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Expert Interview with Galileo: The German Fitness Industry

From 2018 until 2021, I ran the Master in Sports Business and Communication at Munich Business School. In different courses, we extensively discuss the shifts in the sport industry. A couple of months ago, I was invited as an industry expert by Galileo, a daily knowledge show, broadcast on Pro7, a private channel. They were planning a full episode on the German fitness industry, with a focus on McFit/RSG Group. Of course, we recorded the interview in a gym, based in Munich. You can find the full episode below, including some key take-aways and a couple of studies I cited in the interview.

Some Key Take-Aways

1. Post-Corona Recovery

The German fitness market has has been hit hard by Corona. Revenues went down by roughly 50 percent, compared to pre-Corona levels. Big chains were hit slightly less hard. All players are now fighting aggressively to catch up again.

2. RSG Group/McFit

McFit and the RSG Group were in the focus of this specific episode. McFit has a strong value proposition. It was traditionally well positioned in the discount segment, focusing on the essentials, such as machine workouts (no extras, such as courses). Schaller and colleagues managed to venture into more premium segments (e.g. John and Jane’s) and related segments (e.g. nutrition) over the last years. The acquisition of Gold’s Gym (which tumbled due to Corona) helped them to gain international exposure/market share. The ecosystem perspectives in the Deloitte report below (p. 23) nicely illustrates this.

3. Digital on the Rise

Digital product/service offerings in the fitness industry are constantly on the rise, currently at roughly 10% of the entire market revenues. We observe the rise of online fitness studios, connected home devices, sport apps, wearables, but also the rise of digital platforms/aggregators (who offer monthly passes for all kinds of activities, beyond gym memberships). A lot of exciting things are going on in the market. Make sure to have a look at Chapter 5 on Online Fitness/Fitness Apps in the Statista Dossier below.

4. The (German) Fitness Industry

Here are a couple of interesting market overviews for those of you who would like to dig a bit deeper.

Although I took over the doctoral program at Munich Business School in 2021, I continue to teach several classes in the Sport Business and Communication program, such as Social Media Management and Digital Sports Management (also see teaching). I have recently published a study on the relevance of esports for sport marketing, for example, as well as a review article on brand communities in sport (see research/publications for other pieces).

Published by

David Wagner

Management Professor, Academic Director (DBA) and Vice Dean, Research at Munich Business School

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