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A third of global gym members unlikely to return to clubs after COVID vaccine

A third of global gym members unlikely to return to clubs after COVID vaccine
March 18, 2021

A new survey released by athletic apparel website, RunRepeat, finds that one third of global gym members are unlikely to return to their gym after being vaccinated for COVID-19.

RunRepeat’s latest survey of 11,193 members from 142 countries was conducted to determine how many gym members plan to return to the gym when vaccinated, how their membership status has changed, and how many are currently going to the gym.

A year ago, at the start of the lockdowns, RunRepeat found that nearly 50% of gym members didn’t plan to return to their gyms upon reopening and that more than 10% had cancelled their memberships.

A follow-up study in August found that the cancellation rate continued to increase and that less than a third of members had actually returned by that point.

Now the key findings from their latest study reveals:

  • 70.97% of gym members are still not exercising at their gyms
  • 27.52% of gym members globally and 34.94% in the USA don’t intend on returning, even after being vaccinated
  • 55.57% of gym members have either cancelled (29.80%) or paused (25.76%) their memberships
  • Less than half (48.24%) said they would return when they themselves are vaccinated
  • Another 24.24% will return, but not until their family, friends, and loved ones are also vaccinated

How many members will return after being vaccinated

USA gym members are the least likely to return to the gym upon vaccination, with 34.94% stating they wouldn’t return.

The countries with the most members looking to return after being vaccinated are Ireland (18.97%) and Great Britain (20.77%).

48.24% of members globally stated they would return to their gym when they themselves were vaccinated. While another 24.24% are waiting until their family, friends, and loved ones are also vaccinated before they return.

Gyms in countries where vaccine distribution is lagging behind can expect to have a slower return of members.

Changes in gym membership status since the pandemic

When gym members were asked how their membership status has changed since the start of the pandemic, 55.57% stated that they had either cancelled their membership (29.80%) or paused it (25.76%).

Australia has fared the best, with only a third of their members deciding to cancel (21.37%) or pause (11.97%).

Canada had the highest membership cancelation rate, with 32.88% of gym goers calling it quits.

The two of the largest markets for gyms are the US and the UK, which both have been hit hard. The US experienced a 31.63% loss in membership, with another 15.80% of members having paused.

Great Britain and Ireland saw similar cancellation rates to the US (28.20% and 32.31% respectively). The distinct difference being that a significantly larger percentage of members have paused their memberships (46.31% in GB and 49.23% in IE).

How many gym members that cancelled will return post-COVID vaccine

When those that cancelled were asked if they planned to return to the gym after being vaccinated, 51.90% of members globally said no.

The country where cancelled members are least likely to return is the USA (53.31%). This number is lowest for countries like Canada (42.47%) and Australia (44.00%).

How many gym members are going to the gym?

In previous studies, we tracked return rates to gyms, seeing only 30.98% of gym members stating that they had returned to their gym as of August, 2020.

A year after the start of the pandemic and 8 months since our last study, the return rate is not looking any better.

As of now, only 29.03% of members said they are back at their gym.

The two countries that are above the global average are the USA (35.26%) and Australia (52.99%).

Countries like Great Britain, Ireland, and Canada are experiencing significantly lower return rates, ranging from only 10.77% to 15.32%.

RunRepeat’s Conclusion

Based on these findings, RunRepeat conclude that despite beliefs the COVID-19 vaccine would bring a return to normalcy and save the gym industry, it’s clear that is not the case.

RunRepeat Fitness Research Director, Nick Rizzo highlights “while countries work on vaccine manufacturing, distribution, and administration, gyms continue to struggle. Our previous report showed that a fifth of gyms were still closed as of September of 2020, which aligned with the IHRSA’s report predicting that 25% of gyms may be permanently closed by the end of last year.

“As we continue into Q2 of 2021, the struggle to remain open, keep members engaged, and retain members will continue. Even as vaccines are distributed, it is clear that just the individual being vaccinated will not be enough for all members to return, seeing how nearly a quarter of members are waiting for their friends, family, and loved ones to also be vaccinated.

“The longer the vaccination process takes, the more likely we are to continue seeing people move away from gyms, gyms shutting their doors, and a new normal in the fitness industry to arise.”

For full report go to runrepeat.com/gyms-post-covid-vaccine

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