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US fitness sector lost US$20bn in 2020 - but recovery is 'on the horizon'

By Tom Walker    29 Jul 2021
The fitness sector's recovery has already begun, as restrictions are being lifted across the globe / Shutterstock/Flamingo Images
The US fitness industry lost around 58 per cent of its revenues during 2020
The US market generated revenues of US$15bn during 2020 – down from US$35bn in 2019
Around 17 per cent of US health clubs were forced to close permanently during the pandemic
The report states that a bounce back will be a "long-term effort" across the global industry and uneven across fitness club segments

The US fitness industry lost around 58 per cent of its revenues during 2020, due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns and club closures.

According to the The 2021 IHRSA Global Report, the US health club market generated revenues of just US$15bn in 2020 – down from the record US$35bn it created in 2019.

The report, published this month (July 2021), also estimates that around 17 per cent of clubs in the US were forced to close permanently due to the disruption.

According to the report, the sector's recovery has already begun, due to the lifting of lockdown measures across the globe.

The bounce back will be a "long-term effort", however, across the global industry – and will be uneven across fitness club segments.

Health clubs located in regions either less impacted by COVID-19 – or with access to adequate government relief – are positioned for an imminent recovery, the report says.

Kristen Walsh, the report's associate publisher, said: “This year’s IHRSA Global Report shows that despite the pandemic, the health club industry is positioned for growth as fitness businesses recover and consumers return to gyms and studios.

"As the report bears out, the public needs the environment and support club operators provide in improving the health of their communities.”

Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s publisher and executive vice president of global products, added: "“Last year will go down in history as one of the most challenging for businesses globally, and the health and fitness industry in particular.

“However, the permanent closure of 17% of clubs in the U.S.—and even higher in some countries—has left a large segment of displaced members seeking new alternatives.

“Many surviving clubs in these markets have already seen significant increases in membership, outpacing pre-pandemic numbers. As we look to the future, all signs point to a strong comeback for the fitness industry.”

To access the full report, click here.

IHRSA  health clubs 
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