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01 Jul 2024
Lack of time and money still barriers to US health club membership finds YouGov
By Kath Hudson
Lack of time and money still barriers to US health club membership finds YouGov
Low-cost operators like PureGym make gym membership more affordable
Photo: Paul Calver
According to research carried out in the US by YouGov, cost is the main reason for cancelling gym memberships, followed by a change of circumstances and lack of time.

Forty one per cent of those surveyed about the reason for cancelling their memberships said it was because it was too expensive; 25 per cent said it was because of a change in their personal circumstances and 23 per cent cited time as the reason.

Nineteen per cent terminated their contracts because they moved house and 19 per cent said they could get the results they wanted on their own, while 14 per cent didn’t like the experience.

Ten per cent thought they could find a better option; 9 per cent said their studio/gym closed and 8 per cent said the times were no longer convenient.

Friends no longer attending was the reason given by 5 per cent; another 5 per cent didn’t achieve the results they wanted.

Two per cent didn’t know and 10 per cent said other unspecified reasons.

The survey was based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than a single questionnaire and was representative of the online population, weighted by age, gender, education, region and race.

Liz Clark, CEO and president of the Health and Fitness Association (formerly IHRSA) says surveys such as this can fail to take into account the nuances of an incredibly broad industry, or provide a full and accurate statistical model of the diverse types of facilities visited and services offered. “We know that more consumers than ever before – some 70 million – are regularly using fitness facilities,” she told HCM.

“We also know the fitness industry continues to diversify its offerings and develop innovative ways to join as a member, participate in a class, get guidance, and improve performance.

“Some 66 percent of Americans exercise regularly and those that exercise do so consistently," said Clark. "A majority of them visit gyms and of those 30 per cent belong to multiple types or brands. Those who exercise at home choose to do so for a variety of reasons including privacy, cost, or because they live where the weather allows outdoor exercise.”

The YouGov findings broadly correlate with UK Active’s Consumer Engagement report, which is being undertakene each quarter in collaboration with insight specialist, Savanta. More than 10,000 existing, former, potential and never members were surveyed.

The most recent survey also found cost was the main reason for ending a membership; followed by not using the health club enough; the impact of the cost of living crisis, lost motivation and not having enough time.

The fact that only 5 per cent of US consumers left because they weren’t getting the results they wanted is good news for the industry.

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