Feature Article - June 2019
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Health, Fitness & Sports Clubs

A Look at Trends in Health, Fitness & Sports Clubs


Looking forward, health club respondents are optimistic as always about membership increases. Some 57.4 percent expect to see utilization of their facilities increase in 2019, and 56.4 percent expect an increase in 2020.

Health clubs were one of the few facility types where fewer respondents in 2019 are planning construction than in 2018. Some 56.2 percent of health club respondents in 2019 said they are planning construction over the next few years, compared with 66.7 percent in 2018. Some 16.7 percent of health club respondents said they are planning new construction, while 25 percent are planning additions, and 35.4 percent are planning renovations. (See Figure 53.)

Health club respondents in 2019 are planning to spend an average of $3,470,000 on their construction plans. This is a 15.3 percent increase from 2017, when these respondents had budgeted $3,010,000 on average for construction.

The features most commonly included among health club respondents' facilities in 2019 include: fitness centers; exercise studio rooms; locker rooms; Wi-Fi services; indoor aquatic facilities; childcare centers; classrooms and meeting rooms; indoor courts for sports like basketball and volleyball; indoor running/walking tracks; and concession areas.

Health club respondents were much less likely than their counterparts to report that they had plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years. While 43.7 percent of non-health-club respondents had such plans, just 20.8 percent of health club respondents are planning to add features. This compares with 30.3 percent in 2018.

The most commonly planned additions among health club respondents include: synthetic turf sports fields; bleachers and seating; exercise studios; locker rooms; and indoor aquatic facilities.

Programming

Offering innovative and effective programs is crucial to the health club business, helping drive new memberships while keeping existing members engaged.

The top 10 programs currently offered among health club respondents' facilities include: fitness programs (provided by 93.8 percent of health club respondents); group exercise programs (83.3 percent); personal training (81.3 percent); mind-body balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (79.2 percent); functional fitness programs (75 percent); programs for active older adults (62.5 percent); holidays and other special events (58.3 percent); nutrition and diet counseling (52.1 percent); aquatic exercise programs (43.8 percent); and swimming programs (39.6 percent).

Programming types that saw growth from 2018 to 2019 include: programs for active older adults (up from 60 percent); and holidays and other special events (up from 43.1 percent). Group exercise and functional fitness programs were new to the survey in 2019.

The percentage of health club respondents who plan to add programs at their facilities fell from 30.3 percent in 2018 to 27.1 percent in 2019. This compares with 31.6 percent of non-health-club respondents who are planning to add programs at their facilities.

The most commonly planned program additions among health club respondents include:

  1. Holidays and other special events (did not appear in 2018)
  2. Nutrition and diet counseling (up from No. 3)
  3. Programs for active older adults (down from No. 1)
  4. Group exercise programs (did not appear in 2018)
  5. Fitness programs (down from No. 4)
  6. Day camps and summer camps (did not appear in 2018)
  7. Sports tournaments and races (did not appear in 2018)
  8. Aquatic exercise programs (did not appear in 2018)
  9. Youth sports teams (did not appear in 2018)
  10. Personal training (down from No. 7)

New to the list in 2018 are holidays and special events; group exercise; day camps and summer camps; sports tournaments and races; aquatic exercise programs; and youth sports teams. These programs replaced teen programming; mind-body balance programs; sport-specific training; educational programs; adult sports teams; and individual sports activities such as running clubs or swim clubs.