Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

March 2021

Research Uncovers What Consumers Need to Return to Gyms

UpSwell Marketing recently shared insights from its fitness consumer research, delving into consumer behavior in the fitness industry. Based on the responses of 1,000 U.S. consumers, the survey uncovers factors considered when deciding which gyms to join and when to go back during these unprecedented finds.

"The combination of gyms reopening, vaccination rollouts, growing consumer optimism and people simply missing the community of going into a gym leads to perfect timing for gyms to start marketing again," said Nelson Rodenmayer, senior vice president of sales and marketing, UpSwell. "Gym owners have a huge opportunity to grab market share of consumers that were left without a gym due to the amount of businesses that had to close their doors. Owners need to understand not only how consumers are deciding which gyms to join, but also their concerns so they can set themselves up to succeed."

The research showed that even though home workouts have become popular, a lot of people simply prefer to work out in a gym:

  • 40% of consumers prefer to work out at a gym, vs. 60% who prefer to work out at home or outdoors.
  • 17.3% of consumers want to get back to the gym as soon as possible.
  • 80.4% of consumers are open to going back to the gym, vs. 19.6% who said they would never go back.

While cases of COVID-19 may be decreasing, consumers are still concerned about their health and safety:

  • 22.5% of consumers are waiting for the vaccine to roll out to more people before deciding if they will be returning to the gym.
  • 46.8% of consumers said that sanitation is one of the deciding factors of choosing which gym to join.
  • 26.7% of consumers said that extra safety precautions would motivate them to return to the gym.

What is most important to consumers when choosing which gym to return to? Value, convenience and sanitation, says the research. Additional findings include:

  • The average consumer is willing to pay $35 for a monthly gym membership.
  • The average consumer would drive up to 15 minutes to go to the gym.
  • 25% of consumers would be motivated to go back to the gym of there were a price promotion.

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