As another year comes to a close, it pays to take a look at how different industries fared during another period of strange and unsettled times. The outdoor fitness sector came into 2021 fresh off the heels of a market boom, and as the new year dawns it’s still fighting fit.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic meant the world seemed to stop for a while – but fitness fanatics certainly did not. Whilst 2021 was still a slightly uncertain year for the indoor, crowded likes of the gym, fitness and sport sector, the outdoor fitness revolution sector continues to make its mark on history.
The outdoor fitness sector in 2021
It’s a great time to be franchising in the outdoor fitness sector – the market size of sporting and outdoor equipment retailers in the UK stands at a worth of £9billion currently [IBISworld]. With keeping fit in a COVID-safe manner still at the forefront of many peoples’ minds, it’s no wonder so many are investing in ways to burn those calories whilst out in the fresh air.
When the UK first entered lockdown back in March of 2020, gyms countrywide were forced to close their doors to keep everyone safe. For this reason, many gym customers then chose to cancel their memberships – some temporarily, others permanently. It was reported that gym chain The Gym Group lost around 178,000 members between March and mid-July of 2020 [IBISWorld], a loss of 20 percent of its customer base.
But whilst gyms closed, the outdoor world remained open. Brits became accustomed to keeping fit at home – in the form of running, purchasing at-home gym equipment, getting out for walks, and more – and this is one part of the new normal that just might be here to stick around. With the added advantages of cutting out gym membership costs and saving on time, a study revealed 29 percent of men and 36 percent of women now prefer to work out at home [CIL Management Consultants].
As the past few years can attest, the future is often surprising and impossible to predict, but it’s safe to say that with all the benefits outdoor keep fit provides, the outdoor fitness industry is sure to stay healthy in 2022 and beyond.
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The outdoor fitness sector business outlook
For many people, keeping fit is an important part of maintaining both their physical and mental wellbeing. This is the ethos of children’s sports equipment franchise SportsCool – a franchise that enjoyed such astonishing levels of growth in 2021, they are now looking to expand in 2022 across 20 more towns and cities. A real testament to the hard work of this franchise, and the success of this sector as a whole.
In 2021 many exciting new trends have been established in the outdoor fitness industry, with post-pandemic Brits looking for new and innovative ways to keep healthy and stay in shape. The trend for virtual workouts experienced an understandable boom during the lockdown days of the COVID-19 outbreak, and this newfound popularity for at-home, accessible workouts shows no sign of slowing down.
The pandemic has rearranged people’s thinking about going outdoors. That has implications for so many things like how non-sports retailers will be impacted, how many national parks we need, what capacity should be at newly-built tennis courts, swimming pools, etc., how will this change what people wear to work and so many other things. This is good for general health and some of the winners can be identified even now.
-Richard Kestenbaum, Forbes
The advent of fitness tech is also a huge boon to the outdoor fitness sector. Strap on a FitBit, Apple Watch or similar, and it will tell you as much and more as any of the fancy gym equipment your membership used to pay for.
The advantages of running an outdoor fitness franchise
You’ll need a fair amount of skills to truly shine in the outdoor fitness sector, amongst them excellent organisation, the ability to multitask, good communication skills and – of course – a real passion for the fitness industry. If you’ve got what it takes to run an outdoor fitness franchise, this thriving sector is jam-packed with a whole host of fantastic advantages.
- You can find your niche – Whether it’s Pilates, Boxercise, Crossfit or Zumba, the world of outdoor fitness is a wide and varied one. All you have to do is find the right niche to fit you and ensure that your business stands out from your competitors’.
- Fresh air and vitamin D – Both super important, both available for free and in abundance when you set up an outdoor fitness franchise. Keeping the body topped up on vitamin D through sunlight helps regulate its neuromuscular and immune systems, and the fresh outdoor air is far less likely to place your customers at risk of catching a fellow fitness-fanatic’s germs.
- Choose working hours that suit you – Running an outdoor fitness franchise is perfect if you’re looking to balance managing your new business around all your other life activities. Run 9-5 classes to suit certain demographics such as students and new parents, or hold evening and weekend sessions that avoid times when you’re busy with the school run – whatever suits you.
Franchising opportunities in the outdoor fitness sector
If you’re more certain than ever that you want to start your own outdoor fitness business, you’re in luck – there’s a goldmine of fabulous franchising opportunities to be snapped up in this sector.
>> Read more:
- 5 Advantages of Running a Sports, Fitness or Gym Franchise
- The Best Around-The-Clock Fitness Franchises in the UK
- How to Start Your Own Outdoor Fitness Business
- Q&A: Does Planet Fitness Franchise in the UK?
- Sector Spotlight: The CEOs Whipping the Sports, Fitness, and Gym Industry Into Tip-Top Shape
- 6 Tips for Building a Business Plan for a Successful Sports, Fitness, or Gym Franchise
Founded in 2011, Kixx teaches kids aged between 18 months and 10 years the fundamentals of football and movement skills.
- Becoming a Kixx franchisee: Come equipped with a passion for sport and a commitment to having a positive impact on the community and the children you’ll be coaching, and you’ll be the ideal Kixx franchisee.
- How much you need to invest: You’ll need to make a minimum initial investment of £5,000, with a total investment cost of £14,995 and an operating fee charged at 20%.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll receive access to a comprehensive ongoing training programme and head office support.
SportsCool works with children all across the UK, delivering outdoor sessions designed with both fun and fitness in mind.
- Becoming a SportsCool franchisee: Don’t worry about having experience, just bring oodles of sports enthusiasm and the desire to build your own business.
- How much you need to invest: You’ll need to make a minimum initial investment of £24,995, with a royalty fee charged at £600 a month.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll receive support with setting-up, accountancy and HR, and all the equipment and training that you could need.
Start running your own outdoor franchise business today
There’s never been a better time to join this superb sector. With so many outdoor fitness franchises to choose from, all you need to do is pick the one that’s right for you, put together a brilliant business plan, and you’ll be off and running.
Hannah Burnett, Point Franchise ©