Research shows people in the UK are worried that gyms may be forced to close due to increased energy costs, with 23% admitting they can’t afford to pay more.
The current cost of living crisis is causing the price of just about everything to increase, meaning everyday necessities – such as fitness – are becoming a luxury.
It was recently reported that ‘thousands of pubs would close’ as the ‘cost of a pint would have to rise to “ridiculous” amounts to match the increase in running costs that pub landlords now face’ and it seems that consumers have similar worries when it comes to the fitness industry.
According to a new survey of around 1,000 recent gym users by gym and health club network Hussle, over half (55%) expressed worries that their local workout space may be forced to close due to increased energy costs. Those in the North West were most concerned about closures (70%), whereas those in the East of England were least worried about having somewhere to exercise (58%).
Over two thirds (68%) of respondents said that they would not be supportive if their gym increased its prices, whereas almost a quarter (23%) would be supportive but could not personally afford to pay more.
Overall only 9% were willing to pay more for their membership, with the Scottish being most willing (13%) to hand over more money, compared to just 6% of Welsh respondents.
Concerns around having to pay more were significantly greater amongst men; 71% said that they would not be supportive of their gym if increases were to occur, compared to 64% of women.
The research also highlighted what people would choose to cut back on first to save money in anticipation of the cost of living over winter.
Whilst respondents expressed concerns over the increasing cost of gym memberships, 22% would choose to cut back on eating out first, compared to the 18% who would cut back on the gym first. South West residents are most keen to keep their workout routine, as only 5% said it would be the first thing they would give up to save cash.
A further 18% would also give up takeaways first. Men, however, would rather give up the gym (19%), over food deliveries to their door (18%).
Other areas of their lifestyle people would eliminate first included alcohol (13%), travel (12%), TV subscriptions (7%) and live events (4%).
The Government’s ‘mini-budget’ is set to take place on Friday 23 September and it is expected that support packages will be announced for fitness operators, so consumers will be able to continue their current gym memberships and be protected from further spiralling costs.
Jamie Ward, CEO of Hussle, said: “It is clear from the survey that there is real concern amongst gym goers of the impact of spiralling energy costs for the gyms and health clubs they use. It is also clear that very few people are in a position to absorb the price increases that may be required by operators to maintain our health and fitness facilities. It is therefore vital that the UK Government recognises the fitness industry as a vulnerable sector and provide specific support to operators as a matter of absolute urgency.”