Fitness Industry Business is Healthy — What Trends Are Driving the Industry Forward?

Today SFIA released our annual 2017 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report — a comprehensive business analysis of the fitness industry and related participation demographics. This year’s report includes special interviews and insights from Speedo CEO John Graham, ASICS CEO, Gene McCarthy and Rollerblade President Jeremy Stonier.

Some key questions answered in this report include: What fitness product categories are downtrending? Which ones are accelerating? What’s the avg. household income for a treadmill user? How inactive is America? Where is the growth coming from? What about demographics and geographic regions for the most act

Much unlike the sporting goods sector this year, the fitness industry showed sustainability, and steady growth. One of the biggest and most consistent indicators of this growth was found in the annual increase of health club memberships. In the USA, health club membership has risen by more than 1 million participants every year since 2012.

Historically, participation spikes in prior years appeared in activities like yoga, boot camp-style workout, functional training, barre and pilates. But this year, we found new activities surging; highlighted by the recent participation upticks in new fitness activities. Much of this growth came from activities like cross-training and aquatic exercise. The in-depth interview with John Graham provides insights on advances in aquatic exercise techniques and products, which are contributing to the growth in this area.

Overall, aquatic exercise, cross-training style workouts and stair-climbing machines saw the highest uptick in year-over-year growth.

One of the highest YOY upticks we saw in this entire report was Core Participation (50x+ per year) using Bodyweight Exercises and Bodyweight Accessories. We saw this category accelerate by nearly 20%.

While there was a clear dichotomy in the relative health of the sporting goods vs. fitness industry this past year, our findings have continuously shown both industries are sharing the same problems — rising costs and inactivity.

From this year’s report, the data is clear: families with incomes above $75,000 show increasing activity levels throughout. In contrast, families with incomes below $75,000 show a growing level of inactivity.

SFIA authored the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Bill to address the rising costs of activity, by allowing consumers to use their Health Savings Accounts for purchases that enable activity, so: gym memberships, yoga classes, treadmills, baseball bats, etc. — all tax free. To learn more on the progress of that Bill, please visit here.

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On the inactivity side, the good news is the total number of inactive Americans dropped from 81.6M last year to 81.4M this year. The bad news is there are still 81.4M, or 27.5% Americans, who did not self-identify as participating in a single sport/activity all year long. A trend our industry must break through.

Over the course of the next several weeks, SFIA will be working closely with our member brands to help communicate and implement insights from this report into their businesses and future planning. Please reach out for a sample copy if interested or visit this link.

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