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Fitness Australia report shows massive impact of Coronavirus closures on the industry

Fitness Australia report shows massive impact of Coronavirus closures on the industry
May 1, 2020

An analysis of how the fitness industry has been impacted by the Coronavirus crisis, undertaken by Fitness Australia, has found that among clubs and studios less than 10% of staff still working and that 50% of gym owners have reported a 100% drop in revenue.

Fitness Australia’s release today of the COVID-19 Fitness Industry Impact Report shows the  devastating effect of gym shutdowns since 23rd March, laying bare the financial, social and economic impact suffered by the $3 billion a year industry that employs more than 35,000 people across more than 6,426 businesses.

The report’s analysis of boutique businesses and multi-service facilities surveyed found:

• All businesses have had to stand down employees with less than 10% of staff still working
• 70% of businesses cited a 100% decline in memberships
• 24% of businesses reported a 61% decline in memberships due to cancellations or suspensions
• Revenue was down 100% for 50% of gym owners
• Gym have only been able to generate less than 10% of their usual income through virtual or outdoor one-on-one training.

In addition, Fitness Australia’s analysis of exercise professionals and sole traders surveyed found: 

• 81% has lost their job or main source of income
• 71% had not had a single client since gyms closed on 23rd March 2020
• 44% of respondents has lost more than 61% of their income
• 90% are continuing to pay up to $5,000 per month for business expenses despite not operating
• Less than 10% of clients had transitioned to virtual platforms or one-on-one training.

Explaining that while the industry is supportive of the government measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, Fitness Australia Chief Executive, Barrie Elvish (pictured) stated “Australians spend more than $8.5 billion every year on fitness and a large portion of this is spend on gym memberships, personal training, fitness classes and bootcamps. The closures, which affected all types gyms and fitness facilities, and shortly after outdoor bootcamps, meant these businesses had suffered significantly.

“The safety of the community comes first but the impact has been devastating for the fitness industry. Our Report shows this impact has been felt by everyone from personal trainers and sole operators right through to the large gym franchises - no one is unaffected."

Adding that the ‘mothballing’ of thousands of businesses as a result of gym closures was having devastating effect, Elvish said the industry is willing to do whatever it takes to get gyms reopened safely as soon as possible - both from an economic and overall wellbeing perspective.

He added “the industry is committed and onboard to do whatever is needed to reopen. We all want to ensure gym members and employees have the peace of mind to safely return to the gym, do a workout or take part in a group glass.

“Fitness Australia has prepared a draft reopening framework to ensure gyms can reopen safely as soon as possible. This is currently with all state and territory health departments for consideration. It was very encouraging to see the NT government include the staged reopening of gyms in their announcement yesterday.

“In addition to the financial benefits of getting gyms reopened, the role exercise plays in our overall health and mental wellbeing cannot be underestimated and it will become more apparent as restrictions are eased back.”

“Gyms and the broader fitness industry will have a vital role in ensuring the ongoing health and wellbeing of Australians during and following COVID-19.”

Elvish went on to welcome the news that businesses, restaurants and gyms across the country should prepare to reopen in this afternoon’s briefing by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The COVID-19 Fitness Industry Impact Report surveyed a broad snapshot of the industry including exercise professionals and sole traders, through to boutique businesses and multi-service facilities.

Click here to view the Report.

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7th April 2020 - Two-thirds of the world’s fitness clubs are currently closed

2nd April 2020 - Fitness Australia encourages Australians to ‘Keep on Moving’

31st March 2020 - With clubs closed fitness providers go online

24th March 2020 - Fitness Australia shares clarification on what constitutes a gym

24th March 2020 - FITREC’s Dennis Hosking slams ‘cavalier and irresponsible approach’ of Fitness Australia in promoting continuation of outdoor training services

23rd March 2020 - Fitness Australia calls for urgent government clarification around gym closures

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18th March 2020 - Fitness Australia’s Barrie Elvish says ‘gyms do not need to close’

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