Updated: This post was originally published on August 20, 2014 and has been refreshed as of March 17, 2020.
Health club membership demographics and motivators are changing. By understanding the market and your audience, you can successfully develop programs and retail products that sell. Your facility’s livelihood depends on how you transform the statistics into personalized marketing strategies that work.
Health Club Demographics
The popularity of fitness clubs has spread out over all age groups. However, Millennials in particular make up a significant portion of gym memberships. Otherwise known as the “wellness generation,” “Millennials grew up in a time of rapid change, which gives them different priorities and expectations than previous generations1” like investing in their health and wellness. As gym-goers, Millennials tend to prefer more niche, boutique-style fitness facilities.2
While consumers ages 18 to 54 still make up the lion’s share of gym memberships and should remain the primary targets, revenue will be driven by two other demographics that are relatively new targets for the industry: the elderly and teens.
Health club owners should consider attracting the 55-and-up crowd with low-impact functional fitness programs and retail products related to health maintenance, including blood pressure monitoring and activity trackers.
Up until now, the fitness industry has ignored teenagers. But the generation is a viable target market for gym owners. Gen Z—composed of individuals born from 1997 onward3—”is the most active, with 87% exercising three or more times per week.4” In contrast to Millennials, most Gen Zers are interested in a simplified gym experience without all the frills2. Not only is the demographic a revenue driver, but gym owners can also feel good about instilling a lifelong commitment into teens to exercise and eat right.
More and more cutting-edge clubs are tailoring innovative programs, like yoga, karate, kickboxing, and outdoor activities, to 12-17 year olds. In addition, many health clubs are selling Gen Zers complementary fitness-related retail products.
Health Club Motivators
While appearance has long been the main reason for training, rising healthcare costs, and reforms are making the American public more attuned to the need to stay healthy. Media attention on the benefits of fitness and the need to reduce obesity is opening up new angles for your marketing messages.
To help retain your gym members, it is important that you make an effort to determine their “why.” This “why” should offer some sort of immediate benefit to your client, whether that be reduced stress or boosted metabolism.
While this Fit Fact has provided segmentation information to help you understand the market, you may want additional information. ELIVATE™ can help. Whether you need further advice on choosing the best fitness gear and equipment for your space, or how to display and price your inventory, call us today at 1.800.537.5512.
Get access to professional pricing when you create an account or contact your account manager at 1.800.537.5512 for more information.
1 “Millennials: The ‘Wellness Generation’.” Sanford Health News, 31 Jan. 2020, news.sanfordhealth.org/sanford-health-plan/millennials-wellness-generation/.
2 Settembre, Jeanette. “This Is the Insane Amount Millennials Are Spending on Fitness.” MarketWatch, MarketWatch, 22 Jan. 2018, www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-the-insane-amount-millennials-are-spending-on-fitness-2018-01-21.
3 Dimock, Michael. “Defining Generations: Where Millennials End and Generation Z Begins.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 17 Jan. 2019, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/17/where-millennials-end-and-generation-z-begins/.
4 Les Mills. “Generation Active: The 80% Your Club Can’t Ignore.” Les Mills, 23 May 2019, www.lesmills.com/us/clubs-and-facilities/research-insights/audience-insights/generation-active-the-80-your-club-cant-ignore/.