NEW YORK & SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The U.S. fitness industry will be radically recast post-COVID-19, as billions of dollars in consumer spending is shifted to at-home fitness options at the expense of the health club industry. That was among the findings of an exclusive consumer survey by Harrison Co., a consumer-focused investment bank.
The survey, conducted in April 2020 of approximately 1,000 fitness club users, was released in a research report today, “COVID-19 Fitness Survey.” The proprietary data reflects that $10 billion annually could leave the club sector, much of it for home fitness options, reflecting changing consumer sentiment surrounding health club safety and cleanliness.
“The difficult economic circumstances currently faced by gyms and health clubs will not disappear once the crisis ends,” said Paul Byrne, a partner at Harrison Co. “Once stay-at-home guidelines are lifted, consumers will continue to work out at home in numbers far beyond anything we saw prior to the crisis.”
Other key takeaways and areas of exploration of the report include:
- 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; and
- 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.
“Before COVID-19, both health clubs and home fitness had been enjoying steady growth driven by a number of trends that pointed to a continued upward trajectory,” Byrne said. “The pandemic has clearly accelerated working out from home. Post-COVID, fitness companies will have to respond to the recasting of the competitive landscape by utilizing the convenient, compelling, and immersive strategy of streaming.”
For equipment makers, the report also noted that winners in the at-home sector extend beyond Peloton and other direct-to-consumer suppliers. Manufacturers such as Inspire and Bowflex, as well as specialty retailers such as Precor Home Fitness, have experienced significant year-over-year increases. In many cases, demand has outstripped supply.
Byrne is a veteran leader who helped shape the direction of the fitness industry. Early in his career he cofounded the first chain of franchised exercise equipment stores, pioneering a new channel in fitness equipment distribution. Later, he joined Precor, a rapidly growing startup in fitness equipment manufacturing, and played a key role in transitioning Precor from a one product, one channel company to a premier international fitness brand serving club, home, and vertical markets. During his 28 years with Precor, including 13 as President, Paul grew the company from $20 million in sales to over $400 million annually, and oversaw the development and introduction of the world’s first elliptical trainer, establishing Precor as a leading innovator.
Harrison Co. will host a webinar to discuss the report, where the Harrison Co. team will offer insights and key takeaways of this proprietary research in greater detail. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be notified of the confirmed webinar date.
About Harrison Co.
Harrison Co. is a consumer-focused investment bank dedicated to helping clients make strategic business, M&A, and financing decisions to capitalize on the rapidly changing consumer economy. Harrison Co. specializes in consumer brands, ecommerce, healthy living, and agriculture sectors. Its unique business model and team of industry veterans ensures superior client service and advisory.