National consumer survey gives operators reasons to be optimistic post-lockdown

88 per cent of consumers plan to include physical facilities in their post lockdown exercise routine

A new consumer survey, commissioned by leisure specialists TA6, shows that three quarters of adults (76 per cent) will prioritise their fitness and wellbeing after lockdown and 69 per cent of people who, prior to lockdown classified themselves as ‘inactive’, have increased their levels of physical activity while being confined at home.

More than 4,000 people took part in the TA6 National Fitness Survey, which was distributed and analysed by TA6 powered by Alliance Leisure. It shows that exercise continues to play an important role in people’s lives, with over half of respondents (59 per cent) saying they had maintained or increased the amount of exercise they are doing during lockdown. 

Conducted from 20 to 29 April 2020 across the UK, the survey results give leisure operators reasons to be optimistic. While three quarters of adults (74 per cent) had tried a home workout, only 12 per cent said they would only continue to exercise at home instead of visiting a local leisure centre or club.

By contrast, 88 per cent of respondents plan to use the sector’s clubs and centres as part of their exercise routine post-lockdown. And, a third of consumers who do not currently belong to a gym or leisure centre membership would consider taking up a fitness membership when restrictions ease.

Consumers plan to maintain their exercise regimes after lockdown. Nearly 90 per cent of respondents expect their fitness levels to stay the same or increase, while 76 per cent of adults say that being confined to home has driven a desire to increase their exercise levels when the government starts to relax lockdown rules.

Lockdown has sparked a new interest in exercise among those classed as inactive (taking part in less than 30 minutes of exercise a week). The findings show that 69 per cent of pre-lockdown, inactive consumers have increased their exercise levels. This suggests an opportunity for the sector to capitalise on consumer interest in fitness and to provide activity types that specifically target this group of new activity adopters post-lockdown.

John Leaver, Head of Marketing at TA6, said: “Operators are understandably worried about the future and whether consumers will want to return to physical facilities after lockdown. Our survey shows there are reasons to be optimistic. Not only do people plan to keep up their lockdown activity levels, the vast majority intend to do so in our clubs and leisure centres. As well as this, there is a new market of people for operators to serve thanks to the number of previously inactive people who have developed a new interest in fitness.”

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, commented: “I’d like to thank the Alliance team for sharing this valuable piece of research with the sector. It gives great insight into people’s health and wellbeing attitudes and will prove incredibly useful as we prepare for our new normal.”

Tara Dillon, CEO of CIMSPA, said: “This is a fantastic piece of work from our partner Alliance Leisure. The findings show that a staggering 96 per cent of people who followed a workout from a fitness instructor from a local club would use the club/centre post lockdown – what an incredible endorsement of the value of our sports and physical activity professionals.”

The full report and findings are available to download below.