How clubs are changing their strategies to adapt to fitness consumer behaviors: it’s what emerges from market trend analysis in Italy by Deloitte, in cooperation with EuropeActive, that Tommaso Nastasi, Partner of Deloitte Financial Advisory and Value Creation Services in Italy, has showed and explain at “Experience the power of innovation”, EuropeActive convention, promoted also by ANIF Eurowellness, Association that in Italy represents sport and fitness clubs owners and managers. The Convention was addressed to clubs owners and managers focusing on innovative concepts for managing fitness clubs.
Italy, from a fragmented to polarized market
Italian market, in terms of active population, number of clubs and number of members for club, has grown to achieve 2.3B€ in 2018. Considering top 10 EU countries by market value in 2018, Italy ranks 4th in terms of size and 5th in terms of percentage growth in 2016-2018 period with a +2.0% CAGR, following Poland (+8.2%), Switzerland (+2.9%), Germany (+2.7%) and Spain (+2.7%). Fragmentation is a peculiarity of the Italian market, which is characterized by a 21% chain penetration that in other Top 6 EU countries can reach up to 44%. Therefore, the Italian market has a good unexpressed full potential for chains.
Transformation process of fitness demand and consequent market segmentation by the clubs, that appears more mature in other European countries, is involving also Italy: one of the related effects is the polarization between premium (in Italy accounted by boutique) and low cost. In Italy, the growth is driven by these two segments: the first one has grown by 32 units and the second one by 27 in 2017-2018 period. Facing low cost competition fitness clubs, independent mid-market clubs tend to redesign their strategy from “fitness generalist” to “signature specialist”. Medium fitness clubs has redesigned customers experience offered, in order to imitate premium clubs while maintaining the same price as a generalist.
Active population: a geographical gap
The active population in Italy has increased and, in 2018, reached 26% of the population. In particular, this growth is driven by some trends among millennials, such as greater attention to physical appearance, due to the increase in the use of social networks and by a more widespread awareness of the health benefits of physical activity. Anti-obesity campaigns and those for the adoption of correct lifestyles have increased. The proverbial gap between the cities of the North and those of the South remains unchanged: those who train more reside in Milan (28.5%), Trieste (28.1%), Verona (27.8%), concentrated mainly in the North with the exception of Rome, which in any case reaches 27.3% against, for example, 24.7% in Turin.
Consumption trends in fitness
Here are the most significant key trends in the current fitness Italian market.
The growth of low cost has impacted the offer of the fitness experience, also reducing the average monthly revenue for member.
The medium segment of clubs tends to redesign its business model towards greater specialization: this creates a polarization between low cost and premium.
The 4 relevant fitness trends are: group training, interval training, medical fitness and wearable design.
New partnerships between companies and clubs.
Lifestyle behavior change: more attention to health but also more attention to physical appearance, by millennials.