Majority of Members Make Good on Plans to Return to Clubs

    Early screening data showed that a large number of members were eager to get back into their health and fitness clubs. Those numbers continue to hold true in the latest reopening data.

    BOSTON, MA—July 22, 2020—After a long layoff from accessing health clubs, surveys show a vast number of members have already returned or plan to return to their health club, gym, or studio. Data from four markets also indicate that physical activity decreased among users while clubs were closed.

    “The critical role regular exercise plays in boosting health, wellbeing, and immunity is well-documented,” said Joe Moore, IHRSA CEO and president. “Multiple accounts show that a large majority of members intend to return to their health club, gym, or studio once they reopen after shutdowns.”

    In the U.S., an MXM survey of more than 150,000 health club members nationwide shows that 65.7% of members are likely to return to their clubs when they reopen. A separate ClubIntel study of 2,000 adult members in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas also reports that approximately 65% of members are likely to come back.

    96 percent Graphics COVID 19 Impact Research

    Research from four international markets also confirms that many members plan to return to their fitness facilities. In India, 60% of consumers plan to return, based on a survey by India Active. According to a study by the Polish Fitness Federation, two-thirds of health club-goers in Poland plan to come back within a month after clubs have met safety standards for reopening. In Spain, a Management Around Sports survey shows that nearly 9 out of 10 health club members plan to rejoin. Additionally, data from the U.K. indicates that 88% of members plan to return to their health and fitness facilities.

    Early data from top-tier health clubs indicate that up to 80% of members have safely returned within weeks of reopening. Data provided by Peerfit shows that membership visits at fitness and wellness locations in their system increased by 101% from May to June. Additionally, data compiled by ABC Financial shows that club visits in the U.S. and Canada were up by 40% for the week ending July 10 in comparison with the week ending July 3. New member joins were also up by 19% over the same period. Since reopening, clubs have attracted over a million new joins and at least 44 million visits.

    “While many clubs are still in need of relief to continue operations, reports from consumers show that people rely on their health and fitness clubs to engage in physical activity,” said Helen Durkin, IHRSA’s executive vice president of public policy. “Physical activity declined among club consumers during shutdowns, highlighting the need for relief and incentives in order for health clubs to continue facilitating healthy habits such as regular exercise.”

    57 percent Graphics COVID 19 Impact Research

    According to a study conducted by the Physical Activity Council, more than half of American health club consumers (57%) reported a decline in physical activity during the time their health clubs, gyms, and studios were closed. Seven out of 10 gym-goers in Poland reported decreased physical activity while facilities were closed. During the lockdown in India, the percentage of health club consumers that exercised at least four days a week declined from 78% pre-lockdown to 44% amidst the shutdown. In Spain, only 42% of health club members reported engaging in moderate physical activity at a minimum of four days a week during closures.

    About IHRSA

    IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, is a not-for-profit trade association representing the global fitness industry of over 200,000 health and fitness facilities and their suppliers.

    IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to peak health and fight the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle disease. As one of the world's leading authorities on the commercial health club industry, IHRSA’s mission is to grow, promote, and protect the health and fitness industry, while providing its members with benefits and resources. IHRSA and its members are devoted to making the world happier, healthier, and more prosperous through regular exercise and activity promotion.

    Author avatar

    Melissa Rodriguez

    As IHRSA's Senior Research Manager, Melissa Rodriguez oversees research initiatives for the health club consumer, club operations, and international markets. The best part of her job is helping members better understand how IHRSA research can help them improve and expand their business. When she's not analyzing data and statistics, Melissa enjoys spending time with family, watching superhero series, poring over NBA and NFL box scores, and reading a good book.