fitness business survey

Affected by Covid, the sports hall market is getting color again. With a number of more
in addition to several clubs, a lot of technology and an ultra-personal offer.

A belt notch that needs to be tightened, an ugly bump or an unsightly orange peel that we thought was forgotten and reappears, or just the desire to feel good. After the summer vacation or the end of the year vacation, their libations or food surplus, the nagging question comes back: what if I took a little care of my body? “That’s been true for a long time,” admits Daniel Halifax, CEO of high-end fitness group Ritm and a 27-year veteran of the fitness industry.

“Theatrical recruitment campaigns take place in September and January. Although people have not all returned to their good pre-pandemic habits, we can feel an improvement this fall. According to a study by the Deloitte agency (2020), the French fitness turnover is estimated at 2.6 billion euros. Our country is one of the five major European indoor sports markets.

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In order to attract customers, fitness centers surf trends, from yoga to cycling, and are betting on digitization

“However, with 9% of the French going to a gym, we are still far from the figures for the UK (12% to 13%) or the Netherlands (17%)”, comments Susanne de Schepper, patron of activities in France. of Basic-Fit, the European (1145 rooms) and French (660 clubs) number one.

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Ritm plays the technology card.

© DR

The low-cost operator, which will have 3.5 million subscribers in Europe at the end of the year (+1.2 million compared to 2021), has recovered the majority of its members lost with Covid, and has even registered its first return to profit for two years in the first half of 2022. With a very aggressive pricing policy (monthly plan from 19.99 euros), highly calibrated rooms (1000 square meters) and four employees on average per site, it dominates the French market ahead of the other major low-cost operator, Neoness.

With an estimated turnover of 2.6 billion euros, France is one of the five major markets in Europe

The cultivation of physical appearance is no longer the only reason to join gyms. Clearing the head, releasing the pressure after a day’s work, losing weight and having a social activity are the main arguments cited by professionals in the sector.

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But the health crisis has changed the cards. The premises had to adapt to the new sanitary rules (physical distance, more frequent disinfection of premises and appliances, ventilation, etc.). Today, all the brands are in the middle of a seduction operation and are redoubling their marketing campaigns to attract new customers: promotional offers, sponsorships, etc.

From a low price of 19.99 euros per month to a premium of 2,500 euros per year, players aim widely

In recent years, the offer has been diversified. From premium sports clubs with dieticians and physiotherapists to rooms with unbeatable prices and virtual trainers, to rooms specializing in CrossFit or yoga. At the top of the pyramid are the luxury clubs such as Brach, located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris on the mezzanine of a palace.

The luxurious Brach club, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.

The luxurious Brach club, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.

© DR

Vintage atmosphere inspired by the boxing clubs of the 1930s, dimmed lights, scents of old leather and iodine: here you can recharge your batteries in a 22 meter long swimming pool, a sauna, a hammam, a salt cave. The fitness and relaxation programs follow prescriptions and gestures from sports trainers, osteopaths, naturopaths, physiotherapists, dieticians and therapists. The price for exclusivity: 2,500 euros per year and 150 euros per discovery session.

“Between these two extremes, low price and luxury, we have focused on the middle segment at the top of the range, explains Daniel Halifax. In its premises located in the beautiful districts of Paris and prime locations in the provinces, Ritm plays on two cards: technology, with intelligent machines made in Germany (therefore very expensive) that record all your parameters and adapt to your strength and needs (muscle toning , weight loss); very targeted courses and in small groups (maximum six to ten people).

Digitization has entered the gyms

“Our target, the 35 to 55-year-olds, continues Daniel Halifax, although the need and desire to be fit now concerns up to 65 years and over. »

At Ritm (1,100 euros per year) as at many players, digitization has made its way into the sports halls. We have seen the creation of applications, the possibility of online group lessons, QR codes on machines that give instructions or even the use of social networks to develop your community. To attract customers, the premises surf trends: acroyoga, boxing, HIIT, health and wellness coaching, certified trainers or cycling.

One in eleven French people go to the gym, compared to one in five Americans or one in four Scandinavians

“On average, a customer comes to us twice a week,” continues Susanne de Schepper (Basic-Fit). Gone are the days when you signed up to clear your conscience and forgot your membership card after two sessions. His clientele, 25 to 35 years old, is the most motivated to push the door to the rooms and exercise their muscles.

The Dutch group, which operates all its own clubs, is planning an ambitious program of venue openings in France, particularly in towns of 30,000 to 50,000 inhabitants. One in eleven French people go to the gym, compared to one in five Americans or one in four Scandinavians. Sweden’s empires still have a bright future ahead of them.

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