Feature Article - June 2011
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Health, Fitness & Sports Clubs

A Look at Trends in Health, Fitness & Sports Clubs

By Emily Tipping


Over time, a growing percentage of health club respondents expects the number of people using their facilities to increase. While 39 percent of last year's respondents said the number of users had increased from 2008 to 2009, this year, 41.7 percent said there had been an increase from 2009 to 2010. Looking ahead, 55.7 percent project an increase in 2011, and 64.1 percent expect an increase in 2012. At the same time, the percentage seeing users decline is falling. More than one-third (35.1 percent) of health club respondents to last year's survey said the number of people using their facilities fell from 2008 to 2009. This year, a little more than a quarter (26.4 percent) said they saw a decline from 2009 to 2010. That number falls to 10 percent for 2011, and just 1.6 percent for 2012. (See Figure 51.)

A majority of health club respondents, 87.7 percent, reported that they had taken measures to reduce their operating expenditures. The most common tactic used was improving energy efficiency. More than half (58.9 percent) of health club respondents had worked to improve energy efficiency at their facilities. More than a third also said they had reduced staff (38.4 percent) or put construction plans on hold (37 percent). More than a quarter (28.8 percent) said they had increased fees, and 20.5 percent said they had cut programs and services. None of the respondents from this industry segment said they had closed facilities, likely reflecting the for-profit nature of this group's business.

While nearly one in 10 (9.8 percent) of health club respondents in 2010 said they were planning to reduce staff last year, this year that number fell to just 1.4 percent planning to make staff cuts in 2011. The majority (82.2 percent) of health club respondents said they were planning to maintain their current staff levels this year. Another 16.4 percent said they had plans to add staff in 2011.