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Fitness Industry Growth Still Anticipated

From an article by Pamela Kufahl in Club Industry's Fitness
Image for Georgio Salas
Updated: Feb 2, 2009
Word count: 398 · Read time: 3 mins

Fitness Industry Growth Still Anticipated

From an article by Pamela Kufahl in Club Industry's Fitness

February 2, 2009

Despite the economy, rising unemployment and price cutting at many health club companies, several polls indicate that the fitness industry will fare better than other industries during this recession.

The fitness industry is still projected to grow this year by 4 percent, according to IBISWorld Inc., an industry and market research company. Anthony Gikas, a senior research analyst with Piper Jaffray, was quoted in the St. Paul (MN) Pioneer Press as saying that the health club industry is still expected to grow 5 percent to 10 percent a year — although he did say that slower growth might occur for the next year or two. Financial Week magazine predicted that despite the economy, the health club industry would increase by 2.2 percent in 2009 and listed it as one of the industries that would prosper this year. The magazine noted that with the obesity epidemic and the aging Baby Boomer population, plus rising health care costs, insurers and corporations would have reasons to promote preventive practices, such as health club memberships. Some of the top club operators also indicated that they expect growth this year. A survey of clubs who made Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro's Top 100 clubs list last year found that 10 of the 19 responders say that their membership will increase in 2009 compared to 2008. Twelve of the club operators also said that their revenue would increase in 2009, while two said it would decrease, and five indicated it would stay the same.

In early December, Money magazine surveyed its readers to see what they would not give up in the recession. One of the top items they would not give up was their gym membership. Forty-eight percent said they wouldn't give up their health club membership compared to 41 percent who wouldn't give up eating out, 35 percent who wouldn't give up their extra car and 30 percent who wouldn't give up premium cable. Items that those surveyed would give up included new gadgets (89 percent), sporting events (87 percent), big vacations (83 percent), expensive clothes (80 percent) and cultural events (78 percent).

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