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
JP Lennard
JP Lennard
JP Lennard
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

Statistics: Cause for optimism

How have consumers responded to the end of lockdowns? Cesar Carvalho shares some bounceback numbers with HCM

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 8
People using employee fitness schemes are showing strong signs of returning / photo: shutterstock/jacob lund
People using employee fitness schemes are showing strong signs of returning / photo: shutterstock/jacob lund
Hybrid work practices are seeing people combining commuting with working from home – gym operators must ensure they can match this new behaviour

Recovery. It’s the word on everyone’s lips right now. Especially in the UK and other parts of the world where restrictions are being reduced. But what does ‘recovery’ look like for our sector? After months of closures and reduced capacities, what can operators look forward to in terms of attendance?

There is no centralised data source showing the complete market picture when it comes to trading in the world’s health clubs, gyms and studios, so we need to access and aggregate all available numbers to try to establish a picture of what’s going on.

Gympass works in partnership with 50,000 fitness facilities globally – 2,600 of them in the UK and around 12,000 in the US, with others in Latin America and elsewhere – to offer employees access to fitness and wellness activities as part of companies’ corporate health programmes.

It has been tracking performance pre-pandemic and post-lockdowns within these cohorts.

The sample is by definition skewed towards people who are in employment, but nonetheless, offers useful insights.

UK and US results
In the UK in February 2020 – pre-lockdown – the company recorded 63,504 consumer check-ins to health clubs, studios and gyms. By May 2021 – only weeks after reopening – the Gympass Recovery Index saw its UK operators pass the halfway mark in terms of recovery, with 53 per cent of the visits – or 33,657 check-ins – when compared to the pre-pandemic numbers.

This means they fared better than they had done in previous reopening phases in August and October 2020, when 33 per cent and 51 per cent of members respectively returned to the gym.

By June 2021, the figure rose to 61 per cent – or 38,737 check-ins – showing the speed of recovery.

Looking at other markets within the Gympass network, an extremely confident return to the gym was seen in Brazil and the US by June 2021, with 116 per cent and 95 per cent return rates respectively, when compared with pre-pandemic levels – Brazil being boosted by a short lockdown.

Total visits across the Gympass network globally saw a new high in June 2021 of 4.1m check-ins, up from 3.9m in February 2020 (vs 4m in May 2021). These results show operators in this cohort on their way back to full strength.

As expected with the new world of hybrid working, there are some interesting trends in terms of how visit numbers have differed across locations, with suburban areas seeing a stronger recovery compared to cities, as a significant proportion of people continued to limit their visits to the office.

In the US, the most active region post-lockdown has been the northeast, with the highest number of gym visits. By May 2021, New York had seen a 160 per cent increase in activity levels. Elsewhere in the US, California was just behind at 153 per cent.

Global results
So what has been drawing people back to their health clubs and studios?
Strength training has been the biggest draw globally, with 60 per cent of visitors heading straight for the resistance machines, dumbbell racks and functional training rigs. Consumers’ wait to get back to the weights has been long and drawn out, with this mode of training the hardest for people to replicate at home.

By comparison, only 15 per cent of visits globally in our sample were for cardio training, perhaps indicating people had found their ‘fix’ by running, cycling and downloading HIIT workouts during lockdown.

The timing of these in-facility sessions was well spread across the week and previously popular times were quick to be re-established. We saw some members sticking to the routine they know, with 12.7 per cent back at the traditional peak time of 6.00pm and 12.2 per cent at 7.00pm.

However, this varies from country to country. In the US, for example, members within the Gympass cohort have gone from being night owls during the pandemic to early birds, with 7.00am renewing its top spot as the favourite time to work out. Across Europe and the UK, 5.00pm (7.2 per cent of members) and 7.00pm (12.9 per cent) are still the most popular times.

This gives us an indication that working from home makes things look pretty similar, however as people return to the office we might see a change in attendance times.

Hybrid results
While the industry pivoted brilliantly to bring a wealth of activity to people in their homes and gardens, it wasn’t possible to recreate the gym or group exercise environments. The kit, the energy and motivation drawn from working out alongside others remains a huge selling point for facilities.

While the recovery is most definitely underway, with some operators already back to pre-pandemic levels, it won’t be plain sailing for all facilities and some will need to work hard to keep members engaged in brick and mortar activities. Lockdown brought a proliferation of fitness and wellness services onto people’s phones and into their homes. Fitness fans are now used to the ultimate convenience when it comes to choosing their next workout.

Hybrid work practices are likely to see people combining commuting with working from home, operators will need to ensure they can match this new behaviour. Offering digital classes, virtual PT sessions and a range of mental health and wellness options alongside their in-person delivery will keep all bases covered. Not just for now but in case, dare we say it, restrictions tighten again.

What we’re seeing from members is hugely positive. They’re craving the sense of community that a gym or a studio brings and are returning in big numbers. For the coming months, we expect our sample in the UK to return to pre-pandemic levels and predict this will be even higher in the US and Brazil. We believe the hybrid model will shape the immediate future of how people want to work out and it’s fantastic to see members coming back into facilities once again.

We can be confident that the recovery is underway, but we must not be complacent. The fleet of foot operators and those who truly listen to what their members are asking for and watch closely how their members are behaving have every opportunity to emerge from the pandemic with strength and confidence.

Gympass funding round

In June 2021, Gympass secured a funding round of US$220m, valuing the company at US$2.2bn. This investment is to drive growth, ‘improve the product experience’ and continue the company’s expansion into categories such as digital fitness, mental health and nutrition.

Cesar Carvalho is CEO of Gympass
7.00am is now the favourite time to work out in the US / photo: shutterstock/jacob lund
7.00am is now the favourite time to work out in the US / photo: shutterstock/jacob lund
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/212004_944344.jpg
Cesar Carvalho shares insights about recovery in sectors of the global gym market
HCM magazine
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you.
HCM magazine
My starting point was to ask what would happen if membership was something you gave for free?
HCM magazine
Doing the recommended amount of exercise during weekends is just as beneficial as spreading physical activity out across the week, a new study has found
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
BXR is one of the most exciting brands in the fitness industry. Co-founder Alex Nicholl gives us a glimpse behind the scenes
HCM Magazine
Insight
From VR to personalisation, here’s what we can expect to see in wellness in the coming months, says Lauren McAlister
HCM Magazine
New launch
RSG Group has opened Heimat, a members-only concept fitness club and a new way to ‘work out and live well’, as Liz Terry reports
HCM Magazine
HCM People
It was important to create a high-end gym that offers as much value to the local community as it does to hotel guests
HCM Magazine
Editor's letter
For years the sector has used participation numbers as a measure of success, but policymakers are now calling for a change to measuring outcomes, so value can be established
HCM Magazine
Interview
The MD of Everlast Gyms is steering the business through a process of unification, rebranding and ‘elevation’, rolling out a hybrid model that he believes will take it to UK number one status. He speaks to Kate Cracknell
HCM Magazine
Research
New research from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne has found that heart patients benefit from resistance training
HCM Magazine
Latest News
Peloton is set to axe around 800 jobs, increase the price of its equipment and ...
Latest News
Pure Gym has opened its latest location in the Middle East as part of a ...
Latest News
World Gym International has launched a strength-only gym concept, which it says will cater for ...
Latest News
A new open water swimming venue will has been launched in the heart of Canary ...
Latest News
Peter Roberts, former CEO and founder of Pure Gym, has invested in Another Round, a ...
Latest News
Fitness markets around the globe are demonstrating "reassuring signs of recovery" following the pandemic disruptions ...
Latest News
Mark Sesnan, CEO of GLL, has pushed back on Tower Hamlet Council’s decision to take ...
Latest News
Ohm Fitness, a new franchised studio concept, has opened its first location in Scottsdale, Arizona. ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Good news for the fitness industry, a unique opportunity awaits gyms
In just over two years, the fitness industry has experienced major disruptions to gyms, a boom in at-home fitness and the return of in-person workouts.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Dr Paul Bedford and Andreas Paulsen to speak at Sibec Europe-UK
Questex’s Sibec Europe-UK, Europe’s leading hosted buyer event for the fitness industry, will take place on 27-30 September 2022 at the Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort, in Portugal.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Parkwood Leisure celebrates four award wins and named Outstanding Organisation of the Year at the 2022 ukactive Awards
It was a night to remember at the 2022 ukactive Awards for Parkwood Leisure, as the leisure facilities operator picked up four awards.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: New £42m Moorways Sports Village to open on 21 May
Everyone Active will open Moorways Sports Village to the public on Saturday 21 May with a grand opening weekend – in time for the half term holidays.
Video Gallery
Sport Alliance GmbH
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Company profiles
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
Matrix provides innovative commercial fitness equipment to facilities in all market sectors including private health ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Core Health & Fitness
Core Health & Fitness offers the commercial health and fitness club marketplace an unmatched portfolio ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Featured press releases: The Giro d’Italia partners with Technogym for the first indoor cycling jersey
Here’s the first Giro d’Italia indoor jersey, which has been conceived thanks to the collaboration between Technogym and Castelli, both partners of Giro d’Italia Virtual.
Featured press releases
Featured press releases: 1Life launch youth initiative to support budding athletes achieve their sporting dreams
1Life is supporting promising young athletes achieve their sporting dreams through free use of its public access facilities and support from two Team GB Olympic stars
Directory
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
21-21 Sep 2022
Various, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates

features

Statistics: Cause for optimism

How have consumers responded to the end of lockdowns? Cesar Carvalho shares some bounceback numbers with HCM

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 8
People using employee fitness schemes are showing strong signs of returning / photo: shutterstock/jacob lund
People using employee fitness schemes are showing strong signs of returning / photo: shutterstock/jacob lund
Hybrid work practices are seeing people combining commuting with working from home – gym operators must ensure they can match this new behaviour

Recovery. It’s the word on everyone’s lips right now. Especially in the UK and other parts of the world where restrictions are being reduced. But what does ‘recovery’ look like for our sector? After months of closures and reduced capacities, what can operators look forward to in terms of attendance?

There is no centralised data source showing the complete market picture when it comes to trading in the world’s health clubs, gyms and studios, so we need to access and aggregate all available numbers to try to establish a picture of what’s going on.

Gympass works in partnership with 50,000 fitness facilities globally – 2,600 of them in the UK and around 12,000 in the US, with others in Latin America and elsewhere – to offer employees access to fitness and wellness activities as part of companies’ corporate health programmes.

It has been tracking performance pre-pandemic and post-lockdowns within these cohorts.

The sample is by definition skewed towards people who are in employment, but nonetheless, offers useful insights.

UK and US results
In the UK in February 2020 – pre-lockdown – the company recorded 63,504 consumer check-ins to health clubs, studios and gyms. By May 2021 – only weeks after reopening – the Gympass Recovery Index saw its UK operators pass the halfway mark in terms of recovery, with 53 per cent of the visits – or 33,657 check-ins – when compared to the pre-pandemic numbers.

This means they fared better than they had done in previous reopening phases in August and October 2020, when 33 per cent and 51 per cent of members respectively returned to the gym.

By June 2021, the figure rose to 61 per cent – or 38,737 check-ins – showing the speed of recovery.

Looking at other markets within the Gympass network, an extremely confident return to the gym was seen in Brazil and the US by June 2021, with 116 per cent and 95 per cent return rates respectively, when compared with pre-pandemic levels – Brazil being boosted by a short lockdown.

Total visits across the Gympass network globally saw a new high in June 2021 of 4.1m check-ins, up from 3.9m in February 2020 (vs 4m in May 2021). These results show operators in this cohort on their way back to full strength.

As expected with the new world of hybrid working, there are some interesting trends in terms of how visit numbers have differed across locations, with suburban areas seeing a stronger recovery compared to cities, as a significant proportion of people continued to limit their visits to the office.

In the US, the most active region post-lockdown has been the northeast, with the highest number of gym visits. By May 2021, New York had seen a 160 per cent increase in activity levels. Elsewhere in the US, California was just behind at 153 per cent.

Global results
So what has been drawing people back to their health clubs and studios?
Strength training has been the biggest draw globally, with 60 per cent of visitors heading straight for the resistance machines, dumbbell racks and functional training rigs. Consumers’ wait to get back to the weights has been long and drawn out, with this mode of training the hardest for people to replicate at home.

By comparison, only 15 per cent of visits globally in our sample were for cardio training, perhaps indicating people had found their ‘fix’ by running, cycling and downloading HIIT workouts during lockdown.

The timing of these in-facility sessions was well spread across the week and previously popular times were quick to be re-established. We saw some members sticking to the routine they know, with 12.7 per cent back at the traditional peak time of 6.00pm and 12.2 per cent at 7.00pm.

However, this varies from country to country. In the US, for example, members within the Gympass cohort have gone from being night owls during the pandemic to early birds, with 7.00am renewing its top spot as the favourite time to work out. Across Europe and the UK, 5.00pm (7.2 per cent of members) and 7.00pm (12.9 per cent) are still the most popular times.

This gives us an indication that working from home makes things look pretty similar, however as people return to the office we might see a change in attendance times.

Hybrid results
While the industry pivoted brilliantly to bring a wealth of activity to people in their homes and gardens, it wasn’t possible to recreate the gym or group exercise environments. The kit, the energy and motivation drawn from working out alongside others remains a huge selling point for facilities.

While the recovery is most definitely underway, with some operators already back to pre-pandemic levels, it won’t be plain sailing for all facilities and some will need to work hard to keep members engaged in brick and mortar activities. Lockdown brought a proliferation of fitness and wellness services onto people’s phones and into their homes. Fitness fans are now used to the ultimate convenience when it comes to choosing their next workout.

Hybrid work practices are likely to see people combining commuting with working from home, operators will need to ensure they can match this new behaviour. Offering digital classes, virtual PT sessions and a range of mental health and wellness options alongside their in-person delivery will keep all bases covered. Not just for now but in case, dare we say it, restrictions tighten again.

What we’re seeing from members is hugely positive. They’re craving the sense of community that a gym or a studio brings and are returning in big numbers. For the coming months, we expect our sample in the UK to return to pre-pandemic levels and predict this will be even higher in the US and Brazil. We believe the hybrid model will shape the immediate future of how people want to work out and it’s fantastic to see members coming back into facilities once again.

We can be confident that the recovery is underway, but we must not be complacent. The fleet of foot operators and those who truly listen to what their members are asking for and watch closely how their members are behaving have every opportunity to emerge from the pandemic with strength and confidence.

Gympass funding round

In June 2021, Gympass secured a funding round of US$220m, valuing the company at US$2.2bn. This investment is to drive growth, ‘improve the product experience’ and continue the company’s expansion into categories such as digital fitness, mental health and nutrition.

Cesar Carvalho is CEO of Gympass
7.00am is now the favourite time to work out in the US / photo: shutterstock/jacob lund
7.00am is now the favourite time to work out in the US / photo: shutterstock/jacob lund
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/212004_944344.jpg
Cesar Carvalho shares insights about recovery in sectors of the global gym market
Latest News
Peloton is set to axe around 800 jobs, increase the price of its equipment and ...
Latest News
Pure Gym has opened its latest location in the Middle East as part of a ...
Latest News
World Gym International has launched a strength-only gym concept, which it says will cater for ...
Latest News
A new open water swimming venue will has been launched in the heart of Canary ...
Latest News
Peter Roberts, former CEO and founder of Pure Gym, has invested in Another Round, a ...
Latest News
Fitness markets around the globe are demonstrating "reassuring signs of recovery" following the pandemic disruptions ...
Latest News
Mark Sesnan, CEO of GLL, has pushed back on Tower Hamlet Council’s decision to take ...
Latest News
Ohm Fitness, a new franchised studio concept, has opened its first location in Scottsdale, Arizona. ...
Latest News
Easton Leisure Centre in the UK has announced a 100 per cent reduction in heating ...
Latest News
The Gym Group saw its membership grow by 10 per cent during the first six ...
Latest News
Mindbody has announced that Fritz Lanman will become the company’s new CEO from 3 September ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Good news for the fitness industry, a unique opportunity awaits gyms
In just over two years, the fitness industry has experienced major disruptions to gyms, a boom in at-home fitness and the return of in-person workouts.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Dr Paul Bedford and Andreas Paulsen to speak at Sibec Europe-UK
Questex’s Sibec Europe-UK, Europe’s leading hosted buyer event for the fitness industry, will take place on 27-30 September 2022 at the Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort, in Portugal.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Parkwood Leisure celebrates four award wins and named Outstanding Organisation of the Year at the 2022 ukactive Awards
It was a night to remember at the 2022 ukactive Awards for Parkwood Leisure, as the leisure facilities operator picked up four awards.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: New £42m Moorways Sports Village to open on 21 May
Everyone Active will open Moorways Sports Village to the public on Saturday 21 May with a grand opening weekend – in time for the half term holidays.
Video Gallery
Sport Alliance GmbH
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Company profiles
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
Matrix provides innovative commercial fitness equipment to facilities in all market sectors including private health ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Core Health & Fitness
Core Health & Fitness offers the commercial health and fitness club marketplace an unmatched portfolio ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Featured press releases: The Giro d’Italia partners with Technogym for the first indoor cycling jersey
Here’s the first Giro d’Italia indoor jersey, which has been conceived thanks to the collaboration between Technogym and Castelli, both partners of Giro d’Italia Virtual.
Featured press releases
Featured press releases: 1Life launch youth initiative to support budding athletes achieve their sporting dreams
1Life is supporting promising young athletes achieve their sporting dreams through free use of its public access facilities and support from two Team GB Olympic stars
Directory
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
21-21 Sep 2022
Various, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
JP Lennard
JP Lennard
Partner sites