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

Feature Story

August 2021

IHRSA Foundation Digs Into the New Fitness Consumer Mindset

New consumer research commissioned by the IHRSA Foundation and ABC Fitness Solutions shows motivation to stay fit in a post-pandemic world is less about having a solid physique and more about achieving a holistic approach to physical exercise and mental well-being. A study conducted by ClubIntel in June 2021 shows that the active consumer motivation for a total fitness experience demands highly personalized delivery—the fitness industry can no longer provide a one-size-fits-all approach and expect to succeed.

'The Next Fitness Consumer Report' provides answers to vital questions, such as why consumers are interested in or presently participate in exercise routines, what consumers value most about pursuing a fitness routine, and—perhaps most importantly—how routines have changed since the start of the pandemic. Delivering options for the consumer is paramount; it's about connecting home and outdoor fitness with gym workouts and trainer-led programs to stay active, feel good and connect with like-minded individuals.

"This report gave us timely insight about what the future of fitness holds for the industry," said Bill Davis, CEO of ABC Fitness Solutions. "As consumers look for more choices to create their fitness journey, they want a variety in equipment, programming and facilities. Four out of the five most relevant modalities are features in gyms and fitness clubs, making them well-positioned for growth across multiple segments and demographics."

The report offers an Active Consumer Profile that examines responses by specific segments like gender, age, ability and income. It also includes a "Fitness Mix," which discusses consumers' goals, exercise regimens, fitness mix and routines, workout frequency, exercise expenditures, equipment preferences and more.

"Fitness and wellness are top of mind for the active consumer," said Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA's director of research and insights. "While the majority of Americans value regular exercise, a significant segment of inactive consumers want to engage in physical activity, presenting an opportunity for the fitness industry."

Some of the key findings found in 'The Next Fitness Consumer Report' include:

  • Two-thirds of Americans report that they are currently active, an indicator that fitness is broader than just physical exercise and inclusive of mental health and acuity.
  • Outdoor activities and digital/online workouts are here to stay—consumers want fitness delivered to them.
  • Despite growing fitness awareness, regular exercise may be a privilege of the well-off, highlighting the need for the fitness industry to overcome barriers of inequity.
  • The fitness club and studio will remain the go-to hubs of active consumers.
  • Among those who previously canceled their membership at big-box gyms, half say they plan to return in the next six to 12 months.

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