Secondary Secondary Business

The growth of budget gyms

Anyone who is currently teaching the Edexcel syllabus will know that the pre-release for the basis for the final exam is the Health and Fitness industry. Trends in the industry is one of the things that I have asked my students to look at, they don’t need to know the ins and outs of every financial statement provided but a good overview from their wider reading would be useful to support the statements that they make in their exam. This will also help their analysis to become more contextualised, meaning that they can gain the higher level marks.

There has been a huge increase in low cost gyms over the past 5-10 years with Easygym (yes like EasyJet!) and Pure Gym opening across the country with memberships starting from around £16.99. Virgin Active and David Lloyd where memberships are often £65 – £100+ are starting to notice the difference. Customer trends show that people want flexibility in their contracts, they don’t need all the fancy tennis courts, spas and saunas, what they needs are cheap and accessible gyms that are open around the clock to suit their busy lifestyles.

This is where businesses such as 24hour fitness have come from, in the USA the popularity of such gyms mean that members can access the facilities at anytime of the day with their swipe card, again these customers don’t want classes they just want access to gym equipment at anytime of the day if they are shift workers, such as hospital staff, bartenders or cabin crew.

  • An activity that worked well with my students was to break the class down into small groups and ask each group to complete a SWOT of their given gym – mix this up with budget gyms, boutique and high end gyms. Once this has been completed students can engage in a carousel activity whereby they can gain the information from each other about the different gyms.
  • Another activity would be to ask students to complete a Porters Five Forces diagram for the Health and Fitness industry – again this gets them to think about what they understand from their research and the SWOT if you choose to do this first. This will make them really think about WHY so many new gyms have been able to access and enter the market over the past few years, and should allow them to engage with the level of competition in the industry.
  • You could finally complete this overview of trends with a Kahoot quiz of by setting an exam style question looking at the trends.
  • Example question “ To what extent do you think that the product is the most important element of the marketing mix for the Health and Fitness industry?
  • Example question “ The competitive nature of the industry in the UK has meant that Health and Fitness clubs must look to overseas markets to be success. Do you agree? Justfy your answer.

I’ve included below many news articles that you could tweet or print and share with your students to enable you and them to complete these activities.

Donna-Marie Jestin

Teacher of Business and Principal examiner for a leading UK exam board.



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