Latest News

Back to Latest News back


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

Related Articles

16th March 2021 - Organisers limit ticket sales for Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix limited to vaccinated and COVID-19 recovered fans

11th March 2021 - Fitness First launches customisable gym plan for Asian members

11th March 2021 - Rapid growth sees Fitness Business Sales expand its staff team

10th March 2021 - Peloton launches interactive fitness platform in Australia with plans for retail locations

10th March 2021 - FIBO China set to be staged as hybrid event with world’s first post-COVID on-site fitness show

9th March 2021 - New fitness and lifestyle shows look to exploit post-COVID market opportunities

6th March 2021 - Mel Tempest named 2020 influencer of the year by Fitness Business Association

4th March 2021 - Highlow Fitness launches boutique HIIT subscription model

3rd March 2021 - Genesis Health and Fitness Chief Executive positive about 2021 resurgence

2nd March 2021 - VIC Active continues to highlight the safety of fitness centres

26th February 2021 - International webinar sees industry experts outline role of technology in fitness’ future

24th February 2021 - Fitness Australia welcomes NSW Government’s lifting of gym class numbers to 50 people

23rd February 2021 - Fitness Australia’s Barrie Elvish highlights the value of health

17th February 2021 - Japan’s fitness industry faces up to post-Coronavirus lockdown challenge

17th February 2021 - COVID lockdowns and their impact on Japan’s already struggling fitness industry

12th February 2021 - Fitness Australia disappointed at NSW Government’s easing of restrictions for all indoor venues except gyms

11th February 2021 - International fitness bodies launch leadership initiatives

3rd February 2021 - New fitness platform MoveMii launches to connect members with personal trainers

29th January 2021 - Barry’s launches first fitness studio in Melbourne

28th January 2021 - Revamped Anytime Fitness Forbes reopens with updated equipment

27th January 2021 - Snap Fitness starts 2021 with nine new clubs in nine weeks

25th January 2021 - Fitness First launches ‘Put Yourself First’ campaign

25th January 2021 - Australia’s Fitness and Recreation Industry Technology Summit to return as an in-person event in July

21st January 2021 - New research shows Barre classes to be world’s most-searched fitness class trend

12th March 2021 - Vaccinations will determine ‘return to normal’ after COVID

7th October 2020 - One in five of the world’s gyms remain closed

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

WATERPLAY Solutions Corp

Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Waterparks


The Jump Pad

The Jump Pad is a safe, flat inflatable made in a variety of sizes which can be used indoor or outdoor. From 3mx3m up to a whopping 9mx21m. Markets include Indoor and outdoor playgrounds, schools,…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Play


SeatGeek Asia Pacific

SeatGeek is a search engine and mobile-focused ticket marketplace that allows fans to buy and sell tickets for live events. As of August 2018, SeatGeek has exited the Australian, New…

read more

Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing / Venues


Aflex Inflatables

Aflex Inflatables are the leaders for obstacle courses, pool toys, waterparks and land-based watersides and fitness runs. They are industry leaders offering the widest range of pool, lake and beach…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks


Augmented Creative

Augmented Creative is an open organization of like-minded and highly dedicated, creative people who conceive, plan and execute visual solutions. We pursue new and innovative visual ideas to help…

read more

Arts / Attractions / Consultants / Design / Tourism


BioLab Australia Pty Ltd

BioGuard is Australia and New Zealand’s most trusted supplier of premium, innovative and affordable commercial water treatment systems and chemicals. BioGuard offers a comprehensive range of…

read more

Aquatics / Technology / Waterparks


Centaman Entrance Control

Turnstile Entry Systems and Access Control Centaman Entrance Controls’ Award Winning Range of Access Control Systems includes tripod & triarm turnstiles, speedgates, full height…

read more

Access / Entertainment / Sport / Ticketing / Venues



Commercial Aquatics Australia provides aquatic solutions nationwide and is one of the largest and most experienced companies specialising in the design, construction, renovation, service, maintenance…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business