Gym Visits Rebound, Approaching Pre-Pandemic Levels

As mask mandates are lifted amid the continued vaccine rollout, gyms are getting back to business.

By the numbers: In May, US gym visits reached 83% of January 2020 levels. Overall, traffic was down 6% from the same period in 2019.

Research firm Jefferies tracked gym visits while also monitoring online searches for in-person and digital fitness options. Key findings include:

  • Online searches for “gym near me” have surged to New Year-like levels.
  • After peaking in April 2020, interest in at-home fitness equipment is waning.

An uphill battle. Last year, the $35B US fitness industry saw revenues decline nearly 60% to $15B. And an estimated 25% of gyms/studios were expected to close permanently. Meanwhile, at-home workouts took over, putting digital/connected fitness on pace to reach $60B by 2027.

On the bright side. The Jefferies report is an improvement upon a TD Ameritrade survey from June of 2020 that found 59% of Americans don’t plan to renew their gym memberships after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Across the industry, things are looking up:

Equinox. The luxury gym chain recently saw a 55% increase in new membership sales. Equinox Group executive chairman Harvey Spevak said: “We’ve been waiting for this day for 14 months, and what we are seeing is a tremendous amount of pent-up demand.”

Planet Fitness. During the pandemic, Planet Fitness opened more than 100 new gyms without shuttering an existing location. With most of its 2,140+ stores open, the company added 600K new members last quarter.

Xponential Fitness. On the Fitt Insider podcast, Xponential CEO Anthony Geisler told us the company earned $435M in revenue and opened 250 new locations amid COVID. They also managed to acquire boxing brand Rumble and could go public later this year.

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