10 Gym Membership Statistics You Need to Know

Jenny Weller
11 November 19
10 min read

In 2018, there were 62.5 million U.S gym members, up 2.6% from 2017. In an industry that is constantly changing, it’s crucial to keep up-to-date with the latest statistics and trends surrounding gym memberships. Like all membership-based companies, people are at the core of your business. It’s the people, your members, that help lead to your success and increase revenue. 

By staying on top of the latest information, you can use it to underpin business decisions and planning. Find out who is more likely to sign up to a gym membership and stick to it as well as what members are really hitting the gym for. In this article, we will walk you through all the gym membership statistics you need to know right now. 

Gym Membership is Increasing

Research from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) shows that the health industry is serving 71.5 million people. In 2018, consumers visited their health clubs more than six billion times, increasing from the previous year. Based on a study from the IHRSA, about 1 in 5 Americans belong to a health club or studio. It makes sense that as the number of health clubs and gyms has risen, so has the number of members. 

The fitness industry is continuing to see growth with an increase in fitness facilities, total industry revenue, and consumer growth. As consumers place a lot of value on their health and wellbeing, they are investing in health club access and services to meet their health and fitness goals. With the rise of boutique fitness, many studios have completely transformed the way we think about the traditional gym. 

The boutique fitness movement is backed by a generation of members who take a big interest in their health and fitness. Gen Z and Millennials are a group of consumers who are willing to pay a premium price for health-related services. They want connectivity, community, and an innovative approach to wellness. Xponential Fitness is considered one of the most innovative companies in the world according to the Fast Company. The brand owns different boutique fitness businesses including Purebarre, Stretchlab, Yoga Six, and Club Pilates Cyclebar. 

10 Gym Membership Statistics to Boost Your Membership Retention 

To many people, the gym is about more than exercise. It’s where people connect, hang out and work toward their goals. If you’ve ever wondered what people do most at the gym or the odds that a gym member makes it past the six-month mark, we take a look at 10 gym membership statistics and trends so you can discover more about your members, increase engagement and boost retention. 

1. 12% of New Members Join in January

You’ve probably met these people, some of us have been these people. Every New Year brings new members through the door. More than 12% of new members join in January. During January, Google searches for health and fitness peak. It’s the time of year that you get a load of shiny new faces through the door with several new goals to hit. But, how long do they last?

Out of these new January-joining members, 80% will quit within five months and 14% quit before the end of February. According to research from Coupon Cabin, 56% of current members don’t like New Year’s resolutioners. Even with the best intentions, it seems to take a lot for members to keep up their new healthy workout regime after the holiday period is over. So, what can you do? 

According to Strava’s 2018 Year in Sport report, there are ways for individuals to stick to their resolutions. About 94% of users who set goals remain active nine months later. Strava’s data also shows that when we work out in groups, we tend to run and cycle 21% further and work out 10% longer.   

2. Half of New Members Quit Within Six Months 

The majority of health clubs and gyms lose 50% of their new members within the first six months. Annually, a very small amount of health clubs lose less than 30% of their members. This presents gym owners and fitness professionals with a significant opportunity to connect with more members in a more meaningful way. Sadly, membership cancellations are part of the business. However, if you notice you’re losing members at an uncomfortable rate, it’s time to step in. 

One way to pick up on problems that could be causing gym members to leave you is a gym membership cancellation survey. Take the chance to ask members why they are leaving. Of course, there are understandable reasons why a member may leave but, it could be something within your control. The survey lets you know the reason behind a cancellation. You can then fix the problem quickly, so another member doesn’t leave for the same reason. 

3. The Difference Between Men and Women 

When it comes to canceling gym memberships, 8% of men quit within the first year compared to 14% of women. According to research by Pureprofile, there is virtually no difference between men and women in how frequently they exercise. The industry report showed that females are more likely to engage in swimming and yoga while men are more likely to participate in cycling and other sports.  

Research also shows that a smartphone plays a big role in exercise for both men and women, with 46% and 43%, respectively, using a smartphone at the gym. It’s thought that men and women join the gym at about the same rate. When it comes to wearables, Fitbit and Apple Watch are popular among both groups. 

4. Top Reasons for Quitting the Gym 

There are several reasons why someone may quit the gym. One of the main reasons members quit is due to cost. In a report by IHRSA, 38% left a health club as it was too expensive. Based on a study of 1,000 Americans aged 16 and older, 23% quit the gym because they are not using it. Other top reasons to quit the gym include losing motivation, feeling out of place, no gym buddy, moving away, and not seeing results quick enough. 

In a study by The Retention People, they found that health club members are more likely to renew their gym membership if they participate in group exercises. During the study, researchers analyzed 10,000 UK health and fitness members and followed up with them over regular intervals to measure their habits and behaviors. They found that 48% when to the gym for one activity, 32% for two and 20% for three or more activities. The risk of canceling was 56% higher in gym-only members compared to group exercisers. 

5. 18% of Members Hit the Gym Consistently 

More than 62.5 million gym members visit the gym 104 days per year while 9 million non-members hit the gym an average of 24 days every year. About 18% of members actually go to the gym consistently. 

Out of those who actively use their gym membership, 49.9% get to the gym at least twice a week. Another 24.2% make it to the gym at least once a week. Although about half of Americans have a gym membership, 53.2% of people with gym memberships also own some sort of home exercise equipment.    

6. The Average Gym Member Earns $75,000 a Year 

The average annual income of a gym member is $75,000. More and more people are signing up for fitness studios, health clubs, and gyms. The average American spends more than $50 a month on a gym membership, $58 to be exact. Specialty and boutique gyms are one of the fastest-growing types of club. Brands like SoulCycle, FlyWheel, and CrossFit all fit into this category. 

Millennials will spend an average of $112,000 on fitness purchases over their lifetime. This figure is broken up between gym memberships, health supplements, personal trainers, clothing, and meal plans.  

7. Health Club Membership Grown 37% 

Since 2008, health club membership has grown by 37.1%. The total number of club-goers has also increased by 34%. Generally, gyms have a considerably large number of gym memberships even when the facility holds a lot less. Planet Fitness has around 6,500 members per gym and the facility can only hold about 300 people at any one time. Commercial gyms need roughly 10X the members that can fit in their fitness facility. 

Although there may be a record number of people with gym memberships, they aren’t hitting the gym consistently. Less than 50% of all members go to the gym 100 times or more every year. Interestingly, Colorado is the state with the highest gym member participation rate, with 21% of members going to the gym consistently. 

8. 62.5 Million U.S Members at Health and Fitness Clubs 

In 2018, there were 62.5 million gym members in the United States. From 2000 to 2017, gym membership rates have experienced study growth over the past several years. In 2017, there were 38,477 gyms in the U.S. Brazil has a similarly high number as it’s home to 30,000 fitness centers. The fitness industry continues to grow and expand with an increase in gym memberships, facilities, and revenue. 

It’s no surprise that interest in gym membership peaks in January but it seems to dip in May, July and throughout the fourth quarter. If you know that you’re likely to see a drop in interest over these months, it’s a great opportunity to run a gym promotion during this time. A gym promotion is a fantastic way to boost engagement, membership numbers and encourage loyalty. 

9. Members Use the Gym to Pick Up Dates

Some members use the gym to increase their fitness and lose weight, others use it to pick up dates. 50% of gym-goers claim they go just to check out the opposite sex. Almost 30% of members say they don’t break into a sweat because their too busy chatting to other members. In a study by 2,000 people by Kettler, 13% of people actually lie about going to the gym instead, they go somewhere else.  

The data shows that gyms are a place for people to connect, meet friends and even pick up a date. This is something to take into consideration when you’re making decisions. Does your gym have a good community? Do you make it easy for people to connect and encourage group fitness? 

10. Americans Spend $1.8 Billion in Unused Gym Memberships 

Americans spend a staggering $1.8 billion on unused gym memberships annually. That’s 6.3% of Americans that have a membership that they just don’t use. Over half of the American population pays for a gym membership, even if they never go. It’s pretty easy to sign up for a membership in January and lose the motivation to continue but, millions of people currently pay for gym memberships and services that they don’t use.  

In Summary 

The gym is about more than exercise and fitness, it’s a place for people to connect, stay motivated and see results. Whether it’s to lose weight, get fitter or meet someone new, there are a ton of reasons why someone hits the gym. By staying up-to-date with the latest gym membership statistics, you can make data-driven decisions centered around your members.