Feature Article - June 2009
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A Look at Trends in Health, Fitness & Sports Clubs

Despite the recession, IHRSA reported recently that a survey of its members revealed that many were still performing relatively well in 2009, with nearly two-thirds stating that certain aspects of their business were performing as well, or better, at the end of January 2009 than January 2008. The survey showed equal or improved rates of performance in membership attendance, non-dues revenue, new non-dues revenue sales and total revenues.

The majority of health club respondents to our industry report survey echoed these findings, with a majority reporting increasing revenues or no change to revenues from 2007 to 2008, and projecting more of the same for 2009 and 2010. From 2007 to 2008, 43.7 percent of health club respondents reported their revenues increased, and another 26.8 percent reported no change in that time period. This reflects better performance than was expected last year, when just 36 percent of health club respondents projected higher revenues in 2008 over 2007.

Health club respondents were, however, much more likely to report lower revenues in 2008 and 2009, compared to other survey respondents. While just 14.1 percent of all respondents said their revenues for 2008 were lower than in 2007, 29.6 percent of health club respondents' revenues were lower. And while 20.5 percent of all respondents were expecting lower revenues in 2009, 35.7 percent of health club respondents were. That said, health clubs projected a quicker turnaround, with 59 percent expecting higher revenues in 2010, and just 13.1 percent expecting a decrease that year (compared to 17.8 percent of the general survey population). (See Figure 47.)

Reinforcing the idea of a quicker recovery among health club respondents, this group was the only category to report an increase in operating expenditures between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2009. In the same time that schools are expecting operating expenditures to drop 18.5 percent and parks are projecting a 13.7 percent decrease, health club respondents projected an increase of 2 percent, from an average operating budget of $1,012,000 in fiscal 2008 to $1,032,000 in fiscal 2010.

"We think the health club industry is well-positioned for a swift recovery because it reaches a broad demographic through the plethora of business models club operators employ," said an IHRSA spokesperson. "From budget clubs to luxurious facilities, the health-conscious consumer can find a health club option that will fit their budget and goals."