COVID-19 Impact on the Fitness Industry

The fitness industry has suffered tremendously from the ravages of COVID-19. First, Gold’s Gym filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection only a month ago, and now 24-hour fitness has also filed for bankruptcy while closing 130 gym locations. Executives from both fitness companies indicated the COVID-19 quarantines and lock-downs were devastating to the financials of the company. What is even more interesting, though, is now that some states have gradually begun to open gathering facilities like gyms & fitness centers, people are hesitant to return.

Changing Dynamic

An April 2020 survey by Harrison Co. indicates a seismic shift in how people are going to stay active in the post COVID-19 world. Asking 1,000 health club users, some noticeable shifts in work-out intention were indicated, including:

  • 34% of gym exercisers have or plan to cancel their gym memberships after COVID-19 and more than 20 million gym memberships could be cancelled due to COVID-19
  • As a result of the coronavirus, 40% of respondents exercised at home for the first time
  • More than 38,000 clubs and studios have presently shut down because of the virus. Clubs will have to adhere to increased cleanliness and safety protocols in order to successfully reopen and maintain member trust
  • At least 500,000 fitness club employees have been furloughed as a result of the club shutdowns
  • Despite having the impact to financially devastate the health club industry, 37% of all survey participants indicated they would work out more after COVID-19, and over 50% of them said they are motivated to do so by a renewed appreciation for their health and well-being.

Economic Impact

It is estimated that as much as $10B could leave fitness club sector, with a material amount of that moving toward home work-out equipment and gear. What is more difficult to estimate is the impact on the people employed by these clubs, and where they will find gainful employment with so many facilities closing or permanently reducing staff.

The one encouraging statistic from the survey was over 50% of them (survey participants) said they are motivated to work out more by a renewed appreciation for their health and well-being. This is good news, and would be a welcome trend, as globally, we have been seeing health deteriorate at an alarming rate. Consider these stats from the World Economic Forum:

  • 1 in 3 adults worldwide suffer from 2 or more chronic diseases
  • 1 in 11 adults (over 420M people) suffer from diabetes (the majority being type II, or the insulin-resistance version)
  • The most common chronic diseases are:
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Stroke
    • Lung cancer
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Back & Neck Pain

Chronic diseases are ravaging the global population, and in the U.S., the trends are even worse. What COVID-19 showed us is how important health is, and how the combination of mental, physical and spiritual well-being creates a stronger, more resilient person.

One thought on “COVID-19 Impact on the Fitness Industry

  1. Kate Stone

    This is a visionary overview of another huge effect from the Covid pandemic. Please continue to share your expertise on health and fitness as this situation moves along.


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