In February, IHRSA published The IHRSA Trend Report: Volume 3, Issue 3.
The quarterly trend report – conducted in partnership with the Leisure Trends Group – analyses health club consumer behaviour among Americans aged 16 and older. The latest report compares findings from the second and third quarters of 2013.
According to the report, membership reached an all-time high during the quarter ending 30 June 2013, due largely to increased participation among Millennials (Generation Y: members between the ages of 21 and 30). One-in-four Millennials (27 per cent) reported belonging to a health club – the largest penetration rate of any generation to date.
“For health clubs wanting to attract and maintain Millennials, findings suggest focusing on programmes aimed at retaining these members beyond their short-term membership agreements,” says Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products. “Targeted seasonal activity and sports-specific training programmes will also be effective at maintaining and improving membership levels among this group.”
Also reported are findings and club opportunities based on gender. When it comes to maintaining their membership, women say they continue using their club because they want to get in shape, it’s convenient, and they want to attend group exercise classes. Men say they return to have fun, because they feel an obligation to make use of the money they spend on their membership, and for social interaction.
Says Ablondi: “The social opportunities that come from attending a health club are increasingly important to consumers, and clubs should offer events that allow members to interact socially.”
For those who cancelled their memberships, expense was claimed as the number one reason; it was also the main factor claimed to put people off joining in the first place. “The Trend Report discusses ways to make price-sensitive consumers more comfortable, such as offering new member promotions and tiered membership options,” says Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA senior research manager.
Each quarterly report contains responses and analysis based on the following questions:
1. Are you currently a member of a health club (a dues-paying member with a PAYG, monthly, seasonal or annual pass)?
2. What keeps you coming back to use the health club you currently belong to?
3. Which of the following are personal goals for using the club you currently belong to?
4. What keeps you from joining a club now?
5. Why did you leave your former club?