The 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report reveals that the UK health and fitness industry is continuing to strengthen. It has more gyms, more members and a greater market value than ever before. There are over 7,000 gyms in the UK for the first time, total membership is approaching 10 million and market value is just under £5 billion. The penetration rate remains at 14.9%, so 1 in every 7 people in the UK is a member of a gym.

The 2018 report highlights that the industry, over the twelve-month period to the end of March 2018, has seen increases of 4.6% in the number of fitness facilities, 2% in the number of members and 2.9% in market value. But the devil is in the detail as the rate of growth is lower than last year; previously the UK saw increases of over 5% in both members and market value. The report also shows distinct differences in the performance of the key metrics between the public and private sectors over the last 12 months. Can the public sector stabilise amid ever increasing competition from the growing private low-cost market? Will the private sector reach the growth rates of the previous year again or is the rise of boutique studios beginning to take effect?

Pure Gym and GLL have strengthened their positions as the UK’s leading private and public operators (by number of gyms and members). Pure Gym have become the first operator to reach 200 clubs and impressively passed the 1 million member mark earlier this year. GLL, with 194 gyms, are also likely to break the 200 milestone in the next year.

Commenting on the figures, David Minton, Director of LeisureDB said: “After being widely quoted from last year’s report about ‘the golden age of fitness’, I’m sticking to my prediction that the period up to 2020 remains the time for fitness to continue to break all barriers. It has for the past six years, after all; and as the consumer gets more personalisation, localisation, seamless booking and payment options, taking part will become easier. The next challenge will be broader consumer adoption… could we aim for 20% penetration in the UK by 2020?”

Summary of Key Facts

  • The number of fitness facilities in the UK is up from 6,728 to 7,038 this year.
  • Total membership grew by 2% to 9.9 million.
  • Total market value increased by 2.9% to £4.9 billion.
  • The UK penetration rate remained at 14.9%, the same as last year.
  • 275 new fitness facilities opened in the last 12 months, up from 272 in 2017.


The State of the UK Fitness Industry Report is compiled from the most comprehensive review of the UK fitness industry, involving individual contact with all sites. The reporting period is the 12 months to 31st March 2018. The audit and resulting figures are compiled by independent leisure market analysts, LeisureDB, who have been monitoring the performance of the fitness industry for over 30 years. Further details of the report can be found here 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report.