As Gym Visits Rebound, Brands Eye Expansion

Life Time

By the numbers: After revenues cratered to less than $15B in 2020, the market for gyms and studios is expected to reach $32B this year.

  • Gym visits rose 18% from March through August vs. the same period in 2019, with new memberships rates also topping pre-pandemic figures.
  • Sales per square foot (a measure of efficiency, especially for big-box gyms) are up 34% from 2021 and about even with 2019.
  • New fitness centers accounted for 4.5M sq. ft. in Q1’22 (up from ~2M in Q4’22) and are the fastest-growing segment of retailer, per CBRE.

Deal-making. Taking notice, landlords are once again courting fitness tenants for malls and shopping centers. Taking full advantage, well-capitalized brands are branching out.

  • Retail. Per Credintell, retailers in a shopping center with a gym attract 2.5% more monthly visitors than the same retailer’s locations in centers without one. Retail-targeted expansions from Crunch, UFC GYM, and World Gym are underway.
  • Hospitality. A Hilton survey showed 98% of US travelers are prioritizing wellness activities while traveling. Finding new venues, Xponential will put studios aboard Princess Cruises and install functional training spaces in hotels and offices.
  • Living. Life Time said inbound interest from developers has fueled new openings. After unveiling its second fitness community, it plans to open 13 clubs next year.

Takeaway: Riding momentum into the new year, gyms hope the gains keep coming. With at-home workouts remaining popular and the majority of people not exercising at all, there’s plenty of room for growth.

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