GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window
Premier Software Solutions
Premier Software Solutions
Premier Software Solutions
Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

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 tell us more

Published in Health Club Handbook 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
71 per cent of studios now offer a membership option of at least one month’s duration

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 around 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 as part of IHRSA’s 2016 Health Club Consumer Report indicates that, in 2015, consumers spent approximately US$4bn more on fitness studio privileges than they did 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 useful snapshot of this growing segment of the market.

PT & SGT
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.

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

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

The boutique sector was founded on the principle of delivering singular, specialist experiences to unique tribes of consumers. This shift towards a broader offering indicates a new focus on multiple tribes.

Return of a subs model
Fitness studios appear to be shifting from a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model 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 PAYG 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 etc).

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 former PAYG 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 with group exercise-orientated studios (such as barre, cycling, HIIT and yoga) which had 27 per cent attrition levels.

EBITDA efficiency
The average EBITDA margin for studios in 2015 was 24 per cent, compared with 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 measuring 2,001–5,000sq 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 for their capacity for greater profitability.

Clear winners
The top quartile significantly outperforms the industry average in terms of revenue per square foot. Fitness studios in the top quartile generated US$189 per square foot compared with the industry average of US$77. Furthermore, the top quartile of fitness studios generated EBITDA of US$38 per square foot compared with the industry average of US$18.

Price of people
Staff and rent represent the two largest costs for the fitness studio industry. The average fitness 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.

Keep it up
Fitness studios actively reinvest in their businesses. In 2015, the average fitness studio invested US$9,500 in new equipment and reinvested US$23,000 in the facility: 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 like tenant improvements and equipment, along with pre-opening expenses.

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

Final thoughts
The fitness studio industry continues to evolve. Metrics related to net client growth, operating efficiency and revenue productivity all point to a growing sector which is outperforming its larger and more established competitors in the traditional fitness arena.

The data shows that studio operators are evolving their business approach to leverage their competitive strengths. We believe that as the industry matures, it 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 ClubIntel – a brand insights firm offering branding, consumer insight and strategic consulting solutions for the fitness and private club industry.

www.club-intel.com

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Studios are increasingly offering at least two different programming formats. London’s Heartcore offers pilates, yoga, TRX and barre
Studios are increasingly offering at least two different programming formats. London’s Heartcore offers pilates, yoga, TRX and barre
Barre, cycling and HIIT studios remain in the minority, whereas
PT and SGT studios dominate
Barre, cycling and HIIT studios remain in the minority, whereas PT and SGT studios dominate
Boutiques are outperforming more established, traditional fitness clubs / Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Boutiques are outperforming more established, traditional fitness clubs / Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/126910_488951.jpg
The boutique studio market continues to grow and evolve, as the Association of Fitness Studios’ report shows. Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson tell us more about how this sector is maturing
Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson are co-founders of ClubIntel,Boutique studio market, Association of Fitness Studios, Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson are co-founders of ClubIntel, IHRSA’s 2016 Health Club Consumer Report
HCM magazine
The results from the first Moving Communities Customer Experience survey present a positive picture of overall satisfaction with local authority facilities, explains Mike Hill
HCM magazine
Rigs have been central to gyms for years. Now suppliers tell us how they’re evolving to meet the changing needs of clubs and clients
HCM magazine
HCM People

Preston Lewis

Co-founder, Black Box VR
Game designers have figured out how to keep people unhealthily addicted to games. If only you could be the hero in a game that levelled up your life
HCM Magazine
Interview
Where Gold’s Gym has always been associated with bodybuilding and heavy weights, our new extended concept embraces all facets of fitness training
HCM Magazine
Supplier showcase
Premier Global NASM is setting personal trainers up for sustainable success with the launch of its online training bundle and app
HCM Magazine
Research
A new study claims being physically active for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, is not enough for those who spend the rest of their time being sedentary
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Empowered Brands has strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of a new chair and CEO following the untimely death of founder, Jan Spaticchia
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Jo Farrier, head of commercial and resources at Active Northumberland, talks about how a strategic partnership with Technogym is changing public perceptions of council leisure facilities
HCM Magazine
Training
Six months on from the launch of its Kickstart programme, The Gym Group is hiring the majority of trainees, as Liz Terry reports
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
With gyms reopening as the fitness industry recovers from the impact of lockdowns, members are seeking social interaction and engaging training experiences in a small group setting
HCM Magazine
Latest News
The Pingdemic of people receiving notifications on their phones, telling them to self-isolate because of ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has extended its partnership with digital fitness platform Fiit, becoming the first ...
Latest News
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled again and will now take ...
Latest News
Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will ...
Latest News
The most high-risk and controversial Olympics of modern times begin today (23 July) in Tokyo, ...
Latest News
Further research into the levels of positive COVID-19 cases among those to have visited fitness ...
Latest News
Planning approval has been granted to what is set to become one of the first ...
Latest News
Digital fitness content provider, Wexer, is launching a new wellness resource on its connected Web ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: A new world for memberships
During lockdown clients have had more time to self-reflect than ever before. As a result, many are prioritising mental health and incorporating activity into their day to improve overall wellbeing.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: FunXtion enhance interactive workouts with the launch of Virtual Player
Digital meets personal with the new Virtual Player from FunXtion, experts in interactive fitness, which allows clubs to stream and schedule world class virtual classes anytime, providing an interactive workout experience on the gym floor, functional area or directly to members at home via an app.
Featured operator 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 operator 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: Perfect Gym Solutions S.A.
Perfect Gym currently provides fitness software solutions to customers in 55+ countries, servicing more than ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Quoox
With more than 200 integrated features, Quoox is confident there is a solution for every ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Gympass
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

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 tell us more

Published in Health Club Handbook 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
71 per cent of studios now offer a membership option of at least one month’s duration

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 around 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 as part of IHRSA’s 2016 Health Club Consumer Report indicates that, in 2015, consumers spent approximately US$4bn more on fitness studio privileges than they did 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 useful snapshot of this growing segment of the market.

PT & SGT
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.

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

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

The boutique sector was founded on the principle of delivering singular, specialist experiences to unique tribes of consumers. This shift towards a broader offering indicates a new focus on multiple tribes.

Return of a subs model
Fitness studios appear to be shifting from a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model 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 PAYG 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 etc).

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 former PAYG 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 with group exercise-orientated studios (such as barre, cycling, HIIT and yoga) which had 27 per cent attrition levels.

EBITDA efficiency
The average EBITDA margin for studios in 2015 was 24 per cent, compared with 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 measuring 2,001–5,000sq 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 for their capacity for greater profitability.

Clear winners
The top quartile significantly outperforms the industry average in terms of revenue per square foot. Fitness studios in the top quartile generated US$189 per square foot compared with the industry average of US$77. Furthermore, the top quartile of fitness studios generated EBITDA of US$38 per square foot compared with the industry average of US$18.

Price of people
Staff and rent represent the two largest costs for the fitness studio industry. The average fitness 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.

Keep it up
Fitness studios actively reinvest in their businesses. In 2015, the average fitness studio invested US$9,500 in new equipment and reinvested US$23,000 in the facility: 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 like tenant improvements and equipment, along with pre-opening expenses.

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

Final thoughts
The fitness studio industry continues to evolve. Metrics related to net client growth, operating efficiency and revenue productivity all point to a growing sector which is outperforming its larger and more established competitors in the traditional fitness arena.

The data shows that studio operators are evolving their business approach to leverage their competitive strengths. We believe that as the industry matures, it 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 ClubIntel – a brand insights firm offering branding, consumer insight and strategic consulting solutions for the fitness and private club industry.

www.club-intel.com

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Studios are increasingly offering at least two different programming formats. London’s Heartcore offers pilates, yoga, TRX and barre
Studios are increasingly offering at least two different programming formats. London’s Heartcore offers pilates, yoga, TRX and barre
Barre, cycling and HIIT studios remain in the minority, whereas
PT and SGT studios dominate
Barre, cycling and HIIT studios remain in the minority, whereas PT and SGT studios dominate
Boutiques are outperforming more established, traditional fitness clubs / Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Boutiques are outperforming more established, traditional fitness clubs / Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/126910_488951.jpg
The boutique studio market continues to grow and evolve, as the Association of Fitness Studios’ report shows. Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson tell us more about how this sector is maturing
Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson are co-founders of ClubIntel,Boutique studio market, Association of Fitness Studios, Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson are co-founders of ClubIntel, IHRSA’s 2016 Health Club Consumer Report
Latest News
The Pingdemic of people receiving notifications on their phones, telling them to self-isolate because of ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has extended its partnership with digital fitness platform Fiit, becoming the first ...
Latest News
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled again and will now take ...
Latest News
Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will ...
Latest News
The most high-risk and controversial Olympics of modern times begin today (23 July) in Tokyo, ...
Latest News
Further research into the levels of positive COVID-19 cases among those to have visited fitness ...
Latest News
Planning approval has been granted to what is set to become one of the first ...
Latest News
Digital fitness content provider, Wexer, is launching a new wellness resource on its connected Web ...
Latest News
Leisure-net has revealed plans to transform its active-net business event from an annual face-to-face gathering ...
Latest News
F45's IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has revealed a strong appetite from ...
Latest News
A large health club plays a major role in tech giant Microsoft’s recently opened R&D ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: A new world for memberships
During lockdown clients have had more time to self-reflect than ever before. As a result, many are prioritising mental health and incorporating activity into their day to improve overall wellbeing.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: FunXtion enhance interactive workouts with the launch of Virtual Player
Digital meets personal with the new Virtual Player from FunXtion, experts in interactive fitness, which allows clubs to stream and schedule world class virtual classes anytime, providing an interactive workout experience on the gym floor, functional area or directly to members at home via an app.
Featured operator 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 operator 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: Perfect Gym Solutions S.A.
Perfect Gym currently provides fitness software solutions to customers in 55+ countries, servicing more than ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Quoox
With more than 200 integrated features, Quoox is confident there is a solution for every ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Gympass
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
Premier Software Solutions
Premier Software Solutions