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Feature Article - June 2018

Health, Fitness & Sports Clubs

A Look at Trends in Health, Fitness & Sports Clubs



According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), there were 36,540 health clubs in the United States in 2017, and 57.3 million Americans belong to at least one of them. Total industry revenues worldwide were $83.1 billion, and in 2016, more than 200,000 clubs served some 162 million members around the world.

From niche studios to big-box gyms, the health club market is constantly evolving and innovating. Whether it's bringing creative new programs to inspire people to get fit or manufacturer innovations that take equipment to a new level, there's always some new way to motivate Americans to get to the gym and work out.

This section covers our health club respondents, which includes health clubs, sports clubs, fitness clubs and medical fitness facilities. These respondents made up 4.2 percent of the survey population.

As with the general survey population, respondents from health clubs are most likely to be from the Midwest. Some 30.3 percent of health club respondents are located in the Midwest. They were followed by the South Atlantic region (24.2 percent), the West (18.2 percent), the South Central region (15.2 percent) and the Northeast (12.1 percent). No health club respondents covered by the survey are located outside of the United States.

More than half (51.5 percent) of health club respondents said they are located in suburban communities. Another 25.8 percent are in rural areas, and 22.7 percent can be found in urban communities.

On average, health club respondents said they serve a population of 73,530 people. More than half (56.1 percent) of health club respondents said they reach a population of 20,000 or fewer people, compared with 47.8 percent of non-health-club respondents. Conversely, while 16.7 percent of health club respondents said they reach a population of 100,000 or more, 17.9 percent of non-health-club respondents reach a population of at least 100,000.

Nearly half (48.5 percent) of health club respondents are from private, for-profit organizations. Nearly another third (31.8 percent) said they are with private, nonprofit organizations, and 16.7 percent said they are with public organizations. Some 3 percent of health club respondents said they are with "other" types of organizations.

Respondents from health clubs manage an average of 3.4 facilities. They were more likely than non-health-club respondents to report that they manage just a single facility. Some 56.1 percent of health club respondents said they manage only a single facility, compared with 34.9 percent of non-health-club respondents. Conversely, while 17.6 percent of non-health-club respondents manage 10 or more facilities, just 3 percent of health club respondents said they have 10 or more facilities to manage.

Health club respondents were among the least likely to report that they form partnerships with other organizations, though a majority do so. While 69.2 percent of health club respondents said they partner with outside organizations, 87.4 percent of non-health-club respondents do so. The most common partners for health club respondents include: health care and medical facilities (41.5 percent of health club respondents partner with them); local schools (35.4 percent); corporate or local businesses (35.4 percent); nonprofit organizations (27.7 percent); and colleges and universities (23.1 percent).

Respondents from health clubs were far more likely than others to report that their primary audience is made up of adults. Some 71.2 percent of health clubs said adults are their primary audience, compared with just 14.2 percent of non-health-club respondents. Health club respondents are also more likely than others to serve seniors 65 and older as their primary audience, with 10.6 percent indicating this is their primary audience. This compares with just 2.3 percent of non-health club respondents. The remainder of health club respondents said their audience is made up of either all ages (13.6 percent of health club respondents) or teens (4.5 percent).

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