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Feature Story

April 2015


IHRSA Releases Seasonal Report

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The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association released the latest edition of its IHRSA Health Consumer Seasonal Trend Report (Spring 2015), which presents and analyzes the behavior of American health club-goers over the spring and summer months.

The report most notably finds that health club members tend to be between the ages of 18 and 44, but that the most active users are older than 35. Meanwhile, members 35 and older visited their club 20 percent to 50 percent more often than members younger than 35, on average. Among non-member users, adults over the age of 55 visited health clubs far more frequently than those in younger generations.

Of these latest findings, IHRSA's Executive Vice President of Global Products Jay Ablondi said, "They paint a very clear opportunity for health club growth. With more than 70 million baby boomers in America, the health club industry has a large reserve of prospects to tap for membership and other offerings. Based on data from the IHRSA Seasonal Trend Report, clubs may want to consider providing programming to attract older adults, such as group exercise classes that focus on balance and stability, and low-impact exercises and mind-body programs."

The Seasonal Trend Report highlights another potentially fruitful group of prospects: non-members. According to the report, one out of every five health club visitors over the spring and summer months is a non-member. "It's possible that there is an opportunity to convert non-members to members," said Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA's research manager. "Interestingly, non-member health club users tend to be women, while the most frequent health club user members are also women. This suggests there is value in clubs assessing how they engage female prospects."

The report also finds an interesting dichotomy between member usage patterns and programming. "In some instances, where the majority of club operators say they offer trendy programs such as cardio kickboxing, group cycling, step, cross training or boot camp, only a small percentage of members actually say they take these classes," explained Stephen Tharrett, partner of ClubIntel, who co-authored the report. "From a programming perspective, it looks as though there's opportunity to carefully consider what a club offers its members, since the programs a club offers determine to a large degree the generation they attract."

A few other notable findings form the report on fitness participation over the spring and summer months include:

  • Treadmills continue to be the most popular form of equipment-based exercise among members.
  • In general, health club members between the ages of 35 and 44 are the heaviest users of the club's equipment, with the exceptions of the rower and stationary bike. The rower is more popular among younger members, while stationary cycling is more popular among older members.
  • As expected, women are much more likely to participate in most group exercise classes than men. However, men are more likely to engage in group cycling classes than women.

To learn more, visit www.ihrsa.org/research.