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Fitness Industry Research Shows that Members Expect Hybrid Workout Models

Based on key findings from the 2021 Fitness Consumer Report.

What trends did our fitness industry research reveal?

Examining the workout habits of thousands of Americans during the pandemic and the return to normal, the IHRSA Foundation, a charitable organization that promotes health through exercise, and ABC Fitness Solutions have produced The Next Fitness Consumer report, a comprehensive analysis of fitness industry research. Canvassing the views of over 2,000 consumers, the research outlines the drivers of consumer behavior, their key motivators, and how club operators must adapt to survive in an industry that has witnessed its most significant paradigm shift in living memory.

The comprehensive survey shows how, where, and when people are working out has fundamentally changed, leading gym operators to explore new hybrid services and pricing models to continue to engage customers. It also reveals a dynamic shift in people’s motivation to stay fit. Post-pandemic goals are is less about having a solid physique and more about achieving a holistic approach to physical exercise and mental well-being.

woman takes virtual fitness class at hom

Among other facts, the survey shows:

  • Gyms are not just for the young; in fact, Americans are growing more active as they age, 80% of those ages 66+ are active
  • Workout frequency has increased post-pandemic
  • 37% of consumers use at-home fitness equipment
  • 49% have purchased at-home equipment (10% have spent more than $1000)
  • 29% of people now use free online fitness classes, a growth of 15% during the pandemic
  • 49% state they plan to rejoin big box gym chains within the next six to twelve months
  • 40% of current gym members have joined in the past year

What does this mean going forward?

Throughout the pandemic, ABC, which provides management software solutions to more than 16,000 clubs in over 30 countries, has been closely monitoring both consumer behavior and how club and fitness facilities have adapted to the pandemic. These insights continue to inform the development of new solutions to help all stakeholders adapt to the new normal.

“This report gave us timely insight about what the future of fitness holds for the industry,” said Bill Davis, CEO of ABC Fitness Solutions. “As consumers look for more choices to create their fitness journey, they want a variety in equipment, programming, and facilities. Four out of the five most relevant modalities are features in gyms and fitness clubs, making them well-positioned for growth across multiple segments and demographics.”