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Fitness Industry In the USA

This industry shows strong market growth and is very much resistant to recession. This Industry has increased 3.5 times more than the GDP of the country since 1996 and has been able to sustain its growth even in recession period

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Definition / Scope

The fitness industry is which operates fitness and recreational sports facilities that consists of exercise and other active physical fitness training or leisure sports activities, such as swimming, skating or racquet sports. Operators in this industry could also be involved in facilities management and fitness instruction[1]. The U.S. is the single biggest market worldwide in this Industry not only in terms of revenue but in regards to the number of members in health & fitness clubs as well.[2]

Market Overview

This industry shows strong market growth and is very much resistant to recession. This Industry has increased 3.5 times more than the GDP of the country since 1996 and has been able to sustain its growth even in recession period[3]

The Gym, Health and Fitness Clubs industry has advanced from recent marketing campaigns which is aimed at fighting the increasing obesity among people, as well as consumer trends toward improved health. According to International Health, Racquet and Sports club Association (IHRSA) data, the number of health club memberships in the United States rose in 2014 to 54.1 million, up from 51.4 million in 2011. [1]The fitness industry has been adding a million new club memberships a year since 2012.[4]

The average member retention rate is 72.4% with 5 billion health club, gym and studio visits annually. This equals almost 90 visits per person.[5]

According to the IBIS World, there are various groups of product and services segmentation within this industry. As of 2016, the maximum business is generated from the membership fees of gym and health clubs (60.4%) followed by personal training services (8.2%), guest admission sales (2.9%), Athletic instructions (2.7%), Meals & Beverages (2.2%), Merchandise Sales (2.0%) and finally others (19.9%) respectively[1]

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Key Metrics

Metrics Value Explanation
Base Year 2017 Researched through internet


Market Risks

Treadmills are one of the most misjudged risks in fitness and health clubs because they are the number 1 cause of injury. Generally, many exercisers are dangerous multitasks too, and this negligence could represent a big liability for owners of fitness and health clubs. The average cost per treadmill incident is identified to be $250,000 which is very high and mostly when the fitness provider is not insured.[6]

Another risky factor is that the large amount of personal and financial data, including credit card and bank account numbers, kept on file in health clubs and fitness centers. The data is mismanaged and sometimes there could be security issues. For instance, States, including California, require notification if a breach occurs or is suspected to have occurred, which can cost thousands. [6]

Similarly, Explosions, violent acts, shootings, sexual abuse, and disease outbreaks are more prone to and have all occurred at fitness centers throughout the country. These incidents can seriously damage the reputation of the company as they get coverage in media.[6]

Top Market Opportunities

Nielsen’s 2014 survey found that 81% of Gen Y individuals exercise or would like to vs. only 61% of Boomers. For this reason this segment have caught the attention of boutique studios, wearable developers, and equipment manufacturers.[7]

According to IBIS World’s Gym, Health & Fitness Clubs market research report, the demand for gyms and health and fitness clubs will continue to rise over the next five years, as the general public becomes more health-conscious and the aging population places a greater emphasis on staying fit. [8]

A new segment has been identified in the fitness apparel market i.e. plus size shoppers and now when it comes to clothing the companies are promoting these by selling it in their outlets. There has been 19.2% increase in plus size shoppers and these apparel mostly have body positivity and inclusivity which have been considered as prime factors to drive sales. Other fitness apparel sellers are adopting the same trend as demand continues to take a toll.[9] In stock e-commerce data shows that plus size active wear new-ins have grown by up to 64.5% [10]

Many health-conscious individuals have incorporated fitness into their daily regimen. Demographic trends have helped shape the industry’s landscape over the past five years. Profit will remain high as many gyms offer more high-margin services [11]

Market Drivers

As the latest trend, consumers are once again joining clubs, it has a very positive effect on the rest of the industry and we are looking forward to seeing the new programs, products and services that come out of this growth. [8]

The obesity rate among females is 35.5% and 32.2% for male. These factors contributes to the increased sales of home user fitness equipment within U.S. Home users are expected to retain 50% of the market share on the basis of revenue. Heath clubs are expected to be second largest user segment and grow at CAGR of 2.1%.[12]

Fitness operators that have a large number of establishments and provide a wide range of services are able to attract and retain new and existing members, as well as reduce costs per member.[1]

Market Restraints

While the total number of health clubs saw only a marginal increase 29,890 in 2010 compared with 29,960 in 2011 dynamic changes at existing clubs have been under way over the past couple years, with more and more facilities devoting more and more time and space to functional fitness and to niche classes designed to fit specific needs of specific groups. [13]

Problem in the fitness industry is that people are not sufficiently motivated to work out, so overall enrollment in fitness programs remains low, and obesity levels remain high. Gyms and health clubs have not figured out yet how to make working out fun.[14]

Some backdrops of the fitness industry are that

  • Exercisers are too obsessed with achieving six-pack abs
  • Manufacturers spend too much time and energy trying to reinvent old equipment
  • Too many personal trainers let clients dictate the course of their program.
  • The fitness industry is dead because fitness today is about achieving a certain look or weight instead of about performance. [13]

Industry Challenges

Overall, barriers to entry are relatively low for the Gym, Health and Fitness Clubs industry. Leasing, rather than owning industry facilities, provides a low-cost option for potential industry entrants, thus keeping barriers to entry relatively low which increases the competition automatically. Additionally, average wages in the industry tend to be low, as staff are typically unskilled and provide training services on a part-time basis. Equipment costs are relatively low as well, and have long life spans. Many start-up gyms will either use secondhand exercise equipment to reduce costs or will rent their equipment. Barriers to entry in urban markets include restrictive zoning laws, lengthy permit processes and a shortage of appropriate real estate. [11]

The biggest challenge for fitness industry in USA is that more than 50% of all the people who step into a fitness and health club actually don’t know what they like and thus they are not motivated. These members are doing the same exercise over and over again, their expectations need a reality check, they are not changing their lifestyle and nutrition habits, or what they are doing actually isn’t fun. So no wonder our industry retention numbers have been so bad for decades. The lack of fun factor is due to less transparency in social media, lack of fun accessories and equipment, lack of technology usage, less human interaction and more focus on technical aspect of exercise.[14]

Fitness industry is also regarded as a highly seasonal business with January, February and March as the biggest months for increasing number of new memberships and rest of the year remaining with stagnant growth as people choose to work indoors in winter specially in winter prone areas[8]

Technology Trends

The technology change in this Industry is medium. [1]

High intensity interval training demand has increased by 10 percent, and regular old stair climbing saw 9 percent growth. Also a survey conducted by one of the leading associations in the Industry looked at fitness habits of Americans and identified they work out at least 50 times per year.[4]

A band used for body weight training and stretching, known as TRX, is one of the hottest accessories around.[4]

Cardiovascular equipment type will hold around 65% of the total market share by 2024.Treadmill sub segment is expected to dominate the overall cardiovascular market segment. It is expected to dominate the future market with steady CAGR of 4.3%. 50% of market share will be held by this equipment while elliptical equipment hold approx.30% of market share [12]

Pricing Trends

The fitness industry is the new millionaire club because memberships are increasing every year since 2012. These memberships account as low as $9.99 from discount clubs per month to high-end boutique studio sessions imposing over $50 for 45 minutes. And the industry could get even bigger in upcoming year 2018.[4]


In a proprietary survey taken in 2018, 24% respondents have given "Too expensive" as the primary reason to quit the gym and health clubs[7] Due to the price wars among existing offers, the HVLP boutique clubs has been prominent among consumers due to the price offered by them at 30-50% lower than other companies[3]

Regulatory Trends

Few nonprofit organizations like The National Association for Health and Fitness (NAHF) is promoting physical fitness and sports which supports Governor and State Councils that promote such activities. Similarly, The IHRSA also supports the industry representing more than 10,000 health, racquet and sports clubs worldwide. This association provides media articles and press releases that promote the benefits of keeping fit and active.

Therefore, this association helps drive industry demand. Another such organization is The Fifty-Plus Fitness Association (FPFA) is another nonprofit organization, whose mission is to promote an active lifestyle for the older population. The association also publishes a newsletter and distributes books and videos. Some facilities are initially established with the assistance of government grants. [1]

Washington, D.C council is set to announce new regulations on the city’s growing fitness industry—and they could have major implications for personal trainers nationwide. The regulation is targeted on the fitness trainer certifications. [15]

Other Key Market Trends

Cross training, high intensity interval training and stair climbing grew in popularity among active Americans. Fitness brands are reaching into apparel and adaptable workouts, with class offerings at gyms, in order to sell the workout. Aquatic resistance workouts are growing in popularity, among the aging segment of consumers and the trade mills are popular among the younger generations. Pilates and yoga are also gaining momentum. One of the big gainers in 2018 could be low-intensity training, combined with an explosion in mindfulness [4]


Fitness industry is one industry which is most likely to provide a strategic exit to investors who are interested in this business [7]. Further the increasing demands of product and services related to this industry has increased the number of investment in health clubs and also driven the growth of the manufacturers of gym equipment and research unit which is good for the economy [16]

There has been rapid rise of boutique franchisors such as orange theories, club Pilates, Pure Barre, Core Power Yoga which are successfully expanding throughout the country with over 4000 locations in a period of 3 years.[3]

There has been a shift of trend from preferring gym to the boutique clubs significantly in upcoming years.[3]

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Market Size and Forecast

In the terms of the total revenue, the fitness and health club industry growth rate is 2.6% globally. It was estimated at $83 billion in 2016 which had increased from the previously $ 81 billion in 2015. If the trend continues in the same pace the industry is foretasted to reach 87.5 billion in 2018. [7] The fitness Industry in USA alone accounts of $25.8 billion which increased up to $27.9 billion. With an astounding growth rate of 7.2% annually and it is expected to grow at the same pace in near future.[7]

The key snapshot of the total market size and revenue reveal that the US fitness market in 2016 is $27.1 billion in which the profit account of total $2.8 billion. The industry creates a total wage of around $9.8 billion and 83,689 businesses in total are involved with various services and facilities associated with the industry. An annual growth of 3% is expected from the year 2016 to 2021. At present it is growing at a rate of 0.1% yearly. Consequently, industry revenue is forecast to grow at an annualized rate of 3.0% to $31.5 billion in the five-year period. [1]

U.S. Fitness equipment Market is projected to reach $4.4 billion by 2024.[12] Similarly, wholesale sale of the sports and equipment market in total account $5.12 billion.[7] Sales in the overall sports and fitness industry grew 2.9 percent in 2017, which represents the best annual growth in three years. Sports equipment sales increased by 3.1 percent with basketballs, batting gloves, baseball protective gear and camping coolers registering “healthy” category growth. The overall sports equipment category measured $24.9 billion in sales. [17]

The fitness apparel category experienced strong gains at 12.3 percent, while the accessories sector of branded athletic apparel experienced “notable growth” that neared 5 percent in some categories. [17]

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Market Outlook

Over the five years to 2021, the Gym, Health and Fitness Clubs industry in USA is expected to lift itself to success. As the standard of living of consumers' and their disposable incomes rise, more individuals will purchase gym memberships compared with low-cost memberships that fared well over the previous period.

Growing demand for results-driven gyms that can help individuals achieve fitness goals will continue to drive growth. For example, personal and group trainers, as well as fitness classes, will be popular. In the five years to 2021, both the revenue and profits are forecasted to grow at an annualized rate of 3.0% and 12.4% respectively, this is mostly due to high-margin services, group personal training sessions etc. provided by the gyms which will not only strengthen their product portfolio but also increase the customer retention rates.[1]

Technology Roadmap

Gym-goers are staying driven with the help of advance technology. Interactive workout programs incorporated into gym equipment's are helping exercisers track mileage, speed, number of workouts, calorie burn, and more. This is encouraging the increases in the membership of health clubs and gyms [8]

Distribution Chain Analysis

As per the market segmentation, the individuals belonging to the age group 34 years and younger are involved with this industry to a great extent. 49% of the total consumers belong to this group followed by 30.2% aged between 34 to 54 and finally remaining 20.8% who are 55 years and older. Although, the traditional market accounts of age group between 18-35 years old, however in USA the scenario is different because the target market has widened.

Similarly, the participation of women has been significant because of the total individuals women 57% of them are members in gym and health clubs of all sorts. Individuals aged 35 to 54 are estimated to make up 30.2% of total industry revenue but over the next five years this segment is expected to remain stagnant and the individuals aged 55 years and above are going to be more aware of health issues and drive the growth of this industry in USA[1]

We can also identify that the distribution of the businesses related to the Industry is not distributed evenly throughout the country. According to the statistical data presented by IBIS world, the south east region has the highest population with highest distribution of related product and services with California alone accounting 10.8% of total establishments which is highest among all regions whereas, Texas, Miami, New York, Ohio and Florida have establishment ranging from 3-10%. Next, Southeast (23.1% of establishments), the Mid Atlantic (18.9%), the West (16.1%) and the Great Lakes (15.2%) regions of the United States.

Together these four regions account for 73.0% of total industry establishments. As a result, in upcoming future areas across the United States will have a greater amount of establishments dedicated to a particular activity depending on climate and other related factors.[1]

Competitive Landscape

The competition is high in this Industry. [4]

The concentration of market players in the Gym, Health and Fitness Clubs industry in USA is low. As shown by the statistics, top four operators in the industry comprising less than 18.0% of total revenue in 2016. This is led by the high fragmentation as many operators in industries are using the niche strategy to penetrate the market.

The larger players in this industry have numerous locations throughout the United States, while small players are generally independently owned and operate in one or two states. The industry’s market share is expected to become more concentrated over the next five years, as larger operators acquire small, niche gym and health and fitness clubs.[1]

Internal competition trend

Industry operators are doing this by using the positive word-of mouth of members to generate revenue. Further, they compete on basis of price for instance, gym and health clubs that offer low initiation fees and monthly membership will attract first-time gym members in particular. [1]

External competition trend

Industry operators compete with amenity and condominium clubs, exercise studios, country clubs, weight-loss centers and home fitness equipment businesses. Many other leisure industries, such as bowling alleys and marinas, also compete with this industry for leisure time. [1]

Competitive Factors

On-demand fitness services namely Peloton, Aaptiv, and Les Mills’ new offering of using the improved internet connectivity and streaming capabilities as their core competencies. But they’re also tapping into Millennials’ desires for personalization, freedom, and experiences over material things. [7]

Boutique fitness is increasing belligerently to more markets, under names like Barry's Boot camp and Solid core opening new studios across the country. Some brands are tailoring their pricing to draw even more consumers in smaller cities. Companies like Class Pass, which offer bulk discounts to specific studios, are also seeing growth.[4]

Some Fitness brands are going beyond just the workout to sell the product. They have incredible clothing that changes every 4-6 weeks including amenities. This is just to give new experience to the customers [4]

X Shadyside and Butler Health & Fitness offer a fitness program called Silver Sneakers for older adults who are eligible for Medicare or to group retirees. The program encourages physical activity and offers health education for members. It is backed up by insurance and it provides a fun filled social environment for these individuals.[8]

Key Market Players

Due to the increasing demand and supply of the offering provided by existing companies there are big chain names like Crunch, Planet Fitness and Anytime Fitness which have been successful in increasing their popularity among the consumers. In the past, big gyms used to just warehouse equipment but now the gyms have focused on top-notch facilities and also addressing the need of cross training.[4]

Similarly, High value Low price boutique brands which make up 6 out of 15 top brands compared to only one in 2009 year. As of 2018, these have been increasing at a CAGR of 44% in next 5 years.[3]

Some major players in the market are Amer Sports Corporation, Brunswick Corporation, Cybex International, Inc., Fitness EM LLC., ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., Impulse (Qingdao) Health Tech Ltd. Co., Johnson Health Tech Co.Ltd., Nautilus Inc., Torque Fitness LLC., and TRUE Fitness.[12]

Among the Top 10 club operators by Revenue, the operators in USA alone are listed as top six in the world-[7]

  1. LA Fitness($1912 million)
  2. 24 hour fitness($1418 million)
  3. Life Time Fitness($1354 million)
  4. Anytime Fitness($1100 million)
  5. Club corp.($1100 million)
  6. Equinox ($1070 million)
Key players.jpg

Strategic Conclusion

Overall, the fitness industry is in a good shape. The companies operating within the industry, both those that make equipment and provide services that are adaptable and flexible and, most importantly, understand their consumers, are the ones that are going to succeed. Now that consumers are once again joining clubs, it has a very positive effect on the rest of the industry and customers are looking forward to seeing the new programs, products and services that come out of this growth.

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 http://www.crossfitnaples.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Crossfit-71394-Gym-Health-Fitness-Clubs-in-the-US-Industry-Report-1.pdf
  2. https://www.statista.com/topics/1141/health-and-fitness-clubs/
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 https://www.slideshare.net/Bryankorourke/piper-jaffray-2018-us-fitness-industry-update
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/02/fitness-heats-up-in-2018-these-are-the-biggest-burners.html
  5. https://www.wellnesscreatives.com/fitness-market-facts-stats-2017/
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 https://www.hanover.com/linec/docs/5-hidden-risks-white-paper.pdf
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 https://www.wellnesscreatives.com/fitness-industry-statistics-growth
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 https://www.southuniversity.edu/whoweare/newsroom/blog/the-shape-of-the-fitness-industry-85375
  9. https://www.wgsn.com/blogs/inclusivity-rising-importance-us-fitness/
  10. https://www.wgsn.com/blogs/inclusivity-rising-importance-us-fitness/
  11. 11.0 11.1 https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-trends/market-research-reports/arts-entertainment-recreation/gym-health-fitness-clubs.html
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 https://www.esticastresearch.com/press-release/united-states-fitness-equipment-market-forecast
  13. 13.0 13.1 https://www.ezfacility.com/blog/real-issues-facing-fitness-industry
  14. 14.0 14.1 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-challenges-fitness-health-clubs-days-have-solutions-dani%C3%ABl-de-wild/
  15. https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/washington-dc-plans-new-training-regulations-shaking-fitness-industry/
  16. https://www.southuniversity.edu/whoweare/newsroom/blog/the-shape-of-the-fitness-industry-85375
  17. 17.0 17.1 https://www.clubindustry.com/news/us-fitness-product-sales-exceeded-52-billion-2017


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