IHRSA Research Sheds Light on Gen Z Health Club Habits

    The new Health Club Consumer Report also breaks down membership demographics at U.S. health clubs and uncovers new trends.

    Generation Z, which includes those born after the year 2000, represents more than an eighth of total health club members in the U.S., according to the recently released 2019 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report.

    Although the youngest cohort is just making an impact on the fitness industry and health club membership, Millennials and Gen Xers make up over half of the total health club membership population at a combined 57%, the new IHRSA report found. Millennials, in particular, are increasingly using their burgeoning buying power to boost fitness clubs, according to research by CB Insights.

    "Few industries will benefit as directly from the rise of Millennials’ economic power as the fitness industry,” the report states, noting that Millennials are also much bigger spenders when it comes to gym memberships, "dropping almost $7B annually—double the amount spent by Gen Xers and Boomers.”

    As Health Club Usage Grows, Trends Are Uncovered

    According to Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products, U.S. health club usage reached an all-time high in 2018.

    "More than 71 million people utilized health and fitness services at a fitness center, gym, or studio,” Ablondi said. "In fact, more than one out of five Americans report belonging to a health club last year, once again, demonstrating the critical role the health and fitness industry plays in helping millions of people become and stay active, lead healthier lives, and pursue their health and fitness goals.”

    Industry news 2019 health club member by generation column

    And with growing numbers, new insights are unveiled each year. The 2019 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report shows fitness activity participation at health clubs varies across demographics, including generational groups. As expected, club activity preferences vary across generational groups, providing insight for club operators and fitness directors. While the Z and Millennial generations are more inclined to engage in group-based activities, Gen Xers and younger Boomers prefer to utilize cardio and strength training equipment.

    The report also takes a deep dive into overall U.S. health club trends; membership behavior, attendance, and tenure; an analysis of fees paid overall per club segment; demographics including gender, household income, age, education level, and ethnicity; and more.

    The 2019 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report is based on an analysis of 20,069 online interviews that were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households in early 2019. This annual publication provides demographics and health, sports, and fitness participation data on America’s health club consumers.

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    IHRSA Staff @IHRSA

    This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.