Australia ranked number seven (out of 169) on the list of the healthiest countries on earth in 2019. So saying that Aussies also flock to gyms like Anytime Fitness, Fitness First, and Goodlife Health Clubs by the millions isn’t some “big reveal.”
But this is. Learn more about Australia’s gym & fitness club market with these 13 statistics.
Gym Membership Is Growing In Recent Years
- In 2005–06, 12.6% of Aussies participated in gym or fitness activities. That number climbed to 17.1% by 2011–12 and a slightly higher 17.4% in 2013–14.
- Most Australian gym memberships belonged to privately owned clubs or franchise clubs in 2016.
- A quarter of Aussie gym members (24.8%) attended 24-hour gyms, although only 5% chose their club based on this perk.
- Just over 15% of Australians held gym memberships in 2020.
- The average Australian gym had 1,004 members in 2020.
Let’s Put These Numbers Into Perspective
Half of them — or 3.1 million — visited less than once a week, and just north of 1.5 million were members of 24-hour gyms.
Those numbers aren’t too shabby until you compare them to other Aussie health facts.
Like the fact that Aussies were twice as likely to be overweight or obese (12.5 million) than gym members. A third as many total gym members have heart disease, and another third (yes, there’s probably some overlap) have diabetes.
Americans aren’t much better, though. Our gym membership rates stood at about a quarter of the population in 2019, while 6.3% of us let our club perks go to waste.
Plus, the real statistics prove that Australia doesn’t even crack the top ten on the list of the countries with the most total gym memberships. (The U.S., Germany, the U.K., Brazil, and France lead the pack there.)
Australia’s Most Popular Gym Franchises & Clubs
- Fitness First memberships provide nearly unlimited access to its 60+ 24/7 Australia clubs, which host group fitness classes, on-site personal training, and PlayZone facilities for children.
- Goodlife Health Clubs proudly touts more than 270,000 members, 80 clubs, boxing and HIIT classes, and a comforting 7-day-money-back-guarantee.
- Anytime Fitness is a global fitness brand with a wide selection of training perks, from treadmills and lateral X trainers to Zumba classes and spin sessions.
- F45 Training thrives on the concept of functional fitness and specializes in group classes, HIIT sessions to maximize calorie burn, and traditional 45-minute training to torch 750 calories.
- Crunch Fitness is yet another international health brand and the most popular Planet Fitness alternative for those who don’t buy into the anti-deadlift, squat, and bench craze — affordable, with group classes and a sea of weightlifting equipment.
The average Aussie spends $95 per month on gym memberships — or $70.51 U.S. dollars and about $28.26 more than a health club membership in the States.
Which Fitness Activities Do Australians Enjoy Most?
The Aussies skate by as “moderately active.” An AusPlay survey from the mid-2010s uncovered the most popular sports and fitness activities Down Under:
- Fitness & gym
- Football (soccer)
Australians are also active more days than not. In fact, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 73.4% of young adults exercised for the prescribed 150+ minutes per week in 2020–21, while only 23% of Americans could say the same in 2018.
Who Is More Likely to Have a Gym Membership?
- Australian women were much more likely to be fitness club members and participate in athletic activities than men in 2016 (1.875 million vs. 1.448 million).
- In Australia, the 18–34-year-old age group is most likely to visit the gym, while the 55-and-up group is least likely to attend.
- Nearly two million (1.8 million) Aussies aged 25–35 visited fitness clubs in 2020, with the 55–64 and <18 age groups reporting the lowest turn-out.
- The Australian fitness industry exploded in 2021, thanks to the surge in interest in functional fitness, which attracted members who were wealthy or low on time.
The Age & Gender Physical Fitness Trends
Plot twist — Aussie youths are actually among the most inactive kids in the world, with nine in ten teens failing to meet the physical activity guidelines. But despite all that, the younger crowd and men fare the best on the fitness front Down Under.
Half of the Aussie men (or 59%) are “sufficiently active,” with activity levels subtly dropping between the 18–24 age groups and the 65+ crowd. Research from 2016 also suggests that Australian boys — who were 19% more active than girls — felt more encouraged at home to remain fit.
Young Aussie adults rank inspiration to improve their physical fitness (75%) and fun (53%) as their top two reasons to train. Meanwhile, the most common excuses for avoiding exercise in the 18–24 age group were a lack of time (37%), poor health (12%), and flat-out laziness (11%).
How Often Do Aussies Use Their Gym Memberships?
Not often enough, according to some reports. Finder revealed that fewer than half of Aussies with gym memberships visit their fitness club once a week (or more), totaling a loss of $2.4 billion per year in wasted gym memberships.
Those that do hit Aussie gyms prefer weights (34%), cardio (28%), and group fitness classes (15%), while nearly half of gym members (42%) train 3–5 times per week. Another 22% swipe into their health club twice per week, and 19% exercise at the gym 5–6 times weekly.
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COVID-19 Impacts On Gym Memberships and the Fitness Industry
- While 30% of Aussies held gym memberships pre-COVID-19, just 27% visited their chosen club less than once per week.
- By 2021, 53% of Aussies surveyed returned to their health clubs, and just 15.2% canceled their memberships during the pandemic.
- Another survey of the Australian fitness industry discovered that 42% of gym attendees canceled their memberships (or at least considered it).
- Experts predicted the Australian fitness industry would nosedive by 5.8% — at the mercy of COVID-19 — between 2020 and 2021.
Exercise Trends In the COVID-19 Era
The Coronavirus pandemic was the buzzkill of the century in every possible way, but how exactly did it impact Australia’s fitness habits? A study published in BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation in March of 2022 analyzed just that.
Here’s what researchers labeled the biggest winners and losers of COVID-19:
- The typical Aussie participated in 3.6 sports or fitness activities.
- Women were slightly more likely to participate in athletics during the pandemic.
- Men were more likely to shorten and decrease their exercise sessions.
- Bowls, cricket, swimming, and netball saw the greatest declines in participation.
- Jogging, walking, yoga, bushwalking, and cycling spiked in popularity during COVID-19.
- Metro areas boosted their jogging, walking, and yoga participation, while non-metro areas took up boxing, bushwalking, and cycling.
Daily step counts across Australia also sunk by 4.7–7.0% between the first COVID-19 cases and lockdown. However, the near-10,000-step-per-day average quickly recovered a few months later when the government lifted lockdowns, reviving Australia’s typical activity levels.
Did COVID-19 Ravage the Australian Fitness Industry?
The COVID-19 pandemic left many Aussie gym owners feeling hopeless. Even after lockdowns were lifted, a quarter of Australians had yet to return to their regular fitness routines, fitness spending dropped by 39%, and 60% intended to follow virtual workouts moving forward.
The seemingly endless pandemic also forced 81% of Aussie fitness professionals to sacrifice their primary source of income, and 71% were clientless between March and May 2020.
Yet, COVID-19 also didn’t completely obliterate the Australian leg of the fitness industry. Seventy-one percent of Australians still prefer in-person workouts, and 52.8% of gym members returned to their home clubs by August 2020.
While the Coronavirus pandemic temporarily devastated Australia’s fitness industry, it’s also recovering nearly as quickly as it collapsed.
What Percentage Of People Go to the Gym In Australia?
Of the 15.3% of Australians with active gym memberships, only one in five visit their fitness clubs less than once a month. Just 50% of Australia’s gym members attend their fitness club at least once a week to work out.
Is the Gym Industry Growing In Australia?
Australia’s gym industry is on a steady decline, reporting market losses of about 5.5% per year between 2017 and 2022. Post-COVID-19, financial experts predict the Australian arm of the gym industry will rebound.
Australia’s fitness and gym club market is about level with the U.S. — plenty of opportunities, but very few who take advantage of their resources. However, gym memberships aren’t the only way to measure how active a nation is.
Training at home, logging 10,000 steps per day, or pursuing a job with heavy manual labor are all alternative methods for staying active without spending $95/month on a gym membership.
All that matters is you’re staying fit!
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