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IHRSA releases annual Health Club Consumer Report: 2012 Health Club Activity, Usage, Trends & Analysis; Report explores consumer trends over economic recession and recovery

BOSTON - September 6, 2012 - The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) announced today the release of The IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report: 2012 Health Club Activity, Usage, Trends & Analysis. This annual publication provides demographics and participation data on American health club consumers. This year’s edition focuses on multi-year trends, covering the economic recession and recovery.

“Drawing from four years of consumer data, The IHRSA Health Club Consumer Reportanalyzes consumer activity and behavior relative to the fitness industry and interprets findings to help club operators identify profit center opportunities,” says Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products. “As IHRSA reported earlier this year, health club utilization reached an all-time high of 59 million consumers in 2011. The report analyses the characteristics of these health club consumers and provides credible data that club owners, developers and industry suppliers can use in their efforts to grow their customer base.”

Health club member attendance also reached an all-time high with an average of 102.5 visits in 2011. From 2008 to 2011, the total number of members who visited their club at least 100 times per year increased by 17.6%, from 20.5 million to 24.1 million.

New to this year’s report is analysis of the fastest growing member segments, growing and declining in-club activities, and opportunities for growth.

The typical “core” member, who uses their health club an annual minimum of 100 days, has the following characteristics:

  • Slightly more likely to be male than female
  • Average age of 42.9 years
  • College graduate or higher
  • Average membership tenure of 5.4 years

The IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report also covers the following topics:

  • Health club membership fees and market share by club type. In 2011, consumers paid an average of $42.55 in monthly membership fees, up from $40.94 in 2008. Club fees and market share for fitness-only, multipurpose, non-profit, and corporate/business facilities are analyzed.
  • Health club member participation rates. Roughly 18% of Americans ages six and older are members of a health club. This section also includes member penetration rates for the 48 contiguous states and Washington, DC.
  • Health club member profiles. Health club members are broken down by activity and club type. Activity type breakouts include group exercise, soft exercise, weights and resistance, and cardio.
  • Health club member usage. Also provided is an in-depth analysis of member attendance, club participation, and non-club activity participation.Personal training consumers. A total of 6.4 million Americans used personal training in 2011. Demographics of personal training users are included in the report.

“Club operators can rely on the annual Health Club Consumer Report for demographics and participation data. For additional insight into consumer attitudes’ regarding health clubs, including why people quit, stay at, and join health clubs, club owners may consult the IHRSA Trend Report,” says Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA senior research manager. “Together, the Consumer Report and Trend Report provide the health club operator with an authoritative consumer toolkit.”

Consistent with the IHRSA Trend Report, findings from the Health Club Consumer Reportidentify opportunities for growth within the Generation X and Baby Boomer segments. Along with other targeted strategies, weight management programs and sports-specific training may help engage these two groups.

The IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report is based on analysis of 38,742 online interviews that were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households in early 2012. This publication is available in PDF format at ihrsa.org/store for $79.95 (IHRSA member price) and $199.95 (non-members). For more information on IHRSA research, please visit ihrsa.org/research. Contact pr@ihrsa.org with media inquiries, or call +1 617-951-0055.

The IHRSA Trend Report is a quarterly report on health club consumer behavior. This publication examines why Americans join (or don’t join), stay, and quit their health clubs. The most recent installment explores consumer leisure time and activity. IHRSA members can access this report for free at ihrsa.org/research. Non-members can purchase this report at ihrsa.org/store for $99.95.

Methodology: During January 2012/early February 2012, a total of 38,172 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 15,113 individual and 23,059 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 under-represented groups.


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 athealthclubs.com.