Consumer spending on gym use and sporting activity increased during the first quarter of 2017, although analysts are predicting a dip in expenditure on general leisure activities due to a “weak pound” and “slowdown” in wage growth.
Deloitte’s quarterly survey of 3,000 adults revealed that net spending on using fitness clubs and taking part in sport increased by two percentage points on Q4 2016 – although this is common for the period immediately after Christmas.
However, the gym sector may have to brace itself for a drop in millennial members and customers, with some 18-34 year-olds shifting their leisure intentions elsewhere.
According to Deloitte there has been a seven percentage point dip in those intending to spend leisure money at the gym, with an increase in those wanted to eat out and go to pubs and bars.
Over the opening three months of 2017, spending on holidays also increased over the period, with a surge in both long-haul and short-haul booking.
The picture looks slightly bleaker across the entire leisure industry, with the effect of Brexit on the pound, rising inflation and slow nominal wage growth contributing to a fall in spending.
Money spent eating out at restaurants fell by three percentage points, with a similar decrease in coffee shops and pubs.
“The focus on health and wellbeing is as expected for the start of the year, with spending falling for eating out and rising for gym and sport-related leisure activities,” said Simon Oaten, partner for hospitality at Deloitte.
“However, with inflation rising, a weak pound and a slowdown in nominal wage growth, leisure consumers are starting to feel their pockets tighten, leading to a fall in spending on some habitual activities and small luxuries, such as buying daily coffees.
”Oaten added: “While this has yet to result in an actual reduction in overall leisure spending, this trend will be monitored closely.
“The overall health of the sector will be an important economic indicator in the months to come.”