Boutique Studio Visits Declined in Second Quarter, Foursquare Says

Cycling Studio Class
(Photo by Thinkstock.) Foursquare's data showed that boutique studios are oversaturated in some markets. The number of cycling studios doubled between June 2015 and June 2017, but the visits per studio location decreased 30 percent in second quarter 2017 compared to the same quarter two years ago.

The boutique studio trend may be slowing, according to data from Foursquare, the location intelligence company. Even though cycling studios doubled in number between June 2015 and June 2017, the visits per studio location decreased 30 percent in second quarter 2017 compared to the same quarter two years ago.

Boutique studios did have a 19 percent growth in visit share during the first six months of 2017, but that is down from a 34 percent increase in visits during the first half of 2016, according to the data, which looked at explicit check-ins from Foursquare Swarm and passive visits from both Foursquare apps.

Specialty fitness studios are oversaturated in some markets with 20 percent of Pilates and yoga studios having gone out of business between 2015 and 2016, according to Foursquare. Foursquare Editor-at-Large Sarah Spagnolo stated in an article about the research that "these specialty fitness studios are likely to face financial challenges ahead if individual locations cannot increase attendance and max out capacity."

In the meantime, high-end health clubs might be on the rise. In the first six months of 2016, the visit share growth for high-end clubs was flat while for the first half of this year it was seven percent.  

Low-cost clubs, such as Planet Fitness, had a 10 percent increase in visit share during the first six months compared to 11 percent in the first six months of 2016. Despite that slight decline, 25 percent of all gym goers went to a Planet Fitness during the second quarter, according to the data.   

In the broader U.S. health club market, health clubs experienced a two percent drop in overall visitors with 31 percent going to the gym in second quarter 2017 compared to 33 percent going in second quarter 2016. However, health clubs had a two percent increase in visits in the second quarter of 2017 compared to second quarter 2016. Much of the increase in visits was due to more visits by existing members than by new members.

When asked about whether data from Foursquare might be skewed to a certain demographic, Spagnolo responded in an email: "Foursquare data is normalized against the U.S. census to adjust for any changes in audience size and demographic skew, and to ensure that our data is truly reflective of the U.S. population. So that concern has been addressed. Note that our analytics has proven to be accurate time and time again, when we accurately predicted Chipotle revenue, iPhone sales, and more." 

Foursquare noted this about how the data was collected: "Foursquare analyzes foot traffic data from more than 50 million monthly global users of its Foursquare City Guide and Foursquare Swarm apps and websites, which people use to explore the world and check in. These location-based apps help us understand trends and notable societal shifts. Our user data is always anonymized and aggregated. All data was normalized against U.S. census data in order to ensure that the analysis accurately reflects the U.S. population, and removes any age, gender or geographical bias."

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