An Analysis of 2018 Fitness Industry Reports

Since 2013 at F45 Training, we’ve believe in our concept Gym franchises are seeing extraordinary growth trends across the globe. In a recent report compiled by the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) they highlighted some of the growth and expansion of the global fitness industry, and it makes for a very interesting read. In this piece we will dive into the numbers, look at upcoming trends and examine the existing ones, while providing a better understanding of the industry as a whole, and the opportunity ahead.

Globally, the report found that the fitness industry grew by 2.6% resulting in an increase of total revenue from $83.1bn in 2016 to $85.2bn in 2017 and, if the current trend continues, it should reach an estimated $87.5bn in 2018.The US is seeing an even greater revenue by 7.2% as it increased from $25.8bn in 2015 to $27.6 bn in 2016.

Rise of the Boutique Studio

With the upward trajectory of growth, the opportunity to expand beyond the typical big box gyms has allowed the industry to shift towards functional training, high intensity interval training as well as a shift towards holistic wellness.

Of the nearly 200,000 new clubs opening globally, the majority  are more specialist in nature than in previous years, as the boutique fitness industry is the one that has seen the biggest expansion. This is partly because millennials tend to gravitate to these kinds of clubs, facilitating the enormous call for on-demand fitness solutions like Peloton and Aaptiv. The appeal for the younger generation lies in their desire for personalization, freedom and experiences over material possessions.

The consensus was corroborated by a Neilsen survey in 2014 which uncovered that 81% of millennials would like to exercise or already do. This is a huge increase over the amount of pro-exercise baby-boomers, of which only 61% shared these sentiments. This opportunity was seized by the entire industry over the past two years, and has been at the core of the increase of boutique gyms, wearable developers and technology, as well as equipment manufacturers.

Goldman Sachs added that: “For Millennials, wellness is a daily, active pursuit. They’re exercising more, eating smarter, and smoking less than previous generations… And this is one space where they’re willing to spend money on compelling brands.”

Millennials are using fitness apps more than other age groups, and young women are using them twice as much as men are. This is confirmed by the stats that indicate 46% want as much data about their fitness as possible, while 54% are likely to buy an analyzing device.

These stats are why it’s likely that the rise of the boutique, bespoke studio is going to continue as they’re perfectly poised to serve millennials since they offer more personalisation and unique fitness experiences. While such these studios might cost up to four times as much as a normal gym, they tend to have a much lower rate of member attrition.

What’s in Store for Fitness?

As the number of individuals looking for fitness solutions and motivation increases, the amount of options will also see an increase. So, what are the biggest areas where the fitness industry will see growth in the rest of 2018 and into 2019?

In the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual survey 4000 fitness professionals representing organizations that include American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, National Council on Strength and Fitness, and The Cooper Institute from 41 countries were asked to rank 40 potential fitness trends (not fads) on a 10-point scale and these were the results.

At the top of the trend list was HIIT, almost predictably, followed by Group training, like fitness classes, and wearable technology. The other trends to keep an eye out for included bodyweight training, strength training as well as educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals and yoga, personal  training, fitness programs for older adults and, finally, functional fitness.

Solid Growth Opportunity

According to the IHRASA, more than one in five Americans belongs to at least one health club or studio, the room for growth is undeniable. With a greater focus on health and happiness among the younger generation, appealing to their sensibilities and desires seems to be a bit of a golden egg in the fitness realm.

The IHRSA’s Executive Vice President of Global Products, Jay Ablondi stated, “Club operators continue to find innovative ways to engage consumers in order to meet their increasing demands for fitness programs, training instruction, and wellness services.”

For the business savvy investor, a F45 franchise studio provides a solid and reliable entry into one of the fastest growing markets in the world with our combination of HIIT and Group Fitness. All data points to the fitness industry continuing a dramatic expansion over the coming years and with nearly 1200 locations in 36 countries, we are set to be a top player promoting a healthy lifestyle globally. This leaves a door wide open for our studio owners to tailor a solution to appeal to eager consumers, while finding income security for years to come.

An Analysis of 2018 Fitness Industry Reports



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