A new YouGov survey of regular group fitness class attendees highlights the preferences and motivations that are characterising a booming sector.

Young women have the strongest interest in dance classes. ‘Legs, bums and tums’ and Zumba are the most popular classes attended. Salsa is the only classical dance that makes the Top 5 of future dance interests amongst those surveyed; ballroom dancing remains a dying style with just 17% of participants indicating a future interest, favouring the trendier street dance, hip hop and pole fitness. This is particularly applicable to men with 48% of those surveyed interested in improving their Street dance moves.

Fitness, particularly losing weight or muscle toning, serves as a strong motivational factor amongst women, considered by 73%, compared to only 59% of men. The psychological impact of exercise classes seems greater for women too, with 54% saying it helps with stress relief and aids relaxation. Conversely, men are 8% more likely than women to find improving their technique a motivational factor.

Regardless of what type of dance class people are attending, one factor for going remains consistent: enjoyment, with 68% of those surveyed citing this as a reason for attendance. It appears an inclusive approach is key to dance classes’ success with the previously inactive, with fewer than 10% of participants finding the expectations or competitive atmospheres unpleasant.

Gavin Ellison, Director of Public services at YouGov: “With dance class attendance on the rise it may be that Strictly Come Dancing fever is taking its hold on the British public. A rise in attendance in dance classes, whether traditional or modern, can only be a good thing in getting the public more active.

There is still some room for improvement from a commercial standpoint. Complaints about class size were present in the survey, which has acted as a barrier for some potential attendees. Men are largely an untapped customer base; carefully placed and thought out marketing activity could boost numbers significantly in the years ahead.”

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