“Sports decade. How MultiSport is changing the habits of Poles, the market of non-salary benefits, and the fitness industry”

Warsaw, 23 February 2015

The “Sports decade. MultiSport is changing the habits of Poles, the market of non-wage benefits, and the fitness industry” report

The “Sports decade. MultiSport is changing the habits of Poles, the market of non-wage benefits, and the fitness industry” report is a summary of the last ten (10) years of the MultiSport program in Poland. The report provides information on the origins of the program, development of the fitness industry, changes that occurred in the non-wage benefits industry, and opinions of experts. An important part of the report is an analysis on the changes in the approach of the employees to a healthy lifestyle, which has been initiated by MultiSport. Research carried out by GfK Polonia to the order of Benefit Systems provides that nearly 70% card subscribers are people who did not previously have a fitness club subscription.

Changes on the fitness market

The popularity of fitness clubs in Europe is constantly growing. In 2013, the services of such facilities have been used by as much as 46 million people (enrolled members), and in 2025 this number may increase up to 80 million. The entire European fitness market is worth currently more than EUR 25 billion. The IHRSA Global Report 2014, which summarises the changes on the fitness market on a yearly basis, shows that among the emerging markets Poland is the fitness leader. The value of the Polish fitness market is already USD 421 million, and the users can attend 2,200 clubs.

The currently existing clubs had a very long way to go, and nowadays they definitely differ from the sports facilities which operated in Poland a few years ago. Currently, quality and high level of service, which determine the position of the clubs in the eyes of potential customers, are the most important. According to the IHRSA data, there were 700 private clubs in 2006 in Poland. At this day, in Warsaw alone, MultiSport card users can attend more than 500 facilities, including 250 providing fitness classes.

Physical activity of Poles

The latest report of the European Commission – Eurobarometer 2013 – shows that nowadays more than 28% of Poles exercise at least once a week. A comparison of data of the Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS) from 2008 and 2012 shows that regular exercise is for more and more people a lifestyle, and not just an action resulting from a desire to maintain a good appearance or health. An analysis of activity of the MultiSport card users shows that in Poland, for many years invariably, fitness, gym, and swimming pool are the most popular activities, which are enjoyed respectively by 61%, 20%, and 4.5% MultiSport card users.

These changes are influenced, to a large extent, by the professionalization of the industry, as well as higher disposable incomes, and the “healthy life” trend and lifestyle in the society. There are more and more offers of fitness clubs, gyms, swimming pools, or martial arts clubs on the market. Data collected by Benefit Systems show that, in Poland, the most active are the inhabitants of the Mazowieckie province (30% of all the visits to sports facilities), Lower Silesia (15%), and Małopolska (13%). Such activity in the abovementioned provinces is undoubtedly related to the supply of sports and recreation facilities and wealth. After satisfying their basic needs, many people move towards physical activity.

MultiSport card and the market of non-wage benefits

The value of the non-wage benefits market is constantly growing. In 2009, its value amounted to PLN 8 billion, in 2014 – approx. PLN 10 billion (a study of ARC Rynek i Opinia for Benefit Systems, companies employing at least ten [10] employees), and the average annual amount spent on non-wage benefits per employee amounts to as much as PLN 1,304. Over the years there have been changes in the popularity of particular benefits. The “Salaries of Polish managers in 2008” study by Sedlak&Sedlak shows that the most popular additional benefit was a company car – it was provided to 58% directors and 23% managers. In this period, sports cards were granted to only 12% directors and 16% managers.

The latest study “Additional benefits in the eyes of employees in 2014” by Sedlak&Sedlak shows that the company car disappeared from the list of benefits, and sports cards are on the 3rd place among the most popular benefits – they are received by 42.7% respondents. At the same time sports cards have become the most desirable benefit among people who do not receive non-wage benefits – 33.2% of respondents would like to receive them. As we can see, for the 10 years of presence on the market, sports cards gained a devoted group of fans – both on the part of the employees and employers. In a survey carried out by GfK Polonia for Benefit Systems in 2010 nearly 90% MultiSport Plus cardholders declared their real impact on the perception of and loyalty to the employer.