IHRSA Releases One Million Strong: An In-Depth Study of Health Club Member Retention

One Million Members Can’t Be Wrong:

New IHRSA Report Examines Health Club Membership Retention Results from a Comprehensive North American Sample 

June 25, 2015 – BOSTON – Today, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association released IHRSA One Million Strong: An In-Depth Study of Health Club Member Retention in North America. Written by Dr. Paul Bedford and sponsored by Life Fitness, the report provides a comprehensive retention analysis of more than one million membership records.

“For more than 30 years, IHRSA has measured retention and other club operating benchmarks in Profiles of Success,” said Joe Moore, IHRSA President and CEO. “Now, with IHRSA One Million Strong, club operators have additional measures and insights to better understand the all-important metric of member retention.”

“Measuring retention and its associated factors are a vital element of running any successful health and fitness business,” adds Dr. Paul Bedford, director of Retention Guru, who authored the report and research. “This report offers not only key related statistics, but also a retention benchmark to measure against, which will have a wider impact on the approach used to manage sales, marketing, and customer service.”

The report most notably finds that based on more than one million member records in the U.S. and Canada, 67% of members retain their memberships for at least 12 months. While there is very little difference in retention rate between males and females, results show that retention generally improves with age. Also, members on longer agreements tend to post better retention rates than those on short-term agreements.

One Million Strong shows that a long-term membership agreement may play an important role in keeping members on board and focused on their health and fitness goals,” said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA Executive Vice President of Global Products. “Roughly 75% of consumers on a 12-month membership plan remained members after 24 months, while only 35% of club goers on month-to-month agreements retained their memberships after two years.”

IHRSA One Million Strong covers the following topics in-depth:

■      Retention Measures: the five key important metrics all club operators should track in order to fully understand member retention results at their club.

■      North American Health Club Retention: results and insights from the comprehensive sample, including sales trends, retention, attrition rate, and membership duration.

■      Impact of Retention on Income: the financial implications retention has on a health club’s bottom line.

■      Retention Monitoring Recommendations: actionable suggestions for improved monitoring of member retention.

IHRSA One Million Strong: An In-Depth Study of Health Club Member Retention is available to IHRSA members for $99.95 at Non-members can order the report for $199.95.


The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is a not-for-profit trade association representing nearly 10,000 health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs and suppliers worldwide. Its mission is to grow, promote and protect the health and fitness industry. As one of the world's leading authorities on the commercial health club industry, IHRSA regularly conducts industry and consumer research, along with club operator studies. For more information on IHRSA research, visit