5 Advantages of Running a Sports, Fitness or Gym Franchise

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Top fitness franchises

Fitness franchises are usually a sound investment, as they belong to a sector that’s on the up. But there are a number of advantages to running a sports, fitness or gym franchise. Read on to find out what they are.


Fitness is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. In 2018, it generated an estimated $94 billion in revenue across the globe, a rise of over $6 billion from the previous year. This means it’s experiencing annual growth of 8.7 percent.

Clearly, fitness franchises can be lucrative, but what other advantages are there to running one?



5 advantages of running a sports, fitness or gym franchise

In its fledgling years, the fitness industry was confined to niche markets and small groups of enthusiastic participants. The weightlifting and bodybuilding craze of the 1980s and the home video workout phase that followed encouraged people to get involved in fitness trends, but neither quite managed to crack the mainstream.

But, in the past decade or so, we’ve gained a greater appreciation of personal health. Let’s take a look at a few of the main reasons why the fitness industry holds great opportunities for prospective franchisees and business owners today.

1. The ‘wellness’ trend

As greater emphasis is placed on general ‘wellness’, the fitness industry has started marketing itself as a key component of a healthy lifestyle. It aligns itself with the health foods industry, which is thought to be worth around $747 billion (roughly £580,000) globally.

The sector also benefits from a growing appreciation for different forms of exercise, such as yoga, cross-training and mixed martial arts. As a result, more and more people are visiting gyms and health clubs regularly.

2. Social media

Social media plays a huge role in the fitness industry, as it puts more pressure on us to look our best and allows us to show the world when we do. Many of the photos shared and promoted by social media users in general are of someone who eats healthily, exercises regularly and participates in fitness regimes. This indirectly promotes the use of sports franchises.

Social media has also contributed to the idea that exercise is an important lifestyle choice and, consequently, a fundamental part of our identity. It has made sharing photographs, information, articles and scientific research far easier and given rise to numerous fitness-related trends. As people try out the latest fads, they can document their journey on social media and encourage others to try it too. Selfies, before and after photos, exercise challenges and food photography all help fitness franchises increase their revenue.

Also, online communications have had an enormous impact on franchises’ ability to succeed, making it far easier to target potential customers and talk to existing members. It also allows franchises to develop a unique brand that appeals to a specific type of customer. This can be seen in the rapid growth of boutique gyms and the huge volume of fitness-related content on social networks.

3. New, accessible business models

Fitness franchises have the chance to drive profitability by using a great business model. Time is at a premium now. Often, people have long working days and are busy looking after children when they get home. Take a gym that uses intelligent business practices to emphasise flexibility, and you have a recipe for success.

Gyms have started adapting their services to the modern lifestyle, becoming more accessible and flexible, and offering affordable memberships schemes. This affordability is key to the growth of fitness franchises, especially as they chase younger customers, many of whom are put off by higher costs.

What’s more, many gym franchise owners have worked hard to incorporate technology into their establishments. By keeping up with technological developments, they have managed to make fitness a part of our everyday lives – and an enjoyable one at that.

This has been complemented by a growth in alternative exercise programmes and classes that allow members to pick and choose how they exercise. By offering novel fitness regimes, franchises can retain existing members and attract new ones.

4. The decline of high street retail businesses

Over the years, changes to other industries have benefitted fitness franchises. One example of this is the way online shopping and internet commerce has hit traditional retailers hard, forcing many to close. This has resulted in a surplus of affordable real estate that fitness businesses can take advantage of. This is particularly useful for franchises, as franchisors can encourage their franchisees to expand their investment to more than one location.

5. Growth potential

Despite the growth of the fitness industry, there are still gaps in the market. Although the UK fitness market is worth an estimated £5 billion, only about 15 percent of UK adults currently hold a gym membership. So, despite increased spending and a rapidly expanding industry, the majority of people still don’t visit a gym regularly.

So, there is plenty of scope to start a profitable fitness franchise by appealing to those who don’t currently have a gym membership or participate in other fitness classes. This is particularly true if you can offer something different to the vast number of businesses already operating in the sector, as you’ll be more likely to tempt new or former gymgoers to use your franchise.

The current state of the fitness industry

The popularity of the fitness, sports and gym sector is clear to see. Today, there are around 210,000 fitness clubs across the world, which are used by 183 million people. The UK has around 7,000 of these clubs – and this is excluding boutique studios, community facilities or gyms within other businesses like hotels.



Join a fitness franchise today

So far, fitness franchises have succeeded because they have embraced change, responded to a society that is increasingly interested in ‘wellness’ and made it affordable for ordinary people to take up a gym membership. The successful businesses have kept their customers in mind and made sure they offer flexible workout options.

By following in their footsteps, you have the chance to generate huge profits with your own fitness franchise. And you’ll benefit not only from the thriving fitness industry, but also the security of joining a franchise. To browse your options and compare investment opportunities, visit our franchise directory here.

>> Read more articles on the Fitness sector

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