Growing and retaining female membership for PureGym

How do you refine your proposition to attract and retain different needs within your target market? 

PureGym, the UK’s largest budget gym chain, wanted to ensure their proposition was equally on point for both male and female members. Male membership far outweighed female membership and they wanted to understand why.

PureGym logo

Addressing the gender imbalance

PureGym, the UK’s largest budget gym chain, wanted to ensure their proposition was equally on point for both male and female members. Male membership far outweighed female membership and they wanted to understand why.

PureGym had tried various marketing initiatives to grow female membership, but none had produced the results they were looking for. STRAT7 Incite were brought onboard to provide a holistic view of their existing data and gather new insights from the target audience’s perspective.

A clear data picture would help PureGym understand what factors drive women to choose one gym over another and what barriers put them off joining. Such insights could then help them increase satisfaction and drive up participation rates.



We developed 18 specific recommendations to boost female membership and loyalty, split into ‘quick wins’ and longer-term initiatives.

Building on internal knowledge to deliver a fresh perspective

We explored member behaviour by analysing internal customer and operational databases, interviewing management one-on-one and conducting site audits.

We then benchmarked the proposition against competitors, before conducting extensive quantitative and qualitative research. This consisted of quant research with PureGym members, plus members of competitor gyms. We also conducted qualitative intercept interviews to dig deeper into the needs of the target audience.  

By starting with the data and then overlaying the customer perspective, we were able to get the full picture of the consumer journey, which enabled us to pinpoint where member acquisition and retention was being impacted and why.

Working with the team helped challenge the way that we were thinking about the female gym market. The project led to clear recommendations that resulted in us achieving our targets in the test sites. The team were extremely easy to work with and as engaged and passionate about the project and outcomes as we were!” 

Francine Davis, Chief Strategy Officer at PureGym

An action plan for implementation and impact

Using the insights extracted from the data, we developed 18 specific recommendations to boost female membership and loyalty. We split these recommendations into ‘quick wins’ and longer-term initiatives.

PureGym initially implemented selected initiatives across test sites and tracked the impact on female sign-ups, which they found boosted member satisfaction and retention compared to the wider estate. They then went ahead with a further roll-out across their other gyms.


Joe Lockey

Senior Analyst

Joe joined us after completing rotations across our consumer, services and health sectors, whilst gaining exposure to both qualitative and quantitative research techniques.


Alice Hedlund


Alice has experience in customer-centric growth, brand strategy and innovation at global scale. She specialises in brand transformation journeys, bridging the gap between business and brand strategy to create holistic and actionable plans for impactful growth.

Helen Donald


Job Title

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Tom Carvell


Tom has a science background with a PhD in Materials Chemistry. He has spent most of his career working on in-house front-end innovation where he delivered mid/long term strategic projects for brands such as Durex, Scholl, Veet and KY. He is focussed on delivering pragmatic but provocative innovation strategy for CPG categories.

Manick Pratheeban

Senior Principal

Manick is a brand strategy and consumer insight specialist with 15+ years’ experience helping to grow some of the world’s biggest brands. He has a proven track record of translating trends, consumer, and market data into actionable insights to formulate growth strategies.

Kate Jones

Senior Principal

Kate has over a decade of experience in creating transformative strategies for customer-focused businesses. With a background in consumer insight and behaviour change across consumer health, packaged goods, leisure, banking and other sectors she focuses on elevating the customer experience to create human-centric innovations and foster impactful growth.

Jacob Gascoine-Becker


Jacob specialises in leveraging consumer research to inform investment strategy and business case development. A management consultant since 2014, he previously spent eight years working in ecommerce and digital marketing.

Ines Achabal

Senior Analyst

Ines is inately curious and creative. She is known for her expansive thinking when exploring client challenges and elevating the visual quality of outputs to maximise their impact.

Helene Mills


Helene has 20+ years’ experience advising business leaders and investors on growth strategy based upon consumer and market intelligence. Her particular specialism lies in leisure, retail, food and beverage sectors.

Helen Donald

Helen Donald


Helen has consulted businesses at different stages of growth across a variety of sectors, specialising in consumer packaged goods and consumer healthcare. She is an adept strategist, bringing clarity to the most complex of situations and connecting dots to create rich, future-proofed platforms for innovation, brand positioning and growth.

Allan Chen STRAT7 Advisory

Allan Chen

Senior Principal

Allan’s core skillset provides an analytical and commercial lens to address client challenges. He started his career as an actuary, and since then has held a broad range of strategic roles, improving performance across the private and public sector.


Björn Dufwenberg

Managing Director​

Björn has 15+ years’ experience in insight-driven transformation, across management consulting, as well as brand and innovation agency roles. Most recently he headed up the Customer-Led Transformation practice at PwC Sweden, until joining STRAT7 in 2021. He’s worked on global projects covering consumer goods, durables, spirits and beverages, retail, banking, and private equity.

Kamilla Dala

Senior Principal

Kamilla has 10+ years’ experience leading and implementing insight-driven transformation within global matrix organisations in durable and consumable goods. Areas of expertise cover segmentation, uncovering and translating actionable consumer insights within innovation, product development, brand positioning, strategy and marketing.