BOSTON, MA—June 20, 2022—More than one out of five Americans belonged to a health club or studio in 2021, totaling 66.5 million consumers ages 6 years and older. The latest data shows a 3.8% growth over the last two years, a validation of the importance of the industry despite COVID’s challenges.
“It is a clear indication of the importance of the bricks and mortar component of the fitness industry that growth returned despite the lockdown of clubs, the severe governmental restrictions imposed, and the surge in digital offerings,” said Liz Clark, IHRSA president & CEO. “It is a strong testament to the value of clubs and studios, the importance of community, the quality of in-person instruction, and the expansive offerings of the on-site experience.”
A comparison of a year ago is not relevant at this point, given the number of health clubs that were mandated to close and the need for residents to be confined to their homes. An increasing overall percentage used at least one health club or studio, reaching 27% of the population—the highest total on record.
Although average attendance was down substantially, this may have been a function of the facility’s limited access, mandated governmental temporary closures, the lack of return of adults to offices, the waiting for vaccine availability, usage capacity restrictions, and the lack of full club offerings.
Despite the COVID-related challenges, the recent data indicates that the overall industry participation rates reached 21.8%, the highest in its history. The trend in the number of total visits during this period decreased dramatically from 6.7 billion in 2019 to 4.5 billion in 2021. Likewise, the average number of annual visits to clubs per individual decreased from 109 to 72. Any conclusion may be premature, as this may be directly correlated to factors highlighted previously. Next year, a proper conclusion will provide more clarity.
This study was conducted by IHRSA as part of the Physical Activity Council. It determined that the total number of overall consumers—members and non-member— increased by 2.1% during COVID. However, the number of overall visits fell by almost one third over the last two years.
A more complete IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report will be published in the fall. IHRSA will release its 2022 Global Report this summer.
IHRSA, the Global Health & Fitness Association, is a not-for-profit trade association representing the global fitness industry of over 200,000 health and fitness facilities and their suppliers. Founded in 1981, IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical for peak health and to fight the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle diseases.
As the world's leading authority on the commercial health and fitness 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 is the publisher of Club Business International, the leading monthly magazine for the global fitness industry. IHRSA's 41st International Convention & Trade Show will be hosted from June 22-24, 2022, in Miami Beach, FL. To apply for a complimentary media pass, fill out this form.