With the increasing awareness of weight control and good nutrition, gym and fitness franchises are flourishing. Beauty and fitness standards set by social media’s 24/7 connectivity and digital tracking devices like Fitbit or Apple’s Health app provide a constant motivation for movement. Gym fees are viewed less as leisurely spending, and more as an investment into a healthy lifestyle. Add the rising popularity of niche activities and you’ll find there is more demand for fitness franchises than ever.
While traditional gyms still hold a large stake in the fitness industry, niche franchises that focus on spinning, yoga, group personal training, CrossFit, boxing and barre are finding a key place in the market.
There is a large concentration of gym and fitness franchises in the Southeast, accounting for 23.1 percent of total establishments. The Mid-Atlantic, West, and Great Lakes regions follow with 18.9, 16.1, and 15.2 percent respectively, totaling a whopping 73 percent of total establishments.
Here’s a look at the top five states:
California boasts 10.8 percent of establishments and has upward of 38.8 million residents. 2014 study by MapMyFitness, Californians logged 87 minutes per person of fitness activity a day. Additionally, a 2015 study conducted by Fractl and EllipticalReviews.com showed Californians were responsible for 46,000 plus tweets about workout intentions out of 311,000 tweets studied. The tweets “reflect the highly active and diverse fitness routines of people living in a big city,” EllipticalReviews stated.
2. New York
New York comes in at number 2, and boasts 7.1 percent. High earning areas, such as Manhattan show that household disposable income is another large determinate when it comes to the growth of fitness franchises. Rising discretionary funds and more leisure time lead to more demand in the industry. Additionally, many large companies now provide gym membership reimbursement, leading consumers to take advantage of the free service and health benefits.
Texas makes up 6 percent of establishments, and according to MapMyFitness’ 2014 study, is the fourth highest state for weekly running time. Due to a sizable population, gym and fitness franchises are especially prevalent, with consumers looking for convenience in location. Franchises in largely populated areas (central business districts, urban housing) will have higher membership rates as consumers don’t need to travel extreme distances to work out.
Florida holds 5.5 percent of fitness franchises in the states. According to a 2014 article in the Miami Herald, South Floridians were early adopters of boutique trend franchises such as FlyWheel and Bar Method where they felt they could create more of a community after boredom at traditional gyms. Trending health crazes tend to have a positive effect on the industry, creating more demand for classes or even new studios that specialize in a particular focus. However, they can also cause problems for standing competitors. One example would be yoga’s rising popularity, especially for the lean muscle toning qualities that is especially popular among women. This reduces demand for weight training among the same crowd.
Pennsylvania rounds out the top five states with 4.7 percent of establishments. With the increasing obesity rate rising from 20.3 percent to 30.0 percent since 2000, residents of the Keystone state have been encouraged to get moving, contributing to Pennsylvania’s placement on the list. The popularity of fitness franchises in Pennsylvania may also be influenced by the challenges of exercising outdoors — highly populated areas such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have some of the worst air pollution rates in the country.
If you’re debating whether a fitness franchise is a healthy choice for your future business, keep in mind that no matter which state you live in, the ‘move more’ movement is nationwide. Elements like gym amenities, convenience and catering to your region’s climate all have an impact on a franchise’s success.