September 27, 2022 – News
Gym traffic is higher now than before the pandemic started. But it’s not business as usual.
After a false start last year, 2022 marked a clear turning point for in-person fitness. As peak COVID restrictions lifted and connected equipment sales stalled, brick-and-mortar operators welcomed the gym faithful back.
Seemingly back on track, Planet Fitness and Life Time rode new membership sales to consecutive profitable quarters. Following suit, packed classes at Xponential Fitness, F45 Training, and Orangetheory Fitness supported a US boutique studio category expected to reach $22.1B this year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
But, increased traffic in the club doesn’t tell the full story of how Americans are exercising… if at all.
Looking closer at the data, IRL participation and frequency are headed in opposite directions as at-home exercise remains popular.
Why it matters: Both the weight room and the living room are effective conduits for better health, depending on the person. Gym purists would never drop a membership and at-home evangelists swear off ever returning, but the vast majority of exercisers fall in between.
While community drives the experience, convenience and flexibility are powerful factors busy, anxious, and unmotivated people will likely never give up again.
Takeaway: By 2025, the global fitness and exercise market will surpass $1.2T, all while 75% of Americans fail to meet physical activity standards and one-fifth are completely inactive. The winning solution, for society’s sake, isn’t a “here or there” argument — it’s what can convince the most people about all of the above.
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