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IBISWorld report suggests personal training market set for strong recovery

IBISWorld report suggests personal training market set for strong recovery
October 11, 2022

The market for personal trainers is forecast to recover strongly in 2023 and 2024 according to a recently published report from market researchers IBISWorld.

The industry report, Fighting fit: Personal Trainers in Australia, looks at personal training over an 11 year period - the five years from 2017 and the six years to 2028 - charting “rising health consciousness and a growing interest in weight-loss programs and fitness regimes” as supporting demand for personal training.

It goes on to highlight that “overweight consumers preferred personal training to gym memberships because these services are typically more specialised and results oriented”.

However, impacted by the pandemic, IBISWorld figures show a decline in personal training revenue at an annualised 3.2% over the five years through from 2018 to 2023, to $491.1 million.

Looking forward, it anticipates growth of 1.8% in 2022-23, as industry demand and revenue continue to recover from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and backed by “solid growth in household discretionary income” which will limit industry revenue declines.

Overall, industry revenue is forecast to grow at an annualised 3.5% over the five years through to 2027-28, to total $583.9 million.

Commenting on the conditions impacting the sector, IBISWorld Analyst, Alen Allday writes “in addition to weaker demand, personal trainers have been subject to strong competition from both internal and external sources.

“Consumers that are motivated to exercise by themselves often substitute personal training for less expensive options, such as online exercise guides or gym memberships. However, continued heath awareness, promoted through TV programs and government initiatives, has helped keep consumers aware of industry activities.”

One of a series of reports on the fitness industry published by IBISWorld over recent months - the others are Bound to work out: Gyms and Fitness Centres in Australia and Out of breath: Women's Gyms in Australia - Fighting fit also points to personal training as being “projected to approach a saturation point as a growing number of entrants boosts competition, limiting pricing growth.”

Looking at this competition, the report advises that “generally, the same factors that influence other fitness industries also affect the personal trainers industry.

“Industry operators therefore face competition from alternative fitness options, including gym memberships, home exercise and sport participation. While these activities can be performed in conjunction with personal training, competition grows when household factors and economic conditions make paying for exercise a greater concern.

“Over the past five years, these competing services have offered cheaper and more accessible alternative exercise options, which has increased their appeal to many individuals.

“The appeal of the industry's services stems from the specialisation and the higher quality of exercise that personal trainers provide. Therefore, clients tend to use industry services to engage in fitness activities with greater effectiveness. If trainers can demonstrate their value in this manner, they are more likely to attract and retain clients.”

Looking at the market for personal training, noting more than half of the primary market is female, Fighting fit looks at three age categories.

People Aged 15 to 34
This age group represents the largest market to the industry, at approximately 47.2% of industry revenue in the current year.

Consumers in this market are typically more concerned with appearance and have greater exposure to media and advertising that promotes fit and healthy lifestyles. Although the younger half of this age group generally have lower incomes, they are often still financially reliant on parents and are therefore able to spend more of their income on discretionary services such as personal training.

The older half of this group typically have steady income streams to spend on a range of sport and leisure activities, including personal training services. 

Furthermore, some women in this age bracket will use personal training services after giving birth, due to the physical stress experienced and weight gained during pregnancy. 
Although demand from this market is relatively high, this market's share of revenue has declined over the past five years as other markets have grown at a faster rate.

People Aged 35 to 54
Australians aged 35 to 54 years are projected to account for 35.6% of industry revenue in 2022-23.

This age group represents a significant growth market for the industry as these consumers typically have well established careers and a steady source of income. Personal trainers are beginning to target busy, high-income earners in this age bracket who prefer the flexible times and locations of the industry. Furthermore, as people age and their metabolisms slow, they are more likely to demand personal training services and fitness programs. Women are choosing to have children at a later age, which has also increased demand from this market over the past five years.

People Aged 55 and Over
Accounting for a projected 17.2% of revenue in the current year, this age group is another important area of growth for the industry.

Australia's ageing population has expanded this market as older people realise the benefit of maintaining their health and improving their quality of life. Many personal trainers offer training programs and exercises specific to seniors, which do not create as much strain on the body and are therefore increasingly preferred to non-personal services.

This market's share of industry revenue has grown over the past five years, due to the ageing population and generally higher wealth and income than other markets.

Click here for more information on Fighting fit: Personal Trainers in Australia (Industry demand and revenue are rebounding as COVID-19 pandemic), IBISWorld Industry Report OD4195.

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