Informe OBS Deporte y Fitness

OBS Report: The sport and fitness industry

Informes |

Spain in Europe's top 5 in physical activity

Informe OBS Deporte y Fitness Portada


  • The sport and fitness sector represents 3.3% of Spanish GDP (2.1 billion euros in 2022) and generates more than 400,000 jobs. Spain has 4,561 gyms and 5.4 million users.
  • 16.5% of the Spanish population goes to the gym: 40% of young people between 14 and 24 years old and only 20% of those over 54.
  • By 2024, the fitness sector is expected to continue to grow, albeit more moderately and with a slowdown in the growth of subscribers.
  • An OBS report recommends developing adaptive and thoughtful pricing tactics in harmony with the global economic context, diversifying the range of customers to appeal to traditionally underserved demographic groups in the health and wellness sector, and embracing services related to physical recovery and functional exercise.

March 2024. OBS Business School publishes the report The sport and fitness industry, directed by Professor Eduardo Correa. It analyses the various components of this dynamic industry, from the impact of influencers to the economic and social repercussions it entails at a time when awareness of the importance of physical and mental wellbeing has escalated to unprecedented levels.

Today, the sport and fitness sector represents 3.3% of Spanish GDP (in Europe this figure is between 1.5% and 2%) and also drives other economic areas that are secondarily involved such as tourism, commerce, hotels and restaurants. It is a sector that generates more than 400,000 jobs and produces a huge investment in sports infrastructures and in the promotion of a healthy economy. With increased awareness of an active lifestyle, the commercial opportunities in this sector have grown exponentially, affecting not only the supply of products and services, but also the way brands connect with their audiences.

After a drop in spending during 2019 and 2020, the impressive 24.1% growth recorded in 2021 marked a turning point, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. And although in 2022 the increase moderated (by 5.3% compared to the previous year), the positive trend in the industry remains. North America leads in per capita spending, followed by Asia-Pacific and Europe. Spain is positioned as one of the leading markets in physical activity with a growth of 16.4% in 2022. Recreational physical activity stands out as the most dominant segment.

The fitness sector in Spain

The fitness market in Europe earned a total of 28 billion euros in 2022, an increase of 66% over the previous year. In Spain, turnover was €2.1 billion, on a par with Italy and only surpassed by the United Kingdom (€5 billion), Germany (€4.9 billion) and France (€4 billion). There were 4,561 gyms nationwide, with 5.4 million users. This not only represented an increase of more than half a million people over the previous year, but almost reached the levels recorded before the start of the pandemic. As a result, revenues in the sector increased by more than 500 million euros, much of it from membership fees, which vary according to the type of gym (low-cost or premium) with average fees ranging from 20 euros to more than 60 euros per user.

Unlike their international counterparts, which focus on cutting costs and offering self-service services to compete with low prices, Spanish gyms are adopting strategies focused on personalised customer care and follow-up, which justifies higher fees. "The sector in Spain is trying to find a balance between offering affordable prices and personalised services to stand out in a highly competitive market, and therefore fees have been evolving from €19.90 per month to around €29.90", says Eduardo Correa, professor of OBS Business School.

The fitness landscape in Spain continues to change and evolve. New business models, such as boutique gyms and centres specialising in activities such as boxing, yoga and personalised training have diversified the offer beyond traditional weight rooms. In fact, in 2022, the majority of new openings corresponded to these types of establishments, evidencing a growing demand.

Many of these sports centres in Spain are part of franchise networks, which in 2022 exceeded 700 establishments and generated more than 192 million euros. The growth of the CrossFit brand is particularly noteworthy, with more than 600 officially affiliated centres throughout the country. In terms of the main chains, Brooklyn Fitboxing topped the ranking in terms of number of centres, followed by Basic-Fit and Synergym. However, in terms of turnover, Forus led the market with approximately 100 million euros, ahead of Go Fit and Metropolitan. In terms of employment, Forus also ranked first, with a workforce of around 1,200 employees, followed by BeOne, Go Fit and Metropolitan, all with a similar number of employees.

The popularity of gyms experienced remarkable growth in 2023 with 16.5% of the population attending, representing an increase of approximately four percentage points compared to the penetration rate recorded in 2022. Approximately 40% of the 14-24 year olds were part of this clientele. In contrast, participation among those aged 54 and over was considerably lower, with only 20% enrolled. In 2024, the fitness sector is expected to continue to grow, albeit more moderately and with a slowdown in subscriber growth. A moderate increase in membership prices is also expected.

The evolution of online fitness

In the last year, there has been a decrease in the practice of exercise at home, remaining a social and relational activity that encourages attendance at sports centres. Even so, a more conscious, diversified and technologically integrated fitness consumer can be observed. As a result, by 2023, 21% of users will have used fitness apps on their smartphones.

The social networks most used by this industry are Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, where brands have found a way to make themselves known. And of course, influencers have come into play and, if they are not large in size, they represent a valuable opportunity for companies with limited resources because they often specialise in specific niche markets, allowing brands to more effectively address their target audience.

The synergy between social networks and the world of sport has made it easier for influencers to become their own brands and there are already such outstanding names as Patry Jordán, a pioneer with 13.1 million followers on her YouTube channel, 2 million on Instagram and 373 thousand on TikTok; David Marchante who has 1. 1 million on Instagram, 1.9 million on YouTube and 100 thousand on TikTok; and Sergio Peinado, whose unique business model and strategic approach have earned him recognition as the second most important fitness influencer in the Spanish-speaking market.


The OBS report concludes that, in 2024, sports managers in Spain must consider several key factors: on the one hand, develop adaptive and thoughtful pricing tactics, especially in the face of growing interest in face-to-face training, which must be aligned with the global economic context and consider customer reaction to price changes. On the other hand, diversifying the range of customers to appeal to traditionally underserved demographic groups in the health and wellness sector, which means devising approaches to attract the celebrity-influenced youth and designing seductive and personalised offers for older or senior audiences. And finally, embracing novel services, particularly those focused on physical recovery and functional exercise, is a strategy that will be of increasing value. These services not only have the potential to attract new users, but can also contribute to lowering the drop-out rate and increasing the profitability of sports centres.

Content written by:
Carmen García-Trevijano
OBS Business School Press Office