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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Industry research: Boutique boom

The boutique studio market continues to grow and evolve, as the latest Association of Fitness Studios report shows. Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson report

Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 1
A huge 63 per cent of revenue is spent on staffing fitness studios
A huge 63 per cent of revenue is spent on staffing fitness studios

Over the last few years, boutique fitness studios have emerged as a disruptive force in shaping the delivery of fitness around the globe. In the US alone, there are approximately 100,000 fitness studios – three times the number of traditional commercial fitness facilities (source: Association of Fitness Studios – AFS).

To further advance the story of how fitness studios are changing the industry’s landscape, data generated by IHRSA’s 2016 Health Club Consumer Report indicates that, in 2015, consumers spent approximately US$4bn more on fitness studio privileges than on membership to traditional commercial fitness facilities.

Further insight is provided by the AFS’ Fitness Studio Financial and Operating Benchmarking Report, now in its second year. Produced in co-operation with ClubIntel, the report offers a snapshot of this growing segment of the market.

KEEPING IT PERSONAL
While barre studios (such as Pure Barre and Bar Method), cycling studios (including Boom Cycle and SoulCycle) and HIIT studios (such as Orangetheory and 1Rebel) receive a tremendous amount of press, they remain in the minority among studios. Personal training and small group training studios are the most prominent studio type; just over 40 per cent of studio operators report operating this type of studio.

DIVERSIFIED OFFER
The percentage of fitness studios focused on delivering a singular, specialist experience is giving way to more multi-disciplined experiences – i.e. sites are increasingly offering at least two different programming formats such as cycling and yoga, cycling and HIIT, HIIT and yoga or personal training and barre.

Approximately 30 per cent of studios in this year’s study said they specialise in two or more modalities or offerings.

RETURN OF SUBS
Fitness studios appear to be shifting from pay-as-you-go to a subscription model.

When the fitness studio segment first burst onto the scene, one of the novel aspects of the business model was its variety of flexible, pay-as-you-go packages. The founders of the studio boom focused on providing transparent, simple and convenient options to take part (single drop-in rates, five-class packs, 20-packs and so on).

But the 2015 data shows a shift toward a membership model – i.e. payment of a monthly fee for unlimited access to the studio’s services. In fact, 71 per cent of studios now offer a membership option of at least one month’s duration.

Membership encompasses a range of options, from unlimited group exercise classes to unlimited small group training, or indeed a combination of unlimited small group training with a limited number of personal training sessions.

This directional shift – while affording studios an additional means of generating value for consumers – could misfire with many fitness consumers by limiting the flexibility associated with the pay-as-you-go approach.

RETENTION LEVELS
Fitness studios are more effective at retaining clients than their counterparts in the traditional fitness industry. The average attrition level for fitness studios in 2015 was 24 per cent. Within that, personal training/small group training studios reported attrition levels of 20 per cent, compared to group exercise-orientated studios (such as barre, cycling, HIIT and yoga) that had attrition levels of 27 per cent.

EBITDA EFFICIENCY
The average EBITDA margin for studios in 2015 was 24 per cent, compared to a range of 16 – 20 per cent for traditional health and fitness clubs (data from IHRSA’s 2015 Profiles of Success).

Studios under 2,000sq ft and those measuring 5,001– 10,000sq ft were the most efficient, with EBITDA margins of 37 per cent and 34 per cent respectively.

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
A small footprint is associated with greater revenue productivity and earnings efficiency.

Studios measuring less than 2,000sq ft generate revenue of US$104 per square foot and EBITDA of US$38 per square foot. Studios between 2,001sq ft and 5,000sq ft generate revenue of US$104 per square foot and EBITDA of US$23 per square foot.

The data shows these smaller studios combine excellent revenue productivity with lower staffing costs, lower rental costs and lower investment and reinvestment costs. These smaller studios have a powerful blend of attributes that all speak to their capacity for greater profitability.

CLEAR WINNERS
Studios in the top quartile significantly outperform the industry average in terms of revenue per square foot, generating US$189 per square foot compared to the industry average of US$77, and EBITDA of US$38 per square foot compared to the industry average of US$18.

PRICE OF PEOPLE
Staff and rent represent the two largest costs for studios. The average studio spends 63 per cent of revenue on staffing and 21 per cent of revenues on rent.

Interestingly, though, the top quartile of fitness studio operators spend 51 per cent of revenues on staff and 13 per cent on rent – another indication of what drives best-in-class performance.

ACTIVE INVESTMENT
In 2015, the average fitness studio spent US$9,500 investing in new equipment and US$23,000 reinvesting in the facility. This represents 11 per cent of average studio revenues.
While these numbers represent industry averages, they demonstrate a strong commitment by studios to reinvesting in the capital assets of the business.

LOW SET-UP COSTS
Fitness studios have a low capital barrier to entry and are asset light. The average fitness studio invested a total of US$166,000 to open its business. This cost represents the total capital investment, including hard costs such as tenant improvements and equipment, along with pre-opening expenses.

When viewed by studio type, studios that are group exercise-driven spent approximately US$208,000 to launch their businesses, while personal training/small group-driven studios spent approximately US$117,000.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Metrics related to net client growth, operating efficiency and revenue productivity of studios all point to a sector outperforming its larger, more established competitors in the traditional fitness sector.

As studio operators evolve to leverage their competitive strengths, this sector will be well positioned to capture a larger share of fitness consumer spend.

About the authors

Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson
Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson

Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson are co-founders of brand insights firm ClubIntel.

www.club-intel.com

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
PT and SGT studios dominate, while barre, cycling and HIIT studios remain in the minority
PT and SGT studios dominate, while barre, cycling and HIIT studios remain in the minority
The boutique sector is outperforming the more established, traditional clubs
The boutique sector is outperforming the more established, traditional clubs
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/324922_536568.jpg
A new study assesses the trends in the ever-evolving boutique segment
Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson co-founders of brand insights firm ClubIntel,Stephen Tharrett, Mark Williamson, ClubIntel, Association of Fitness Studios, IHRSA, 2016 Health Club Consumer Report, Fitness Studio Financial and Operating Benchmarking Report, SoulCycle, Pure Barre,
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features

Industry research: Boutique boom

The boutique studio market continues to grow and evolve, as the latest Association of Fitness Studios report shows. Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson report

Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 1
A huge 63 per cent of revenue is spent on staffing fitness studios
A huge 63 per cent of revenue is spent on staffing fitness studios

Over the last few years, boutique fitness studios have emerged as a disruptive force in shaping the delivery of fitness around the globe. In the US alone, there are approximately 100,000 fitness studios – three times the number of traditional commercial fitness facilities (source: Association of Fitness Studios – AFS).

To further advance the story of how fitness studios are changing the industry’s landscape, data generated by IHRSA’s 2016 Health Club Consumer Report indicates that, in 2015, consumers spent approximately US$4bn more on fitness studio privileges than on membership to traditional commercial fitness facilities.

Further insight is provided by the AFS’ Fitness Studio Financial and Operating Benchmarking Report, now in its second year. Produced in co-operation with ClubIntel, the report offers a snapshot of this growing segment of the market.

KEEPING IT PERSONAL
While barre studios (such as Pure Barre and Bar Method), cycling studios (including Boom Cycle and SoulCycle) and HIIT studios (such as Orangetheory and 1Rebel) receive a tremendous amount of press, they remain in the minority among studios. Personal training and small group training studios are the most prominent studio type; just over 40 per cent of studio operators report operating this type of studio.

DIVERSIFIED OFFER
The percentage of fitness studios focused on delivering a singular, specialist experience is giving way to more multi-disciplined experiences – i.e. sites are increasingly offering at least two different programming formats such as cycling and yoga, cycling and HIIT, HIIT and yoga or personal training and barre.

Approximately 30 per cent of studios in this year’s study said they specialise in two or more modalities or offerings.

RETURN OF SUBS
Fitness studios appear to be shifting from pay-as-you-go to a subscription model.

When the fitness studio segment first burst onto the scene, one of the novel aspects of the business model was its variety of flexible, pay-as-you-go packages. The founders of the studio boom focused on providing transparent, simple and convenient options to take part (single drop-in rates, five-class packs, 20-packs and so on).

But the 2015 data shows a shift toward a membership model – i.e. payment of a monthly fee for unlimited access to the studio’s services. In fact, 71 per cent of studios now offer a membership option of at least one month’s duration.

Membership encompasses a range of options, from unlimited group exercise classes to unlimited small group training, or indeed a combination of unlimited small group training with a limited number of personal training sessions.

This directional shift – while affording studios an additional means of generating value for consumers – could misfire with many fitness consumers by limiting the flexibility associated with the pay-as-you-go approach.

RETENTION LEVELS
Fitness studios are more effective at retaining clients than their counterparts in the traditional fitness industry. The average attrition level for fitness studios in 2015 was 24 per cent. Within that, personal training/small group training studios reported attrition levels of 20 per cent, compared to group exercise-orientated studios (such as barre, cycling, HIIT and yoga) that had attrition levels of 27 per cent.

EBITDA EFFICIENCY
The average EBITDA margin for studios in 2015 was 24 per cent, compared to a range of 16 – 20 per cent for traditional health and fitness clubs (data from IHRSA’s 2015 Profiles of Success).

Studios under 2,000sq ft and those measuring 5,001– 10,000sq ft were the most efficient, with EBITDA margins of 37 per cent and 34 per cent respectively.

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
A small footprint is associated with greater revenue productivity and earnings efficiency.

Studios measuring less than 2,000sq ft generate revenue of US$104 per square foot and EBITDA of US$38 per square foot. Studios between 2,001sq ft and 5,000sq ft generate revenue of US$104 per square foot and EBITDA of US$23 per square foot.

The data shows these smaller studios combine excellent revenue productivity with lower staffing costs, lower rental costs and lower investment and reinvestment costs. These smaller studios have a powerful blend of attributes that all speak to their capacity for greater profitability.

CLEAR WINNERS
Studios in the top quartile significantly outperform the industry average in terms of revenue per square foot, generating US$189 per square foot compared to the industry average of US$77, and EBITDA of US$38 per square foot compared to the industry average of US$18.

PRICE OF PEOPLE
Staff and rent represent the two largest costs for studios. The average studio spends 63 per cent of revenue on staffing and 21 per cent of revenues on rent.

Interestingly, though, the top quartile of fitness studio operators spend 51 per cent of revenues on staff and 13 per cent on rent – another indication of what drives best-in-class performance.

ACTIVE INVESTMENT
In 2015, the average fitness studio spent US$9,500 investing in new equipment and US$23,000 reinvesting in the facility. This represents 11 per cent of average studio revenues.
While these numbers represent industry averages, they demonstrate a strong commitment by studios to reinvesting in the capital assets of the business.

LOW SET-UP COSTS
Fitness studios have a low capital barrier to entry and are asset light. The average fitness studio invested a total of US$166,000 to open its business. This cost represents the total capital investment, including hard costs such as tenant improvements and equipment, along with pre-opening expenses.

When viewed by studio type, studios that are group exercise-driven spent approximately US$208,000 to launch their businesses, while personal training/small group-driven studios spent approximately US$117,000.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Metrics related to net client growth, operating efficiency and revenue productivity of studios all point to a sector outperforming its larger, more established competitors in the traditional fitness sector.

As studio operators evolve to leverage their competitive strengths, this sector will be well positioned to capture a larger share of fitness consumer spend.

About the authors

Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson
Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson

Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson are co-founders of brand insights firm ClubIntel.

www.club-intel.com

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
PT and SGT studios dominate, while barre, cycling and HIIT studios remain in the minority
PT and SGT studios dominate, while barre, cycling and HIIT studios remain in the minority
The boutique sector is outperforming the more established, traditional clubs
The boutique sector is outperforming the more established, traditional clubs
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/324922_536568.jpg
A new study assesses the trends in the ever-evolving boutique segment
Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson co-founders of brand insights firm ClubIntel,Stephen Tharrett, Mark Williamson, ClubIntel, Association of Fitness Studios, IHRSA, 2016 Health Club Consumer Report, Fitness Studio Financial and Operating Benchmarking Report, SoulCycle, Pure Barre,
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The government needs to urgently set out its plans to support physical activity and fitness ...
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Opinion
promotion
While much of the fitness industry has reopened its doors across the UK over the past weeks, many members are yet to return.
Opinion: Re-engaging your post-lockdown absent members
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: First digital ecosystem for fitness equipment is launched after £300,000 funding boost
Orbit4 is the first digital ecosystem that manages and facilitates the entire commercial fitness product cycle.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Celebrating the return of group exercise – Les Mills to host free ‘Fastest Way Back’ livestream event for the industry
Last month (May) saw the welcomed return of group exercise classes. Group exercise is the heartbeat for so many clubs, with in-studio and instructor-led live experiences at the pinnacle.
Featured operators news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Featured operators news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Company profiles
Company profile: Fitronics (CoursePro and TRP)
Fitronics is the company behind The Retention People (TRP) and CoursePro. We truly understand our ...
Company profiles
Company profile: EMD UK
EMD UK is the national governing body for group exercise. Funded by Sport England, EMD ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
28-29 Sep 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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