Consistent with historical trends, the IHRSA 2017 Health Club Consumer Report found that more than two-thirds of health club members in 2016 were Caucasian (69 percent/39.6 million). African Americans (11 percent/6.6 million), Hispanics (10 percent/5.9 million) and Asians/Pacific Islanders (7 percent/4 million) were represented at all club types but, in some cases, found better per-capita representation at studios and niche facilities.
"If this trend continues in the years to come, studios may reap the profits of serving a consumer base that seems to be overlooked by other commercial clubs," according to the report.
Those of Asian/Pacific-Islander descent are especially drawn to mind-body and indoor cycling/rowing studios, the report said. Hispanics are often consumers of boot camp/cross-training and personal and small group training studios. African Americans are more likely to be members of boxing/martial arts/MMA and indoor cycling/rowing studios.
Although only 4.3 million Asians/Pacific Islanders were health club members in 2016, this group accounted for the highest index rating among all ethnic groups: 138. This means American health club members are more likely to have Asian/Pacific Islander heritage when measured against the overall U.S. population.
Other index ratings: Caucasians, 101; African Americans, 88; Hispanics, 86.
The report states: "An Index compares a group to the actual percent that group represents of the total U.S. population; an index of 100 means the percentage of a group’s participants equals the percent of the national population who participate."
View this clickable gallery for a breakdown of ethnic representation at 11 major club types.
The Health Club Consumer Report surveyed 24,134 American adults on a wide array of fitness topics in 2017. It includes insights for better engaging club members from all demographics—Millennials, Generation X, Generation Z and Seniors—as well as data on age, gender and the appeal of various club models.
View the complete report here.