Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Japan’s fitness industry adapts to ageing demographics

Japan’s fitness industry adapts to ageing demographics
June 28, 2018

Japan’s fitness industry, the fourth largest in the world by revenue, is facing up to the challenge of its full service clubs, which have been at the core of its growth for decades, catering for an ageing demographic.

As reported by the Nikkei Asian Review these clubs - typically large, multistory complexes equipped with gyms, pools and studio rooms - are seeing their traditional members age rapidly, while exercise-conscious millennials find lower cost clubs and studioes more attractive.

International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) Asia-Pacific Director, John Holsinger explains that full-service operators "are serving the aging group very well, but that doesn't leave a whole lot of growth opportunity.

“They are asking, how do we get the younger age group to come in?"

Japan's fitness industry evolved from the swimming schools that emerged after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. While less than 4% of Japanese are enrolled in private fitness clubs, as of 2017, industry revenue topped US$5 billion, making it the fourth largest in the world.

Noteably, industry growth has largely been driven by people aged 60 and over attending full-service clubs.

Tokyo-based Central Sports reported that over 60s now make up nearly 40% of its membership, with Central Sports President Seiji Goto advising in a recent earnings briefing "the proportion of members in their 70s is growing.

"The overwhelming majority of people in their 70s had never participated in a sports club ... but the number is increasing rapidly."

Renaissance, another large fitness club chain, has also seen the ratio of 60-plus members increase to 32.5% from 26.9% over the past five years.

These figures are backed by data from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs which shows that, on average, people in their 60s spend more on sports facilities than any other age group.

Another challenge for clubs is that building new integrated facilities has become increasingly difficult due to rising land prices and construction costs.

Operators are also trying to improve efficiency by replacing staff with technology and exploring other options for the ageing market by offering anti-dementia programs and partnering with aged care initiaitives.

Renaissance's Genki Gym, a fitness-focused nursing home, targets people 65 and over that are classified by the Government as requiring nursing care offering slow-moving exercises used for rehabilitation led by certified trainers.

Central Sports is also making a foray into nursing care prevention supporting exercise events held by cities and districts. Such events are on the rise after a 2006 revision to Japan's nursing care insurance law put a greater focus on preventing people from entering expensive nursing care insurance schemes.

The changing market has also opened up opportunities for lower cost and 24/7 operators.

Women-only fitness franchise Curves now offers short, group-oriented programs that have proven popular among seniors as part of plan to reinvigorate the group’s operations outside of its base in the USA.

The Anytime Fitness 24/7 chain has also grown significantly in recent years with low cost offering popular among millennials, with membership fees less than half of those of full service gyms.

Typically located inside buildings near a train station, the small facilities are only staffed during daylight hours.

Since launching in Japan in 2010, the US-based franchise has 350 outlets in Japan, run by its local franchise partner while another local budget gym brand, Joyfit, also has more than 200 clubs.

Images: Central Sports Tokyo (top), exhibitors at the 2017 Health and Fitness Japan Expo/Sportec Japan (middle) and Anytime Fitness opens another Japanese club (below).

6th June 2018 - IHRSA REPORT SHOWS 22 MILLION MEMBERS AT FITNESS CLUBS ACROSS KEY ASIA-PACIFIC MARKETS

29th June 2017 - ASIA’S LEADING FITNESS TRADE SHOW GROWS BY 30% 

10th March 2017 - NEW GROUP FITNESS CONCEPTS FOR TRAINERS AND STUDIOS TO BE UNVEILED AT FIBO 2017 

20th July 2016 - F45 TRAINING SET TO REACH 700 FRANCHISES WORLDWIDE 

18th July 2016 - ANYTIME FITNESS RETAINS TOP PLACE ON ANNUAL TOP GLOBAL FRANCHISE LIST 

28th June 2016 - ARCHITECTURAL ‘REINVENTION’ OF THE MODERN FITNESS CLUB AT JAPANESE FACILITY

30th April 2016 - ORANGETHEORY FITNESS SIGNS DEAL FOR 70 STUDIOS IN JAPAN

6th November 2015 - ANYTIME FITNESS’ GLOBAL GROWTH INCLUDES 100 GYM OPENINGS IN JAPAN 

1st November 2013 - ASIAN EXPANSION FOR ANYTIME FITNESS 

17th August 2012 - EQUITY PARTNERS BUY INTO CURVES INTERNATIONAL

21st March 2011 - ANYTIME FITNESS IN JAPAN UNHARMED AFTER EARTHQUAKE 

20th June 2010 - JAPAN AGREEMENT LEADS ANYTIME FITNESS INTO ASIA


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 www.ausleisure.com.au 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

Mattioli

Mattioli provides award winning painting, flooring and waterproofing services to the aquatics and recreation sector. We’re recognised as the leading contractor in the industry with award-winning…

read more

Aquatics / Recreation / Safety

 
 

SKC Operations Pty Ltd (SKCorp)

SKC Operations Pty Ltd (SKCorp) is an expert retail and marketing services team specialising in sports, leisure, aquatics, fitness, health, wellness & recreation industry. Using proven…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Fitness / Marketing / Retail

 
 
 

QUAYCLEAN

Quayclean are a national cleaning and waste services partner with proven results in the understanding and delivery of cleaning needs and challenges faced by facilities including; major venues and…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Surfaces / Venues

 
 

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

 
 

DEBITSUCCESS

Over the past 10 years Debitsuccess has been providing expert billing services to businesses across Australia. Debitsuccess is now the largest full service direct debit provider in Australasia,…

read more

Billing / Finance / Fitness / Golf / Recreation

 
 

REGUPOL

Regupol Australia Pty Ltd offers a comprehensive range of recycled rubber fitness and leisure flooring surfaces. Their range of products include everroll rubber flooring, Regupol elastic…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Safety / Surfaces

 
 

SICO SOUTH PACIFIC

SICO is at the forefront in innovative mobile folding and rolling, space efficient tables, stages, dance floors and many other products which help our customers optimise their use of space. Image…

read more

Entertainment / Events / Venues

 
 
 
 

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