As some of the respondents in this group were also in the public sector analysis there are some crossover similarities.
It is most noticeable for this group, both from the panel respondents and the various leisure and sports providers organisations users, that respondents feel most strongly impacted from a personal wellbeing perspective. They are also more negatively impacted than other sectors.
They have the most respondents compared with other sectors in the ‘surviving but despondent’ category, reflecting the fact that their day to day lives are not catastrophically impacted economically and they feel they can get by, perhaps even comfortably, but they are concerned for the outlook in terms of happiness and wellbeing. They also do not see a significant change in a 6 month period.
The quantitative data is however moderated significantly when the qualitative responses are analysed. It is the group who have the most positive support for the organisations - losing access to sports, therapeutic and activity based services is something they desperately want back. We can see this play out in a bigger international picture with the transformation of sporting events. Team games without crowds but accessible through streaming and terrestrial TV services would have seemed untenable before COVID.
If we compare this dataset with the roader B2C data, we can see that there are a number of people who are in the managing and optimistic category who are spending less money and changing their behaviours towards a more exercise and wellbeing-aware lifestyle. So a key theme for this sector may be about new services users as well as looking after its existing customers. There is a significant number of potential converts that expect to continue to spend less money on premium items (travel, consumer goods) and are now prepared to think about allocating their time to wellbeing related activities. The combination of this potential new customer cohort, together with new and innovative ways of delivering services, including online coaching and better digital communications, may go some way towards balancing the immense disruption that has been caused to this sector. As COVID-secure practices in wellbeing activities become more established, the outcome may be a broader member and user base, across wider age groups.
There is no doubting the severe impact that health and wellbeing organisations have had - and their users, members and customers are consequently being affected. The road to post COVID transformation for health and wellbeing organisations will be hard, though currently funding models in publicly provided services typically remain in place. But, there is a growing number of people who will seek access to, and very probably pay well for, wellbeing-related services now they have experienced lockdown. Wellbeing advisers often cite that working with clients needs at least 3 months to start to establish long term behaviour change. Those emerging from lockdown with a fresh perspective on wellbeing will have had well over 4 months of new thinking. At least some of that group will not want to change back.