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Leisure trends: The UK Leisure Industry in 2020

It’s that time of year again when we take a look at what might be the main happenings in the UK leisure industry for the year ahead. What do you think will be big in during 2020 and beyond?

This year will bring a couple of major sporting events which are sure to get more people involved, particularly in the more obscure sports – yes, it’s Olympic Games time again! This year it’s Tokyo’s turn to play host and it’s happening from late July. It’s also Euro 2020 time in international football. To mark 60 years of the tournament, rather than one country hosting all the games, 12 cities across Europe are sharing the games out, but the final will be right here in London on the 12th July.

Pile on top the usual tennis fever that hits around about Wimbledon time and the regular golf, cycling, and running events and it’s sure to be a busy one for those of us working in leisure, health & fitness especially.

But what do we think will be the big leisure trends in 2020?

Further blurring of the lines between wellness, fitness, and self-care

For more people, it’s no longer about going to the gym to do some body building, or going to a spa for a quick facial. It’s now about a more holistic wellness experience; visiting a spa or a gym is for working on all aspects of wellness, including physical and mental health, and seeing exercise and therapies as a way of improving both mind and body. Wellness retreats are increasing in number as more people are wanting to spend longer on developing their overall health and wellness rather than just hitting the gym for a quick hour after work.

This is a good look at how Barry’s Bootcamp has incorporated mental wellness alongside their core physical fitness offering –

Gareth Bale’s Rowbots programme is openly embracing active mindfulness as an important driver of physical exercise


Veganism has taken off hugely over the last couple of years and 2020 will see further growth. With a concern both for the planet’s resources and the positive impact of clean eating on the human body, more and more people are turning to animal-free diets. If your leisure facility isn’t catering to vegans, then you could be missing out on a huge chunk of the market.

What is driving the vegan trend?

Wearable tech

Yes, we’ve been saying for some time that wearable tech will be huge this year, and we’ve not been wrong. 2020 will see further developments into this arena, no doubt, with spending on wearable tech as a whole predicted to reach $52 billion by 2020.

As wearable tech gets more smaller and more integrated (gone are the days of walkie-talkie sized pedometers!) the more uses will be found for them in the fitness industry especially. You can already link an app or a FitBit to your home virtual assistant, and with the popularity of home VAs expected to explode this year, the use of fitness apps won’t be limited to only the serious health fanatics among us. Expect your children and your own nan to get excited about how many steps they’ve done today!

Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

In fact, improved technology is permeating on all aspects of our lives and the leisure industry is not immune to its impact –

In-home technology will continue to grow in 2020 – did you know you can even box from the comfort of your living room now? With more and more technologies available, your gym better provide something that tempts people out of their homes and training with you. What does your facility provide which in-home technology could not?

Riding the waves

Surfing is to make its debut at the summer Olympic Games. While surfing has always been reasonably popular in the UK, particularly in places like Newquay in Cornwall, 2019 also saw the beginnings of a more formal provision in the form of facilities like Surf Snowdonia and The Wave in Bristol. Could the Olympics push more people to take an interest in surfing both as a leisure activity and a sport?

Photo by Joseph Greve on Unsplash

Increased convenience of health & fitness

Wellness hotels are on the increase. While a lot of hotels already have a gym for guest use, wellness hotels take this one step further. But just what are they? If you’ve never heard of a wellness hotel, this article is eye-opening

Hilton Hotels Worldwide have launched their Five Feet to Fitness concept with mini gyms, virtual fitness classes, meditation equipment and hydration stations in guest rooms.

When will this hit the UK? It already has – the Doubletree by Hilton in Islington already has these rooms available. Expect roll out to more locations in due course.


And who needs a real-life PT when you can get workouts sent directly to your phone?

You’d better start working on that USP, people!

Physical therapies on the rocks

 Cryotherapy growth is set to be anything but frozen in 2020. It is an increasingly popular therapy for injuries, discomfort, and skin conditions.

But just what is Cryotherapy?

Freezing regenerates skin cells and encourages faster healing, and you could start to see cryotherapy treatment centres in gyms and wellness centres around the country.

Have a look and see what the future may hold for the UK’s CryoAction

Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash

….And finally, what about Brexit?

I’m sure we were having the Brexit discussion this time last year. Anyway, as we can now see, Brexit wasn’t to be in 2019 though plenty of unrest was caused just by us thinking about it. It’s been another challenging year, particularly for the spa and beauty sector where growth has been held back somewhat by the lack of qualified staff available. Maybe the future will see more leisure providers investing in bringing on and nurturing home-grown talent? The rise in apprenticeship provision has helped but demand will likely outstrip supply for the foreseeable.

Any downturn in the economy brought about by a hard Brexit will hit consumers and spending will likely fall on items which are considered to be a luxury, so start working on positioning your offering as one of life’s essentials if you want to survive the turmoil that leaving the EU is likely to generate.

If you want help navigating the waters of the leisure industry in 2020, get in touch!

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