51.4 Million Americans are Health Club Members, Up 2.4%; Club Usage at Record High, Industry Revenue Up 5%
BOSTON, MA - April 2, 2012 - The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) announced today that U.S. health club industry revenue reached $21.4 billion as memberships totaled 51.4 million in 2011. Memberships grew slightly from 2010 by 2.4 percent, while industry revenue increased by 5%. The total number of health clubs remained flat, with a marginal increase from 29,890 to 29,960*.
“With total membership exceeding 50 million people for the second consecutive year, it’s clear that the health club industry is growing to meet the needs of a more health conscious and value orientated consumer,” said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA's executive vice president of global products. “More Americans are utilizing health club services than ever before and they are going more often.
In addition, the survey showed a slight increase in the total number of health club consumers, which includes members and non-members. The number of consumers grew from 58 million in 2010 to 59 million in 2011, another positive indicator for the industry. The number of non-member consumers remained consistent at 7.8 million. Overall, roughly 20.8 percent of Americans ages 6 and older were health club consumers. Health club membership penetration** reached an all-time high of 18.1 percent.
“The health club industry continues to attract new members and is engaging them with innovative programs that are driving up frequency of club visits. Operationally, the industry is doing a better job at balancing new member acquisition with member retention and customer service,” said Ablondi.
In efforts to engage and retain members, club operators attracted members on a regular basis, leading to an improvement in usage from 97.5 days in 2010 to 102.5 days in 2011. This represents an all-time high for health club utilization. Increased usage often denotes member engagement Non-dues spending and increased usage are the key drivers in revenue growth as frequent usage is typically associated with increased spending in ancillary services. “More Americans are making exercise part of their weekly routines, which is encouraging since research clearly demonstrates that regular physical activity has numerous health benefits,” Ablondi stated.
Last week, the Physical Activity Council announced that fitness sports remained a form of popular physical activity in 2010. The participation rate held steady at 60 percent for the fourth year in a row. Fitness activities, like yoga, boot camp-style training and other classes, continued to drive this set of activities.
“Although the industry is well-positioned to serve the needs of an aging population with specialized non-dues services, club operators are also serving the needs of younger generations,” said Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA’s senior research manager. “Over the fourth quarter of 2011, roughly one out of five Generation Y Americans were health club members and attended for both the fitness and social aspects of the club.”
According to the IHRSA Trend Report: Fourth Quarter 2011, a separate health club consumer study, 19% of Generation Y Americans were members of a health club over the quarter ending December 31, 2011. Nearly half cited “for overall health/wellbeing” and “to make progress with goals” as reasons for continued health club usage. Three out of 10 Generation Y Americans also cited the “social aspects of a health club” as a reason for remaining health club members.
Methodology: Each year, IHRSA conducts an annual health club consumer study as part of the Physical Activity Council (PAC). The PAC is made up of six of the leading sports and manufacturer associations that are dedicated to growing participation in their respective sports and activities. During January 2012/early February 2012, 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. 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 29,960 health club facilities in the United States.
**Health club membership penetration rate refers to the percent of Americans ages 6 and older are card-carrying members of a health club.
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, 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.