Twenty-two percent of U.S. health clubs and studios have closed permanently since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the U.S. fitness industry has lost $29.2 billion in revenue, according to findings by the National Health & Fitness Alliance (NHFA).
Working with 11 membership billing companies and industry consultant Rick Caro, the NHFA, which is part of IHRSA, tracked COVID-19's impact on gyms, consumer trends, closure rates, and reopening data.
The fitness industry had experienced 10 years of revenue growth prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the mandated closures of health clubs in many states to try to stop the spread of the virus. The industry’s revenue dropped 52 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, equating to a loss of $29.2 billion in revenue from March 2020 through June 2021, according to the NHFA.
Revenue loss was no doubt a contributing factor in 22 percent of health clubs and studios permanently closing since 2019.
With the temporary closures and the subsequent permanent closures of health clubs and studios, about 1.5 million people lost their jobs in the industry, according to NHFA. That equates to 47 percent of jobs in the industry.
Ninety-four percent of people who are active exercisers say they will return to their gyms, and a June survey of 2,000 people in major U.S. markets found that almost 50 percent plan to return to their club within the next six to 12 months, according to a report by IHRSA.
The NHFA is urging club and studio operators as well as their members to reach out to members of Congress to ask them to support the GYMS Act, a bill that would provide financial relief to the fitness industry. So far, the bill has 150 sponsors in the House of Representatives.