Here are some demographics to target in order to tap into the deconditioned market.
80% of the population is not a member of a gym or health club.
After the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, industry operators are eager to attract new members and tap into this deconditioned market. But who makes up this 80% and how can you invite them in?
While there is a rough 50-50 split in terms of women and men getting memberships — according to the Next Fitness Consumer Report conducted in partnership with ABC Fitness Solutions, ClubIntel and IHRSA — women are more likely to engage in digital and at-home fitness services. Additionally, since the pandemic the report found women are less likely to resume in-person activities.
In a separate study by the Physical Activity Council, three of the five fitness activities that were the largest gainers over the pandemic for women were yoga (7.8% increase), Pilates (7.2% increase), and dance/choreographed exercise (5% increase).
With this in mind, consider implementing specific marketing strategies focused on promoting yoga, Pilates and dance-based exercise classes to the women in your area. In addition, revise your membership options to have an online-only option to keep the women in your market still involved with your facility versus an outside at-home service.
However, there are different factors contributing to women preferring at-home fitness. According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Foundation, women are more likely than men to experience weight stigma which can deter them from going to the gym and even the doctor’s office. Additionally, a study of 1,300 women conducted by BarBend found 93.4% of respondents reported their workout performance or intensity was affected by unwanted attention at the gym and 75% of them reported being heckled or catcalled at least once per week while working out.
In order to help women feel more comfortable inside your facility, adding a women-only section, women-only classes, or even a set time or day solely for women to workout could be something to consider.
Another demographic to target in order to tap into the deconditioned market is the Baby Boomer generation that consists of roughly 71.6 million people.
Millennials and Gen Z — the overwhelming majority in the fitness market, representing 80% of all gymgoers — have been returning to gyms and health clubs in droves since the pandemic. However, those 60 and older have been slower to return.
According to the Next Fitness Consumer Report, Boomers had an increased market share of free online fitness over the pandemic. This indicates a market for digital content for their age group. IHRSA recommends offering flexibility, yoga and strength training classes targeting the needs of the older consumer, along with educational senior fitness/active aging workshops.
Additionally, the report stated the Baby Boomer generation has had an uptick in sports participation and studio usage — highlighting the importance of in-person social interactions. Your facility can meet this need by emphasizing the social aspects of the club by hosting an event or offering small group exercise workshops focused on a sports activity such as pickleball.
As the industry shifts toward a more holistic approach and a greater focus on well-being, the Baby Boomer generation will be the one to watch.
According to the American Hospital Association and First Consulting Group, by 2030 over 37 million Baby Boomers will manage multiple chronic conditions. Additionally, 25% will live with diabetes, nearly 50% will live with arthritis and over 33% will be classified as obese. Lastly, the over 65 population will nearly triple by 2030. With this in mind, consider ramping up health-focused programs.
While these are just two of the demographics you can tap into, they are a great starting point to reaching the “other 80%.”
Another Demographic to Consider
According to Statista, the share of health and fitness club members in the United States in 2019 by ethnicity is as follows:
- African American/Black – 12.3%
- Asian/Pacific Islander – 7.19%
- Caucasian/White, non-Hispanic – 66.34%
- Hispanic – 12.78%
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