From 2005 on, more discounters—most local—appeared in the German fitness market. Since then, Gockel says the market segmented into four price categories:
- Discount: 20 EUR/month
- Premium discount: 39 EUR/month
- Health-related: 60 EUR/month
- Premium: >60 EUR/month
Enter Prime Time fitness
When PRIME TIME fitness opened in 2010, its 34 EUR membership fee placed it firmly in the “premium discount” category. Gockel says the company is modeled after the Anytime Fitness concept, focusing on cardio and strength training in a boutique format.
The 34 EUR price was key to the company’s urban penetration strategy in the Frankfurt area. In the following years, large discount chains such as McFit, Clever Fit, and Fit Star moved into the Frankfurt city center as well.
“In reaction to that, PTF moved towards the premium market, adding a competitive personal training product and differentiating with boutique elements, like heart monitored circuit training similar to the Orangetheory clubs,” Gockel says.
The strategy worked. Today, the company boasts six locations in and around Frankfurt—including Europe’s highest club—and one in Munich.
Opportunities for Growth
More than 10 million members belong to German health clubs, according to the 2017 IHRSA Global Report.
Ultimately, Gockel believes there are still opportunities for growth. The German fitness market grows by 6-7% each year, he says, and in Frankfurt the supply side has grown by at least 20% in the last three years—the highest penetration rate in Germany.
Gockel will share more of his thoughts on this topic during his IHRSA European Congress session, “The Future of the Discount Market: Saturation or Growth?”