IHRSA Releases 2017 Health Club Consumer Report

Greatest membership growth came from youth and older adult markets

BOSTON, MA - September 27, 2017 - The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has released the 2017 Health Club Consumer Report. This annual publication, based on a nationwide sample of more than 24,000 interviews, provides demographics and health, sports, and fitness participation data on America’s health club consumers.

“Membership in U.S. health clubs reached an all-time high of 57.3 million in 2016, an increase of 3.6% from 2015,” said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products. “Another 9.3 million non-members exercised at clubs. In all, 22% of Americans use a health club to pursue fitness and wellness goals.”

The report confirms that health and fitness clubs are playing an increasing role in helping consumers get active, lead healthier lives, and pursue fitness and sport goals. “Although inactivity rates are disappointing among older generations, The IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report shows that nearly one out of four health club members are 55 and older and membership among Boomers and the Silent Generation (typically born between 1925-42) has increased by 5% since 2012," said Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA’s senior research manager. “The report provides insights and applications on how clubs can engage older generations as well as other segments. For example, club operators who aim to target older generations should not only offer relevant exercise programs, but also provide stellar in-person customer service and foster ongoing interactions with club staff.”

Opportunities also prevail to attract the youth market, which in 2016, had higher participation rates in studios than in previous years. Managers of full-service clubs like multipurpose and fitness-only facilities may be uniquely positioned to provide offerings that complement youth activity and athletic goals.

Although one out of five Americans utilizes a health club, opportunities remain for club operators to help increase activity among sedentary Americans. According to Physical Activity Council research, more than one out of five Americans (27%) do not engage in any sport or physical activity.

The report guides club operators in how to target underrepresented groups as well as leverage demographic trends in efforts to stand out from the competition.

The 2017 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report is organized into the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1. Overview of Health Club Participation: analysis of total membership and consumer growth trends;

  • Chapter 2. Health Club Member Demographics: an exploration of gender, household income, age, educational, and ethnicity, as well as how demographics are influencing the health club industry;

  • Chapter 3. Health Club Member Attendance & Tenure: insights on membership tenure and attendance;

  • Chapter 4. Health Club Member Activity Participation: an examination of consumer utilization of equipment and participation in group-based training formats;

  • Chapter 5. Health Club Member Fees: an analysis of fees paid overall and per club segment;

  • Chapter 6. Personal & Small Group Training Users: an overview of private and small group training clients;

  • (NEW) Chapter 7. Special Report: Core Consumers: an examination of members who use clubs at least 100 days per year and multi-club members;

  • Chapter 8: How to Apply Consumer Research: 10 in-depth applications for club operators and suppliers;

  • (NEW) Appendix - 10 Key Findings & Infographic Insights: one-page summary of key data points and infographic highlights of report

The 2017 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report is based on analysis of 24,134 online interviews that were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households in early 2017. This publication is available in PDF format for $99.95 (IHRSA member price) and $199.95 (non-members).

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. 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 see IHRSA’s research.

Contact IHRSA public relations with media inquiries.