European fitness clubs lose about ten million members in 2020

The Corona pandemic caused a significant drop in membership at clubs across Europe. But: the majority of studios are still in business. 

The “European Health & Fitness Market Report 2021” shows that there are bright spots for the fitness industry, which was hit hard by COVID. The figures presented by FIBO Ambassador Herman Rutgers and Karsten Hollasch (Deloitte) at FIBO Headquarters on 23 June give reason for hope. The complete “European Health & Fitness Market Report” will once again be published at the EHFF on the day before the trade show.


Lockdown causes historic slump 

In some cases, multiple lockdowns imposed by governments in several countries caused clubs to lose 40 to 50 per cent of their operating days. The result – not surprisingly – is a decline in growth, the first in the fitness industry in decades. 


Massive sales losses mitigated by financial support 

  • According to the report, membership declined by approximately 10 million members, a 15.4 per cent decrease from 64.8 million in 2019 to 54.8 million at the end of 2020.  
  • Coming in at €18.9 billion, sales fell by 32.9 per cent compared to the record year of 2019 (€28.2 billion). 
  • The 15 largest European fitness operators were responsible for a share of €2.6 billion of those sales. 
  • The total number of clubs decreased by 1.4 per cent to 62,775. This comparatively moderate decline is closely related to the financial support many governments provided to operators during the pandemic. 


Differentiation and continuous evolution of offerings 

As in many other industries, digitalisation accelerated in the market, and the industry as a whole expanded its ecosystem. The study found significant growth in home fitness equipment and accessories, digital products and services, and outdoor solutions.


Investors flock to the fitness market 

The large sums invested in various areas of the fitness market in 2020 show that investors are confident in fitness and health as a growth driver. They invested both in mature market players and start-ups, in online and offline segments alike. 

A significant part of this investment comes from big tech companies, especially Apple, Google and Amazon. Sixteen major M&A transactions involving a total of 854 clubs were counted in 2020; 505 had come under new ownership by March.


The European Health & Fitness Market Report 2021 represents the most comprehensive report on the European health and fitness market and serves as a valuable source of information for industry players. The study was supported by Basic-Fit, BRP Systems, Exerp, FIBO Global Fitness, GO fit, Myzone, PureGym, Technogym and Xplor.

The full report is available for €299 (only €149 for EuropeActive members) and can be ordered through the EuropeActive Knowledge Centre.