Monday 17 August 2015 5:33 pm

Britain gets into shape as spending on gyms soars

Kasmira Jefford covers retail, consumer and property news at City A.M.

Kasmira Jefford covers retail, consumer and property news at City A.M.

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Britain's obsession with fitness has showed no signs of slowing over the past year as spending on gym memberships soared 44 per cent.

Budget fitness chains such as Pure Gym and the Gym Group have helped to shake-up the sector over the last five years by offering cheap memberships, scrapping contracts and catering to people with unusual working hours by opening 24 hours a day.

Spending on these no-frills chains rose 66 per cent in the year to July compared with the previous year, according to advertising and technology firm Cardlytics.

Mid and top-tier gyms such as Gym Box, Virgin Active and Fitness First have also performed well after being forced to raise their game, with spending up 22 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively.

Cardlytics said it tracked the spending behaviour of 5.5m UK bank customers. As part of this, it has looked into the spending behaviour of gym-goers in the eight weeks prior to them joining a gym, and the first eight weeks of their membership.

At specialty health stores, spending among gym-goers jumps 55 per cent in the two weeks prior to them starting their membership, while shopping at sporting goods stores rises by 96 per cent, it said.

It also found that consumers spend 34 per cent more at fashion retailers in their first week of joining a gym while supermarkets also see uplift, with an 11 per cent increase in spending.

Jill Dougan, managing director of Cardlytics, said: “This data shows that British consumers aren’t the only ones improving their figures, as UK retailers across the country benefit from a focus on fitness. A gym membership can lead to higher levels of spending across the board on social activities, new clothes and healthier products.”