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Leisure Centres and Swimming Pools - UK - February 2014

“Technology (whether in the form of an app or wearable products) can be a powerful tool to boost motivation and increase retention levels, because it allows regular and accurate measurement of performance and fitness.”

– Michael Oliver – Senior Leisure and Media Analyst

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • How can operators demonstrate empathy for customers’ squeezed financial circumstances?
  • How can operators increase the appeal of their centres to women?
  • How can operators capitalise on interest shown among over-45s?
  • What can operators do to try to engage with non-exercisers or non-users of leisure centres?
  • Where are the opportunities for operators around the growth in mobile technology?
  • Is there potential for operators to develop personal training services further?
  • Is there an opportunity for operators to smooth usage through the use of technology?

Despite concerns about consumers’ spending power in the face of a continued squeeze on living standards, the market for leisure centres and swimming pools has managed to maintain a pattern of growth in the past five years. Although operators had some misgivings about the actual benefit of the Olympics, they have been reporting strong growth in numbers of swimmers and gym members since London 2012. While there is little doubt that they have generally improved their offer, it is clear that the Olympics played a role in encouraging people to get more active.

This report assesses the current status of the market in terms of value of spend, number of centres and how revenues divide between sport and ancillary areas. It also ranks the leading operators by turnover and number of sites operated. Finally, it provides a comprehensive programme of consumer research into consumers’ visiting habits, frequency of visiting, the types of activity they do in leisure centres, reasons for using or not using them and finally some more general attitudes towards sport and exercise. Mintel last reported on this subject in Leisure Centres and Swimming Pools – UK, January 2013.

This report covers local authority-owned leisure centres and swimming pools, including facilities run on a ‘dual use’ basis, eg facilities housed within schools etc. that are available for use by the public at certain times of the day or week. Despite often being in direct competition with public leisure centre facilities, private health and fitness clubs are excluded from the coverage of this report, as are all other private facilities that are not open to the general public, such as those reserved for employees, or association or trade union members.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Figure 1: UK market for leisure centres and swimming pools, 2008-18
            • Market factors
              • Figure 2: Indexed price of fuels purchased by non-domestic consumers in the United Kingdom (excluding the Climate Change Levy), at current prices, 2008-13
            • Companies, brands and innovation
              • Figure 3: Leading operators of leisure centres and swimming pools, by turnover, January 2014
            • The consumer
              • Current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools
                • Figure 4: Current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, 2012 and 2013
              • Sport and exercise participation
                • Figure 5: Sport and exercise participation, October 2013
              • Frequency of usage of leisure centres and swimming pools
                • Figure 6: Frequency of usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, 2012 and 2013
              • Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools
                • Figure 7: Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
              • Reasons for using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool
                • Figure 8: Reasons for using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, October 2013
              • Reasons for not using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool
                • Figure 9: Reasons for not using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, October 2013
              • Attitudes towards sport and exercise
                • Figure 10: Attitudes towards sport and exercise, October 2013
              • What we think
              • Issues in the Market

                  • How can operators demonstrate empathy for customers’ squeezed financial circumstances?
                    • How can operators increase the appeal of their centres to women?
                      • How can operators capitalise on interest shown among over-45s?
                        • What can operators do to try to engage with non-exercisers or non-users of leisure centres?
                          • Where are the opportunities for operators around the growth in mobile technology?
                            • Is there potential for operators to develop personal training services further?
                              • Is there an opportunity for operators to smooth usage through the use of technology?
                              • Trend Application

                                  • Trend: Help Me Help Myself
                                    • Trend: Return to the Experts
                                      • Mintel Futures: Old Gold
                                      • Market Drivers

                                        • Key points
                                          • Energy still a hot topic
                                            • Figure 11: Average price of fuels purchased by non-domestic consumers in the United Kingdom (excluding the Climate Change Levy), 2008-13
                                          • Simplified CRC tax still a burden
                                              • Figure 12: Tonnes of CO2 emissions of leading leisure centres and swimming pool operators, 2010/11 vs 2011/12
                                            • Centre numbers stabilise
                                              • Figure 13: Trends in the number of leisure centres and swimming pools in the UK, 2008-12
                                            • Closure versus investment
                                              • Outdoor gyms provide breath of fresh air
                                                • Sports less of a priority during times of economic hardship
                                                  • Figure 14: Sports played in last six months, June 2011-May 2013
                                                  • Figure 15: Leisure activities’ net spending trend* in past 12 months, by sector, July 2013
                                                • Boom in technology ownership presents opportunities
                                                  • Figure 16: Technology products in household, September 2012 and September 2013
                                                • Consumers continue to face economic challenges
                                                  • Figure 17: Trends in inflation and average weekly earnings, 2008-13
                                              • Who’s Innovating?

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Tech takes centre stage
                                                    • We don’t just want to run
                                                      • Encouraging the marginalised
                                                        • Letting the young have a voice
                                                          • Operators also have their say
                                                            • People power
                                                            • Market Size and Forecast

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • A slight Olympics bounce?
                                                                  • Figure 18: UK market for leisure centres and swimming pools, 2008-18
                                                                • Forecast
                                                                  • Figure 19: UK leisure centres and swimming pools market size forecast, 2008-18
                                                              • Segment Performance

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Majority of centres still have pools
                                                                    • Figure 20: Trends in numbers of leisure centres and swimming pools in the UK, by type, 2011-13
                                                                  • Trusts close in on in-house operations
                                                                    • Figure 21: Leisure centres and swimming pools, by type of operator, 2011-13
                                                                  • Sports activities still the main revenue source
                                                                    • Figure 22: Estimated revenue breakdown of leisure centres and swimming pools, 2012 and 2013
                                                                • Market Share

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • The growth of Greenwich Leisure continues
                                                                      • Figure 23: Leading operators of leisure centres and swimming pools, by turnover, January 2014
                                                                    • Greenwich Leisure almost reaches the century mark
                                                                      • Figure 24: Leading operators of leisure centres and swimming pools, by number of sites, January 2014
                                                                  • Companies and Products

                                                                      • Greenwich Leisure Ltd
                                                                          • Figure 25: Greenwich Leisure Ltd, clients and sites, January 2014
                                                                          • Figure 26: Greenwich Leisure Ltd, key financial data, 2011 and 2012
                                                                          • Figure 27: Greenwich Leisure Ltd, incoming resources breakdown, 2011 and 2012
                                                                        • DCL (Holdings) Ltd
                                                                            • Figure 28: DC Leisure, clients and sites, January 2014
                                                                            • Figure 29: DCL Holdings Ltd, key financial data, 2012 and 2013
                                                                          • Sports and Leisure Management Limited (SLM)
                                                                              • Figure 30: Sports and Leisure Management, clients and sites, January 2014
                                                                              • Figure 31: Sports and Leisure Management Ltd, key financial data, 2012 and 2013
                                                                            • Parkwood Leisure Limited
                                                                                • Figure 32: Parkwood Leisure, clients and sites, January 2014
                                                                                • Figure 33: Parkwood Leisure Ltd, key financial data, 2011 and 2012
                                                                              • Fusion Lifestyle
                                                                                • Figure 34: Fusions Lifestyle, clients and sites, January 2014
                                                                                • Figure 35: Fusion Lifestyle, key financial data, 2011 and 2012
                                                                                • Figure 36: Fusion Lifestyle, revenue breakdown, 2011 and 2012
                                                                              • Leisure Connection Limited
                                                                                  • Figure 37: Leisure Connection Ltd, key financial data, 2011 and 2012
                                                                                • Serco Leisure
                                                                                    • Figure 38: Serco Leisure, clients and sites, January 2014
                                                                                    • Figure 39: Serco Leisure Ltd, key financial data, 2011 and 2012
                                                                                • The Consumer – Current Usage

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Users hold steady but signs of success with memberships
                                                                                      • Figure 40: Current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, 2012 and 2013
                                                                                    • Women offer the greatest potential for growth
                                                                                      • Figure 41: Current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, by gender and age, October 2013
                                                                                  • The Consumer – Sport and Exercise Participation

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Home exercise rivals the leisure centre
                                                                                        • Figure 42: Sport and exercise participation, October 2013
                                                                                      • Outdoor competition
                                                                                        • Apps and wearable tech present opportunities
                                                                                          • Targeting the inactive
                                                                                          • The Consumer – Frequency of Usage

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Almost half of users visit weekly or more often
                                                                                                • Figure 43: Frequency of usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, 2012 and 2013
                                                                                              • Approaching two thirds of monthly members visit weekly or more
                                                                                                • Figure 44: Frequency of usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, by current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                            • The Consumer – Activities Done at Leisure Centres

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Swimming underpins appeal of leisure centres
                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                                • Gym is a big draw for monthly members
                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, by current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                              • The Consumer – Reasons for Visiting

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Proximity is the main reason for using a leisure centre
                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Reasons for using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, October 2013
                                                                                                  • Social aspect more important to gym, class and indoor sport users
                                                                                                    • Figure 48: Reasons for using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, by most popular activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Reasons for using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, by next most popular activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                                • The Consumer – Reasons for Not Visiting

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Affordability or value perceptions top list of objections
                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Reasons for not using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, October 2013
                                                                                                    • Potential users deterred by cost and overcrowding
                                                                                                      • Figure 51: Reasons for not using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, by current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                                  • The Consumer – Attitudes towards Sport and Exercise

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Leave me alone
                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Attitudes towards sport and exercise, October 2013
                                                                                                    • Appendix – Market Size Forecast Scenarios

                                                                                                        • Figure 53: UK leisure centres and swimming pools market size forecast scenarios, 2013-18
                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer – Current Usage

                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, by demographics, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, by demographics, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer – Sport and Exercise Participation

                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Sport and exercise participation, by demographics, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Sport and exercise participation, by demographics, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Sport and exercise participation, by demographics, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Sport and exercise participation, by current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Sport and exercise participation, by current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Sport and exercise participation, by sport and exercise participation, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Sport and exercise participation, by sport and exercise participation, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Sport and exercise participation, by sport and exercise participation, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer – Frequency of Usage

                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Frequency of usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, by demographics, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Frequency of usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, by demographics, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer – Activities Done at Leisure Centres

                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, by demographics, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, by demographics, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, by demographics, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 69: Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, by sport and exercise participation, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 70: Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, by sport and exercise participation, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 71: Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, by frequency of usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 72: Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, by activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 73: Activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, by activities done at leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                    • Appendix – Reasons for Visiting

                                                                                                        • Figure 74: Reasons for using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, by demographics, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 75: Reasons for using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, by demographics, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 76: Reasons for using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, by current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 77: Reasons for using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, by frequency of usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Frequency of usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, by sport and exercise participation, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 79: Frequency of usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, by sport and exercise participation, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer – Reasons for Not Visiting

                                                                                                        • Figure 80: Reasons for not using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, by demographics, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 81: Reasons for not using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, by demographics, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 82: Reasons for not using a leisure centre and/or swimming pool complex, by sport and exercise participation, October 2013
                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer – Attitudes towards Sport and Exercise

                                                                                                        • Figure 83: Attitudes towards sport and exercise, by demographics, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 84: Attitudes towards sport and exercise, by demographics, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 85: Attitudes towards sport and exercise, by current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 86: Attitudes towards sport and exercise, by current usage of leisure centres and swimming pools, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 87: Attitudes towards sport and exercise, by sport and exercise participation, October 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 88: Attitudes towards sport and exercise, by sport and exercise participation, October 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                        • Figure 89: Attitudes towards sport and exercise, by sport and exercise participation, October 2013 (continued)

                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                    • Advertising Standards Authority
                                                                                                    • Amateur Swimming Association
                                                                                                    • DC Leisure Management Ltd
                                                                                                    • Fitness Industry Association
                                                                                                    • Greater London Authority
                                                                                                    • Greenwich Leisure Ltd
                                                                                                    • Islington Council
                                                                                                    • Leisure Connection Ltd
                                                                                                    • Parkwood Leisure
                                                                                                    • Serco Group plc
                                                                                                    • Serco Leisure
                                                                                                    • SLM Corporation
                                                                                                    • Sovereign Capital Partners LLP
                                                                                                    • Sports and Leisure Management Ltd
                                                                                                    • Technogym UK Ltd
                                                                                                    • Westfield Group

                                                                                                    Leisure Centres and Swimming Pools - UK - February 2014

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