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Reopened fitness clubs see more than two-thirds of members return

Reopened fitness clubs see more than two-thirds of members return
October 19, 2020

A newly released industry survey of post-Coronavirus gym operations around the world has revealed that reopened clubs have seen see more than two-thirds of their members return.

ClubIntel's global report, The Fitness Industry’s Awakening Post-Covid-19 Facility Closures also shows that, on average, gym owners and operators that responded are projecting that 2020 revenues will average 63% of the revenues they earned in 2019 while fewer than 70% had adopted safety measures based on guidelines recommended by various national health authorities.

Commenting on the findings, ClubIntel co-founders Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson, wrote “since it first raised its tentacles of infection, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust upon fitness operators a challenge of profound proportion.

“Despite the enormity of this challenge, the fitness industry is showing resilience, fortitude and hope … awakening from COVID-19 mandated closures, some emerging from forced hibernation after a couple of months, others now just opening after six months in ‘hibernation hell’ (while) in some regions, clubs and studios remain closed.

“Upon awakening to this ‘new era’, fitness operators are facing significant operational and financial obstacles (and) for some in the fitness industry, these obstacles have, or soon will prove insurmountable - … members have cancelled; other members remain hesitant to return; members have migrated to digital and virtual alternatives; business revenues have declined, in some cases precipitously; mandated government guidelines have resulted in reduced member capacities and increased operating costs; and still, the future remains uncertain and fluid.”

Highlighting a GDP decline for 2020 of 7% in the USA and 4.9% globally, Tharrett and Williamson note “consumer confidence is down” and the bankruptcy of chains including 24Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym and Town Sports International.

They continue “what we don’t know is how the pandemic has hit fitness businesses that are not in the public eye and what this might mean to fitness operators as they progress through the early and later stages of re-opening.”

The Fitness Industry’s Awakening Post-Covid-19 Facility Closures study also found:

• Globally, approximately 13% of fitness facilities remain closed as of 1st September - nearly six months since governments mandated the closure of gyms and fitness facilities.
• Staffing has not returned to pre-closure levels. On average, operators report 79% of full-time staff have been rehired, 74% of part-time staff, and less than half of operators have been able to bring back 100% of their pre-closure staff. 
The data shows Japanese operators have the highest percentage of operators reporting a return to 100% of their pre-closure membership levels, while 65% of operators in Australia/New Zealand and 62% of Asian operators report at least 76% of members have returned. 88% of operators in Japan forecast their 2020 revenues will be 100% of prior year, followed by 62% of operators in Asia, and 54% of Australian/New Zealand operators.
• Approximately 70% report adopting video-on-demand (VOD) for group fitness and 52% for fitness instruction and coaching.

In compiling the study ClubIntel undertook an online survey of fitness operators around the globe. The study was administered and managed by ClubIntel, with distribution assistance from over 20 individual and organisational partners including Active Management, Exercise Association of New Zealand (ExerciseNZ), Fitness Australia and the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).

Click here to access the report.

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