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Apr052011

U.S. Health Club Membership Exceeds 50 Million, Up 10.8%; Industry Revenue Up 4% as New Members Fuel Growth 

BOSTON, MA - April 5, 2011 - The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) announced today that U.S. health club membership reached 50.2 million in 2010. This represents a 10.8 percent increase from the 45.3 million who belonged to a club in 2009. The association also reports that total industry revenues in 2010 were $20.3 billion, up four percent, while the number of health club locations totaled 29,890*, a slight increase from 29,750 in operation in 2009. The results are from IHRSA's annual health club membership survey, conducted in January 2011.

In addition, IHRSA reports that the total number of health club consumers, which consists of members and non-member users/visitors, reached 58 million in 2010, up 10.4 percent from 52.6 million in 2009. With a survey margin of error of four percent, the greater than 10 percent increase in both membership and total number of health club consumers is statistically significant. From 2006 to 2009, the number of Americans belonging to health clubs did not change significantly, recorded as between 45 and 46 million each year. Considering that more than 60 million Americans are considered "inactive", the significant rise in the number of health club users reflects the important role that the fitness industry plays in improving the healt of the US population. 

"One year does not constitute a trend, but it is certainly a positive sign that 2010 saw real membership growth after four years of treading water," said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA's executive vice president of global products. "The health club industry has weathered the economic storm of the past few years better than many other industries."

"Today, IHRSA members are well-positioned to help individuals and families address their health and wellness concerns," continued Ablondi. "Every day, the health club industry helps millions of people obtain better health through exercise." He added, "IHRSA encourages anyone looking to take control of their health to visit healthclubs.com to find a quality fitness facility that is convenient for them."

While the increase in total memberships added to the industry's bottom line, other key drivers for the growth in industry revenue came from an increase in non-dues spending by both members and non-members. Also, the number of non-member patrons increased by 8.2 percent to 7.8 million in 2010, up from 7.2 million in 2009.    

"Economic indicators show that consumers were very price-sensitive with respect to health club membership dues," said Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA's research manager. "With increased traffic, clubs added value to memberships and offered quality ancillary services, for which consumers were more willing to pay premium dollars."

Health club member usage declined from 102.4 days in 2009 to 97.5 visits in 2010. Overall average attendance for both members and non-members also dropped from 90.9 visits in 2009 to 87.2 in 2010. Findings show that new members are typically young, casual users, contributing to the decline in average usage. On average, non-members used health club facilities on two additional days at 28.3 visits in 2010 in comparison with 26.3 in 2009.    

Methodology: During January 2011/early February 2011, a total of 38,742 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households from the U.S. Online Panel operated by Synovate. A total of 15,086 individual and 23,656 household surveys were completed. The total panel has over 1 million members and is maintained to be representative of the U.S. population. Oversampling of ethnic groups took place to boost responses from typically underresponding groups.

*Note: InfoUSA, Inc. provides data related to the total number of club units using the Industry's SIC code of 7991 as listed under the Yellow Pages. The recent recession has resulted in consolidation of club locations and the closure of weaker-performing clubs, while still allowing for new club locations to emerge in underserved markets. Last year also saw the rise of niche and theme-oriented facilities and continued growth of convenient, always open (e.g. 24 hour), and affordable fitness locations. Using InfoUSA as a benchmark, IHRSA estimates there are a total of 29,890 health club facilities in the United States.

About IHRSA

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is the trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, racquet and sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA and its members are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and fitness promotion. Find an IHRSA club at healthclubs.com.