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


In March, IHRSA reported that industry revenues reached $19.1 billion in 2008, an increase of 3 percent over 2007. At the same time, the association reported that the number of health clubs grew by 1 percent to total more than 30,000 facilities in the United States.

"Although growth in the total number of facilities has slowed since 2006, the ability of the industry to continue to introduce new locations and facilities indicates there are markets increasing capacity and consumer demand focused on convenience and value," said Katie Rollauer, IHRSA's senior manager of research.

With so many health club respondents operating single facilities, it would be surprising to find that a great number were planning new construction. Still, more than 60 percent indicated that they have plans to build—new facilities, additions or renovations—over the next three years. Just 10.7 percent are planning all-new facilities, but 22.7 percent said they plan to make additions, and 42.7 percent are planning renovations. (See Figure 49.)

Weighted as they are toward renovations, it comes as no surprise that the amount health club respondents are planning to spend on construction is lower than most other respondents. The average amount planned is $1,674,000, a little over a third of the average for all facility types ($4,835,000).

The top features currently included in health club respondents' facilities are what one would expect in this market. More than 90 percent include fitness centers, and around three-quarters include locker rooms and exercise studios. Another 44.7 percent include indoor aquatics, while 40.8 percent include concession areas.

The amenities planned for addition among our health club respondents were somewhat more surprising. More than 10 percent indicated that they plan to add splash play areas and playgrounds over the next three years. The top seven amenities health club respondents are planning to add over the next few years include:

  1. Splash play areas
  2. Playgrounds
  3. Exercise studio rooms
  4. Classrooms and meeting rooms
  5. Climbing walls
  6. Concession areas
  7. Waterparks