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Global study reveals key fitness industry trends

Global study reveals key fitness industry trends
September 16, 2015

A newly released study from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and ClubIntel explores the offerings of fitness professionals and gym operators around the world, and quantifies the data to reflect growth in trends over the past two years.

With the collective goal to shed light on what equipment, programs, services and technology the fitness industry is adopting and how these adoption rates are changing over time, the inaugural International Fitness Industry Trend Report, What’s All the Rage?, gathered behavioural data from a broad spectrum of industry professionals and business segments across the globe - representing over 11,000 health and fitness businesses.

The study explores more than 90 industry trends across three broad categories- programs, services and training protocols; equipment and facilities; and technology - and determines if they are emerging, niche, growing, maturing or declining.

Introducing the study, ACE President and Chief Executive Scott Goudeseune stated “this is a first-of-its kind report to measure the behaviour outcomes across the entire industry, which gives fitness professionals around the world a better understanding of what their peers offer, what’s in demand, and what’s projected for growth.

“Having access to data of this calibre can help professionals to better understand the opportunities that exist within the industry and assist them in developing a competitive business strategy to grow their businesses.”

IHRSA President and Chief Executive Joe Moore added “the International Fitness Industry Trend Report provides real-world feedback on what fitness club operators and professionals are actually utilising in the marketplace.

“The report provides an in-depth analysis of niche, emerging, and mature trends based on comprehensive responses from leading club operators and fitness professionals.”

The key findings from the report include:

• Personal training has the highest adoption rate of any program or service in the fitness industry. 
• Traditional functional fitness equipment and accessories (medicine balls, BOSU, stability balls) and flexibility/mobility equipment (foam rollers, stretch trainers and myofascial release devices) proved to be today’s hottest equipment. 
• Boot-camp training, small-group training, HIIT group exercise classes and functional resistance training have all achieved a high level of adoption and continue to show above average growth. 
• Social media is the only well-adopted technology trend. The industry has yet to fully embrace technology as a means to enhance the member/client experience and improve productivity and efficiency. Technology opportunities such as online pricing transparency, online registration and reservations for programs, selling memberships online, virtual training and club mobile applications all have opportunity to gain significantly greater adoption with the industry. 
• Senior fitness programs are among the top ten most frequently adopted industry trends. 
• Treadmills and elliptical trainers have experienced resurgence in growth in the past two years. 

Notably, a significant majority of the trends across all three categories fell into either the emerging or niche categories.

On behalf of the partners at ClubIntel Stephen Tharrett, concluded “the fact that many of these trends are either emerging or niche means one of three things.

“First, it could mean these trends are now just catching the attention of the industry and therefore hold great potential for growth.

“Second, they may truly be niche offerings destined to have low levels of industry adoption.

“Finally, they might be fads that quickly emerged and are destined to fade nearly as quickly in the years to come.

“Over the next couple of years we will have a better idea in which direction these emerging and niche trends will move.”

The data in the report is segmented by global region, business model and scope or size of the enterprise.

For a free overview of the study findings, go to or and download the executive summary of the International Fitness Trend Report.

The full report will be available to be purchased from the ClubIntel store at in early October.

Related Articles

31st August 2015 - Social media boosts consumer adoption of ‘active’ lifestyles

30th August 2015 - Latest IHRSA member retention report examines likely fitness club promoters and detractors

6th August 2015 - Is the fitness industry turning people off exercise?

9th July 2015 - Inaugural Fitness Australia National Symposium aims to inspire and connect the fitness industry

23rd February 2015 - Australian gym market to reach saturation within five years

23rd August 2014 - Traditional fitness operators missing out on millennial market

16th March 2014 - Fitness: the world’s biggest sport

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