing. This is one of the significant factors that is affecting the market growth of the fitness industry.
Economic factors that affect the fitness (gym) industry
Economic environment is an important element of this PESTEL analysis of the fitness (gym) industry. This industry is growing at a significant rate, though it went through difficulties due to global lockdowns in the last few years. As a result, it is faced with fierce competition with many competitors vying for the market share. However, it should be mentioned that the growth rate varies from one country to another.
The rise in disposable income in some countries has led to an increase in demand for fitness equipment and services. Particularly, increased disposable income has generated a lot of fitness interest among the upper middle class. This demand is expected to continue, further fueling the growth of the fitness market.
According to Gough (2021) the UK has over 7.2 thousand health and fitness clubs which cater to the needs of over 10 million members. Only Germany has more health and fitness club members in Europe. However, many of those clubs are small in size and generate only 100 and 250 thousand British pounds a year. The big and famous ones usually make millions of pounds.
Social factors that affect the fitness (gym) industry
The population is aging in countries such as USA, UK, China, Russia, Australia, Japan, and many others. This is an important social factor that has led to the demand for health and fitness services among the older population.
As people lead a more health-conscious lifestyle, they are also more aware of the common lifestyle challenges. Particularly, the awareness among the youth regarding health and fitness is increasing rapidly. This has led to an increase in the demand for fitness services among them. The lifestyle of the youth is going through constant changes. With the rise of social media and internet penetration, they are now more health conscious.
Millions of adults and children around the world suffer from overweight and obesity. In addition to having healthier dietary choices, health experts advise them to engage in regular physical activities. Many people’s desire to maintaining a healthy lifestyle has led to an increase in demand for fitness clubs and equipment.
Technological factors that affect the fitness (gym) industry
Technological environment is also a key element in this PESTEL analysis of the fitness (gym) industry. Today, many fitness clubs have their own apps that help members connect with the brand. There are millions of videos on YouTube that help people understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle which they can achieve by carrying out lots of physical exercise. The growing popularity of health and fitness apps has led to an increase in the demand for fitness equipment. However, it is often difficult for consumers to identify the best app as there are many available out there.
Many fitness clubs are now using virtual training and coaching tools. They are now encouraging members to join online health and fitness sessions from the comfort of their home. However, some clubs are reluctant to integrate new technologies into their operations because of privacy and security challenges.
Environmental factors that affect the fitness (gym) industry
Fitness clubs consume a lot of electricity and water which can impact on the environment. Therefore, many of them are now trying to be eco-friendly. Moore (2022) reports that LifeTime, which has over 150 fitness locations in the USA and Canada, have set a five-year plan to reduce energy and water consumption. Likewise, other brands such as Green Microgym Belmont, and Green Fitness Studio are also well known as environmentally friendly.
Legal factors that affect the fitness (gym) industry
The final factor to consider in this PESTEL analysis of the fitness (gym) industry is the legal environment. It should be mentioned that there are no specific laws regarding the fitness market in many countries. However, laws for health and safety, employment, insurance, trade license, and equality govern most aspects of a fitness club.
Summary of PESTEL analysis of the fitness (gym) industry
The fitness industry is growing, and the consumer behaviour is changing rapidly. Many people want to get the benefits of a joining a gym while staying within the comfort of their home. Therefore, fitness providers need to re-evaluate their value propositions and explore opportunities to address the changing dynamics of consumer behaviour.
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Last update: 12 January 2023
Gough, C. (2021) Fitness industry in the United Kingdom (UK) – statistics & facts, available at: https://www.statista.com/topics/3411/fitness-industry-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/ (accessed 14 July 2022)
Harding, L. (2022) UK government announces £100m to support leisure centre recovery, available at: https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/uk-government-announces-100m-to-support-leisure-centre-recovery-095152983.html (accessed 12 July 2022)
Moore, P. (2022) Gyms are going ‘green,’ but are they actually eco-friendly? Here’s what to look for, available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2022/02/08/green-gym-how-to-find/ (accessed 14 July 2022)
Stasha, S. (2022) 19+ Statistics and facts about the fitness industry, available at: https://policyadvice.net/insurance/insights/fitness-industry-statistics/ (accessed 14 July 2022)
Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.