The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



From educational tools and events to promotional programs and public policy initiatives, IHRSA brings you success... by association!

Join | Renew
Pledge Your Support

Search IHRSA Blog

Welcome to the IHRSA Blog

The Online Home of news.

Blog Home |  Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Entries in ClubIntel (2)


From WiFi to Community: What Millennials Want From Their Health Club

What’s next on the horizon for the health and fitness industry?
A revolution sparked by millennials, suggests Stephen Tharrett, the cofounder and principal of ClubIntel, an industry consultancy based in Highland Village, TX.

“Millennials—those individuals who were born between 1980 and 2000—are poised to dramatically change the industry, as they’re introducing a whole new purchasing mindset,” he says in the September issue of Club Business International. “Club operators are well advised to take note.”


The new issue of the IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, produced by IHRSA and ClubIntel, supports Tharrett’s assertion. This annual best-selling research publication provides detailed information on participation trends among both health club member and nonmember consumers at U.S. fitness facilities.

The report identifies numerous new opportunities for club operators, but the one that shines brightest—because of the large size of the group and the small size of the current penetration rate—is the one offered by millennials.

Clearly, this group represents a promising, largely untapped market for the industry, prompting operators, equipment suppliers, and marketers to pose the question: “Who, exactly, are the millennials, and what do they want?”

Free WiFi and Intelligent Exercise Equipment

“Technology,” is the first word out of Dan Schawbel’s mouth when he’s asked what attracts millennials to a club. Schawbel is the founder and managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Boston-based research firm, and a New York Times best-selling author.

“They want free WiFi wherever they are. They’re the most connected generation in history,” he says. “So clubs should focus on having modern equipment, a strong online network, and a solid social media presence.”

The affinity these individuals have for technology is hardly surprising, since they were born and grew up with it. The Internet, smartphones, and social media have been an integral part of their daily lives.

Continue reading "What Millennials Want from Their Health Club."

Click to read more ...


How Health Clubs Can Appeal to Big Fitness Spenders

The media has been buzzing about the large amounts of money today’s consumers are willing to spend on fitness, but this trend isn’t exactly news to the health club industry. 

In fact, IHRSA reported on this shift in the 2015 Health Club Consumer Report, which found that, on average, consumers spent approximately .8% of their income on membership at clubs and studios, overall—but members of studios spent as much as 1.9% of their income.

To get to the root of this trend, we spoke to two experts (and IHRSA 2016 speakers) about consumer purchasing behavior and how health clubs can best appeal to members who are willing to spend big on fitness. 

Consumer Purchasing Behavior and “Affordable Luxury” 

The millennial generation—those born from the early 1980s to early 2000s—are thought to be the driving force behind the increase in fitness spending, as well as the rise of boutique studios. Millennials have more buying power than previous generations and place a high value on health and fitness, says Tara Sampson, general manager for VIDA Fitness & Aura Spa in Washington D.C. 

“There is also some behavioral economics woven in there as well, where spending $500 a month in studio classes is much more easily justified than spending $500 on a purse or a pair of expensive shoes,” she says. “Even though they come away from these classes with nothing concrete to show for their investment, the purse strings are much looser when they are spending on their health.”    

This behavior is sometimes called “affordable luxury,” or the purchase of products and experiences that, while expensive, align with the customer’s lifestyle values, says Steve Tharrett, co-founder of ClubIntel, a consumer insights and operational consulting firm based in Dallas, TX. When it comes to spending on fitness, today’s consumers are willing to pay more for experiences that align with their preferences. 

“It is an example of where value is not equated with the price, but with the experience, particularly the intangible aspect such as being part of a tribe, engaged in a highly specialized and guided experience, and much more,” Tharrett says. “These affordable luxury expenditures speak to the consumers hankering for novelty, adventure, personalization, and a conscious ability to align with their lifestyle and life stage.” 

Continue reading "How Health Clubs Can Appeal to Big Fitness Spenders."

Click to read more ...