In the last decade, popular gyms in the U.S. have seen significant growth. But is it due to a sudden ambitious surge towards fitness? Or have gyms become more in tune with the real intentions of their potential members?
Every January, a whole new flurry of New Year’s Resolution memes and jokes circulate the internet, so how is your local gym actually responding to new members (and current ones)?
Here are 41 surprising gym membership facts and fitness statistics that are shaping the health industry.
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Gyms in January (New Year’s Membership Statistics)
- 12% of all new gym memberships occur in January (IHRSA)
- According to a 2012 study, 80% of gym members that join in January quit within 5 months (CouponCabin)
- 4% of new members joining due to New Year’s resolutions quit by the end of January (CouponCabin)
- 14% of New Year’s resolutioners quit by the end of February (CouponCabin)
- 56% of current gym members don’t like New Year’s resolutioners according to complaints from current members (CouponCabin)
As you can see, January is notoriously the busiest time of the year for not only gym owners, but personal trainers, supplement companies, and other individuals and facilities that operate in the fitness industry.
Unfortunately, you can’t count on members who join early in the year to actually follow through with their goals and show up consistently since they drop out within only a few months of joining.
And the last fitness statistic in this group shouldn’t be a real surprise since dedicated gym members who go more consistently are suddenly waiting in lines for machines and wondering where all the clean towels went in the locker room.
If you’re a current member, try to change up your schedule and go to the gym outside of peak operating hours which is typically much earlier in the day or just before closing.
And if you’re a noob, the best time of year to join a gym is typically near the end of the summer.
But if you want to get started earlier in the year, try to hold off until the end of February (or even March) to avoid the influx and receive more personalized attention from the staff.
Gym Member Retention Statistics
- 50% of all new gym members quit going within 6 months (IHRSA)
- 50% of gym members say they stick with it because of location (MSISE)
- 46% of ex gym members claimed the reason they quit was due to cost (IHRSA)
- 38% of gym members stick with a gym because they prefer the equipment (MSISE)
Looking at these statistics, it’s shocking that given the high volume of new memberships attained in January thru March, about 50% of those individuals will stop visiting the gym after 6 months of joining. Since inconvenient locations appear to be one of the main dropout causes, it may be in the best interest of new gym owners to consider proximity to their target market more or as important than other decisions when establishing a facility.
Additionally, owners need to be intimately connected with the needs and wants of their market. Since membership cost and quality equipment are also strong factors that affect retention, a gym should consider creative sale promotions, ways to inflate the perceived value of their memberships, and focus on regular equipment maintenance to keep their clients happy.
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Gym Gender Statistics
When it comes to gender statistics, men and women join the gym at about the same rate, but men are more likely to form an interest and stick with it. According to survey data by Coupon Cabin, of all new members who joined, 14% of women and 8% of men quit going within a year. Data provided by the Centers for Disease Control reveals that 49% of women ages 18 and older meet levels of recommended aerobic activity, versus 57% of men.
Gym Member Statistics that Reveal Visit Frequency (And Why)
- According to the attendance rate of 2011 members, about 50% of them visited the gym at least 100 times over the entire year (IHRSA)
- 18% of gym members use their membership consistently (IHRSA)
- In a comparison of members who paid $40 per month or $10 for every gym visit, the members who paid per visit went more often (Vigna & Malmendier Study)
- Members who made less than about $22,872 a year use the gym less than one hour per week and those who made more, use the gym for about three hours per week (Nuffield Health)
- 13% of surveyed members said they went to the gym when they actually didn’t (Kettler)
The fitness industry market research in this section is a little more optimistic since you can see that half of all members who actually go to the gym (even though it’s low) make it almost twice per week.
If your goal is to build muscle like a superhero or get shredded like a fitness model, two workouts per week makes for a slow pace. A better frequency for strength training requires that you hit the gym 3-4 times per week to create your own muscular transformation.
What’s particularly interesting is the correlation between payment frequency and attendance since that infers members are really trying to “get their money’s worth” if they’re paying more often.
And that last statistic about lying should have made you chuckle and wag your finger in disapproval. Results speak for themselves, so in the long run, they’re not fooling anybody.
Gym Membership Statistics on Consistency
62.5 Million People Have Gym Memberships
Over 62.5 million gym members visit a fitness or health club at least 104 days each year. Alternatively, about 9 million gym-goers without memberships visit the gym 24 days per year on average. Only about 18% of all members visit their gym or health club on a consistent basis. Where do you fall in these statistics?
What Time Do Most People Go to the Gym?
Most people go to the gym right before going to the office and after getting out of work. This puts the peak times between 8AM and 10AM and then between 4PM and 7PM. College gyms are typically busier in just the evening since most students struggle to get up earlier.
Gym Attendance by Month
Gym attendance has generally been an issue for owners since the establishment of commercial health clubs. We can see this trend represented in 2001 data reported by the Fitness Industry Association in “Winning the retention battle”.
We can obviously conclude that as time goes on, attendance declines. At the end of the first month, only 28.7% of new members will have attended less than once per week. However, this portion increases to over 40% by the six month mark.
The portion of members that visit the gym 12 or more times per month declines from 20.9% in month one to 13.4% in month six. But the drop isn’t as steep when comparing the delta between the two groups. The group that attends < 4 times increases by 15% while the group that attends more than 12 times decreases by only 7.5%.
This delta comparison tells us that members who visit the gym more often earlier in their membership are more likely to continue visiting the gym six months later. So if you’re considering going to the gym, start strong, make a schedule, and keep yourself accountable to each session. If you’re a club owner that wants to increase attendance, try focusing more energy and resources on engaging new members and drawing them back into the facilities in the first few weeks of joining.
Money Being Thrown at Gyms, Memberships, and the Fitness Industry
- As of 2018, the average gym membership in the U.S. costs $58 per month (Statistic Brain)
- The U.S. fitness, gym, and health club market is valued at over $33 billion (ISBIS World)
- Millennials spend close to $112,000 on fitness purchases over their entire lifetime which equates to monthly costs of $33 on gym memberships, $56 on health supplements, $35 on clothing and accessories, $17 on meal plans, and $14 on trainers (MyProtein)
Average Monthly Gym Membership Cost
The average gym membership cost per month is about $58.
This further supports the competitive pricing strategy of Planet Fitness memberships at only $10/month as opposed to a premium Equinox membership which can be as high as $250/month (not to mention the $300 initiation fees).
But it’s not like us millennials won’t pony up the dough as you can see.
Heck, I actually built my own home gym complete with a power rack, barbell, plates, dumbbells, and thick horse stall mats to protect my floor so I know what it means to invest. Plus, there’s been a rise in the investment in personal education like an Athlean-X or a Kinobody fitness program for example.
Fitness & Workout Stats (Why Do People Go to the Gym?)
- 12.5% of gym members work with a personal trainer (IHRSA)
- 44% of gym members workout with a partner (IHRSA)
- 40% of members enroll in some sort of group exercise like Zumba, yoga, spinning, or kickboxing (IHRSA)
- 30% of members claim they never break a sweat during their visit because they’re too busy chatting with other members (Kettler)
- 50% of gym goers claim they go to the gym just to check out the opposite sex (Kettler)
- The most common gym activity is walking (IHRSA)
- The 2 most popular pieces of fitness equipment are treadmills and strength training machines (IHRSA)
What this group of stats reveals is that most members go to the gym to take advantage of the social aspect. Whether it’s getting 1-on-1 guidance with a personal trainer, attending a class, or just chatting up other members, interacting with individuals that share similar values and goals is good for accountability.
Now, scoping out dates and holding town hall meetings in the squat rack might be great for your social life, but your actual fitness results are most likely going to be sub-par over the long term.
Fitness Demographics and Psychographics
- According to 2010 data, the average gym-goer is a little over 40 years old but the age range is 25-60 years old (IHRSA)
- 3.2% of adults get at least 30 min of moderate-intensity exercise 5 days per week (National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey)
- The average annual income of a gym member is $75,000 (IHRSA)
- People who go to the gym are more likely to indulge in chocolate bars than people who don’t (Market Research World)
- 10.5% of gym members live with someone they met at the gym (Nuffield Health)
- The goal of 90% of gym goers is to “lose belly fat” (IHRSA)
A few different things can be learned from these statistics on who actually goes to the gym.
First of all, it’s no surprise that the vast majority of gym members have a goal to get slimmer with the staggering obesity statistics in the U.S. And I sense a bit of entitlement from the research produced by Market Research World when members are more likely to have chocolate than those who don’t. (Maybe they think they earned it more.)
But the statistics on age and income appear to coincide since generally as a person grows older and gains more experience in their career, they tend to earn more money, and direct more focus on their health.
How Many People Have Gym Memberships?
You may think that everyone you know has a gym membership, but that’s not what the stats suggest. Approximately 45 million adults in the United States (about 14% of the population) are members of a gym, and 4.5 million adults in the UK (about 7% of the population) have memberships.
What Percentage of Gym Memberships Go Unused?
According to data from the IHRSA, about 80% of gym memberships go unused. Data collected by a survey of over 5,300 U.S. gym members conducted by Statistic Brain found this percentage to be closer to 60% with 82% of all members visiting the gym less than once a week.
How Many People Work Out?
According to the CDC, only 23% of U.S. citizens get enough recommended exercise. The Federal physical activity guidelines recommend approximately 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.
Gym Facility Facts & Statistics (And How They Treat Their Members)
- As of 2014, the 5 most popular gyms in America are Planet Fitness, Snap Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Life Time Fitness, and Any Time Fitness (The Richest)
- Commercial gyms need about 10x the members their facilities can actually handle to be profitable (Men’s Journal)
- Planet Fitness members eat more than 7 million slices of free pizza served at their facilities each year (Shape)
- Colorado has the highest gym participation rate at 21% (IHRSA)
- Alabama had the lowest gym participation rate at 10.2% (IHRSA)
What’s most troubling about these statistics is the fact that gyms actually count on most of their members to not show up so their facility doesn’t experience overflow.
That obviously isn’t a problem since 80% of gym memberships are never used.
And further supporting the social aspect of more casual gyms and their members, you can see that Planet Fitness doesn’t even shy away from feeding their patrons which occurs on a monthly basis.
Finally, it’s interesting to see that over 20% of memberships are actually being used in Colorado whereas that number is cut in half in Alabama.
How Many Gyms are in the U.S.?
According to Statista, the United States has more gyms and fitness centers in the world. The number of gyms in the U.S. was 38,477 in 2017 and there were 36,180 health clubs in 2015.
How Many Members Does the Average Gym Have?
The average gym franchise location typically has 1000-10,000 members, but you don’t see these people because 80% of the memberships go unused. Gyms knowingly sell memberships exceeding their club’s physical capacity to take advantage of this trend. According to Planet Money, Planet Fitness sells about 6,500 memberships per gym, but each facility only has the capacity to accommodate 300 people at once. Similarly, Gold’s Gym has somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 members per location and they can only handle 300-500 people at once.
How Many Members Does a Small Gym Have?
Small gyms typically have 100-500 members and operate in under 4,000 square feet. Gyms of this size are called “boutique gyms” since their brands thrive on only one or two specific services that they provide like yoga or spin classes. Small gyms often charge premium prices to justify giving more individualized attention to members.
Fitness Industry Stats Worldwide
Most of the fitness facts reported so far have pertained to the United States. In this section, we’ll take a look at some gym statistics for other countries and city states.
Australia Gym Membership Statistics
- 2019 figures estimate 3,400+ gyms and fitness centers in the country.
- The establishment of more 24-hour clubs is partly responsible for the industry growth.
- Approximately 20% of gyms are concerned with the increase in market competition.
- In 2014, Fitness First was Australia’s fitness center market share leader with 70 clubs.
- Australians between ages 25-34 use gyms the most.
Canada Gym Membership & Fitness Statistics
- In 2017, the annual revenue of the Canadian Fitness Club Industry was approximately $3 billion.
- Canada’s Fitness Club Industry employs 54,731 people across 6,325 businesses.
- In 2016, the annual revenue of the exercise equipment industry was $843 million.
- 2019 data shows annual revenue in the fitness segment for apps and wearables at $266 million.
- This number is projected to increase by 6.1% by 2023.
Ireland Gym Membership Statistics
- According to 2018 data, 500,000 people attend 710 health and fitness clubs across the country.
- Each club has about 710 members.
- Ireland has many lower member to club ratios because roughly 80% of health clubs are independently owned.
- The top 10 operators account for 12% of all clubs and 20% of all members.
- The leading club in terms of totals is Club Vitale.
Singapore Gym Membership & Fitness Statistics
- In 2017, approximately 2.48 million people attended a gym in Singapore.
- 2019 data shows annual revenue in the fitness segment for apps and wearables at $21 million.
- Apps and wearables revenue is expected to increase by 8.3% by 2023.
- Average gym membership cost for big chain gyms is about S$132.67.
- The average cost for boutique gyms is S$244.73.
UK Gym Membership Statistics
- The gym market value is over £5 billion in the UK.
- There are over 7,000 gyms.
- The 2018 UK Fitness Industry Report revealed that Pure Gym and GLL lead in terms of gym market share.
- Nationwide, there are almost 10 million gym members.
- The penetration rate in the UK is 14.9%. So 1 out of every 7 people has a gym membership.
Fitness Industry & Gym Membership Statistics Conclusion
Based on the U.S. statistics, it’s fair to conclude that the vast majority of people who go to the gym are casual fitness enthusiasts that go mainly just to “hang out”.
Obviously, that’s not what we encourage here at Noob Gains because we actually want our visitors to follow programs that get results.
But… the most popular gym franchises completely understand this, expect it, and attempt to capitalize on it with more cardio equipment, seasonal deals to get more people in the door, and even complimentary refreshments.
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