Recreation & Entertainment Trends to Watch: Gym, Health, and Fitness Clubs

Trends to Watch in Gym, Health, and Fitness Clubs

A key industry within recreation and entertainment includes gym, health, and fitness clubs. This industry specifically includes fitness and recreational sports facilities, including centers that support exercise equipment, fitness classes, indoor sports and other recreational activities, such as swimming, skating, and racket sports. Demand for these services have been increasing due in part to both increasing disposable income and a trend toward healthy living. Here's a rundown of recent trends in this industry sector: 

  • This industry has greatly benefited from the national focus on healthier eating and maintaining an active lifestyle. In addition to recent public health initiatives fighting both childhood and adult obesity, healthcare legislation has worked to promote alternative methods of maintaining health and well-being for people of all ages.
  • Due in part to these nationwide initiatives, consumers trends have shifted toward health and lifestyle improvements. According to IBISWorld, the number of health club membership purchases nationally increased at an annualized rate of 3.3% between 2012-2015 and is projected to continue increasing.
  • Additionally, the industry has benefited from the overall rise in healthcare costs. High healthcare costs have acted as an incentive for both individuals and employers to promote preventative care, such as exercise and fitness. Employers promote better physical fitness habits by subscribing to insurance companies that offer free gym memberships or subsidize other activities such as fitness classes. 
  • Firms in this industry that have been successful in leveraging consumers’ desire for a more active lifestyle have focused on convenience and flexibility for the consumer. Although the overall trend shows that more consumers are integrating physical fitness into their daily routines, they are increasingly busy. As a result, it has become important for these firms to be fully operational during all days of week and all hours of the day. It is also important for them to be flexible in terms of pricing by offering low-cost memberships, low cancellation fees, and offering membership options on a monthly basis. All of these things make it easier and more appealing for the consumer.
  • The largest demographic group utilizing services offered in this industry included people between the ages of 20-65 years old. However, people within this large age cohort have different physical fitness needs and preferences. To best serve consumers, many gyms and fitness clubs are providing services and amenities that cater to different demographic groups. For example, many of these facilities provide alternative fitness methods for seniors unable to engage in traditional high-impact and cardio workouts; some alternative fitness offerings include air-powered resistance training and low-impact fitness classes such as yoga and tai chi; these services are particularly important as the large baby boomer generation ages and looks to stay healthy throughout retirement. Another trend projected to grow is fusion-style fitness classes such as integrating yoga, Pilates, and dance; this is a key component to keeping consumers of all ages engaged and interested in physical fitness.
  • Although large gyms and fitness clubs make up a large portion of the overall industry, there has been a growing preference toward easily accessible, small gyms, with fewer amenities, as opposed to the large, all-encompassing, and expensive facilities. Consumers, albeit having higher disposable incomes, are generally budget-conscious and don’t want to pay for a large facility offering services and amenities that do not interest them. Consumers are tending to prefer small-scale gyms that are conveniently located, particularly in urban locations, and can also offer personal training sessions and high-quality customer service.

Source: IBISWorld: Gym, Health, and Fitness Clubs Industry in the US Report, 2017

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