Club Insider

The Next Fitness Consumer Demands Optionality and Personalization

Posted: July 29, 2021 in IHRSA

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BOSTON, MA – The latest consumer research, commissioned by the IHRSA Foundation and ABC Fitness Solutions, shows motivation to stay fit post-pandemic is less about having a solid physique and more about achieving a holistic approach to physical exercise and mental wellbeing. A study conducted by ClubIntel in June 2021 shows that the active consumer motivation for a total fitness experience demands highly personalized delivery; the fitness industry can no longer provide a one-size-fits-all approach.

The Next Fitness Consumer Report provides answers to vital questions such as why consumers are interested in or presently participate in exercise routines, what consumers value most about pursuing a fitness routine, and—perhaps most importantly—how routines have changed since the start of the pandemic. ​​Delivering options for the consumer is paramount; it’s about connecting home and outdoor fitness with gym workouts and trainer-led programs to stay active, feel good, and connect with like-minded individuals.

“This report gave us timely insight about what the future of fitness holds for the industry,” said Bill Davis, CEO of ABC Fitness Solutions. “As consumers look for more choices to create their fitness journey, they want a variety in equipment, programming, and facilities. Four out of the five most relevant modalities are features in gyms and fitness clubs, making them well-positioned for growth across multiple segments and demographics.”

The demand already shows as fitness clubs using ABC Fitness Solutions in the U.S. experienced 26% more new member joins in Q2 2021 when compared to the same quarter in 2019. Year-to-date experience is on track to surpass the overall 2019 trend by nearly 10%.

The Next Fitness Consumer Report offers an Active Consumer Profile that examines responses by specific segments—such as gender, age, ability, and income. Also included in the report is a “Fitness Mix,” which discusses consumers’:

  • Goals,
  • Exercise regimens,
  • Fitness mix and routine,
  • Workout frequency,
  • Exercise expenditures,
  • Preference for exercise equipment, and more.

“Fitness and wellness are top of mind for the active consumer,” said Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA’s director of research and insights. “While the majority of Americans value regular exercise, a significant segment of inactive consumers want to engage in physical activity, presenting an opportunity for the fitness industry.”

Key findings from The Next Fitness Consumer Report include:

  • Two-thirds of Americans report they are currently active, an indicator that fitness is broader than just physical exercise and inclusive of mental health and acuity.
  • Outdoor activities and digital/online workouts are here to stay—consumers want fitness delivered to them.
  • Despite growing fitness awareness, regular exercise may be a privilege of the well-off, highlighting the need for the fitness industry to overcome barriers of inequity.
  • The fitness club and studio will remain the go-to hubs of active consumers.
  • Among those who previously canceled their membership at big-box gyms, half say they plan on returning in the next 6-12 months.

The Next Fitness Consumer Report is available as a PDF on ABC Fitness Solutions’ website. An executive summary with key takeaways is available on

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