by Kristen Walsh, IHRSA Associate Publisher
The global health club industry continued to grow in 2016, according to The 2017 IHRSA Global Report, which was published in May. Total industry revenue reached an estimated $83.1 billion, as roughly 200,000 clubs served 162 million members worldwide. Leading markets in North America and Europe continued to grow, while markets in Latin America posted strong performance.
In the U.S., revenue, membership and the total number of clubs all rose from 2015 to 2016. Revenue increased from $25.8 billion in 2015 to $27.6 billion in 2016, while membership improved from 55.1 million to 57.2 million over the same period. The U.S. club count grew slightly, from 36,180 locations to 36,540 sites.
The IHRSA Canadian Health Club Report indicates that club operators serve nearly 6 million members at roughly 6,000 facilities in Canada. IBISWorld, an independent industry research firm, projects that revenue from gyms and health clubs in Canada will increase through 2019. Consumer demand for health and fitness programs to help address obesity, active aging, proper nutrition, and sports performance will help drive industry growth.
Leading markets continue to perform well in Latin America. Based on data gathered in the recently updated IHRSA Latin American Report (Second Edition), Brazil is second only to the U.S. among global fitness markets, with 34,509 health clubs. More than 9 million Brazilians are members of a health club. In all, 18 markets in Latin America attract nearly 20 million consumers to more than 65,000 health clubs. Opportunities for growth remain in Latin America as member penetration rates remain low in comparison with developed health club markets worldwide.
In spite of a weakening Euro and challenges in the political landscape, the fitness industry in Europe continues its robust performance. The European health club market serves more than 56 million members as nearly 55,000 health clubs generate $29 billion in revenue. The UK and Germany continue to lead all markets in Europe. In the UK, based on research by LeisureDB, 9.7 million members belong to a health club, up from 9.3 million a year ago. Approximately 6,728 facilities in the UK generate a collective $6.1 billion in industry revenue. Germany attracts more than 10 million members to 8,600 facilities and generates $5.6 billion in revenue.
According to The European Health & Fitness Market Report, Europe has strong prospects for growth considering not only the mature, solid markets in Western Europe, but also the potential in Eastern European markets such as Russia, Turkey and Poland. The penetration rates in these three markets are among the lowest in Europe, signifying potential for growth.
The Asia-Pacific serves 17 million members at 31,000 health clubs in 14 markets (excluding the Middle East). Health club industry revenue totals $14.4 billion in this region.
The IHRSA Asia-Pacific Health Club Report shows there is room for growth in the Asia-Pacific as the average member penetration rate for the region is just 3.8%. Australia and New Zealand lead all Asia-Pacific markets in penetration rate at 14.8% and 11.4%, respectively. Larger cities in Asia, including Beijing, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta, are home to
maturing industries, while future growth is anticipated in growing cities as well as the Asia-Pacific, overall.
Namely, opportunities for the fitness industry abound in the global economic powerhouses of China and India, which have penetration rates of 0.4% and 0.12%, respectively. China is home to roughly 2,700 health clubs with a total of 3.9 million members. The health club industry in India has roughly 3,800 health club facilities and nearly one million members.
Middle East & North Africa (MENA)
Based on findings gathered by The FACTS Academy, industry experts based in Egypt, approximately 3.4 million members utilize 5,600 health clubs in 10 markets in the Middle East and North Africa. These 10 markets collectively generate roughly $2 billion in industry revenue. Saudi Arabia leads all markets in this region in revenue with nearly $620 million generated at 1,100 health clubs, which attract more than 800,000 members. In terms of club count and memberships, Egypt leads all MENA markets with 1,680 facilities and 957,500 members.
Despite conflicts in several MENA countries, there is a demand for fitness as consumers seek to exercise and reap the benefits of an active lifestyle. Successful international fitness operators, including Fitness First, Gold’s Gym, and World’s Gym, have expanded into the Middle East. In less than 10 years, Fitness Time, based in Saudi Arabia, grew to 100 club locations, highlighting the opportunity in this region.
The outlook of the health club industry is bright and promising. As leading economies continue to improve, the industry is expected to thrive in the global marketplace, serving consumers with a variety of health and fitness needs. Offering access to fitness amenities, instructors, personal trainers, and coaches, club operators are well-positioned to lead a healthier world.
Visit ihrsa.org/research-reports to access any of the reports cited in this article.
Founded in 1981, IHRSA – the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association – is the industry’s global trade association, representing more than 10,000 health and fitness facilities and suppliers worldwide. Locate an IHRSA club at www.healthclubs.com To learn how IHRSA can help your business thrive, visit www.ihrsa.org.