Review 2021: Even fewer gym visits compared to the previous year
- Corona continued to have the fitness industry under control in 2021. In Germany, one of the most important fitness markets in Europe, there were around 20 percent fewer studio visits compared to 2020 – despite huge vaccination campaigns.
- In addition, 7 percent fewer new memberships were signed than in the previous year. On the other hand, 13 percent fewer cancellations were received.
- These are findings of a study by the Sport Alliance, which has analyzed data from over 2,000 sports facilities in Germany since 2019 with the help of “Magicline”, Europe’s leading management software for fitness studios.
Despite better overall circumstances in 2021, in particular due to the wide range of vaccinations, the fitness industry did not fare much better than a year earlier. One indicator for this is the number of studio check-ins. In 2021, 57 percent fewer people checked in to gyms nationwide than before the pandemic in 2019. (By comparison, there were 38 percent fewer in 2020.) The main reasons for the absence of people include the very long lockdown in Germany until May 2021, the strict access regulations tied to the vaccination status, and the fear of further infections. “The numbers of our study show the massive impact COVID had on the fitness industry in Germany. But as most studios worldwide were also particularly affected by several lockdowns and the measures that have been widely imposed on gyms and studios, our results can probably be applied to most markets worldwide.” says Maike Kumstel, International Business Development Manager at Sport Alliance.
The fitness industry once again missed the first quarter
While in 2020, gym visits rebounded to almost pre-Corona levels in May after the lockdowns, a year later, that was not the case. “The first quarter, which is so important to the fitness industry, did basically not exist in 2021 - just like the year before. We had fewer members in studios overall, fewer new memberships, and then an also very cautious behavior among people who were afraid of new infections. This is depressing the figures a lot,” says Artur Jagiello, Head of Marketing and Communication at Sport Alliance.
Fewer new memberships in 2021 compared to the previous year
The number of new memberships in Germany declined in 2021: According to the analysis, studios gained 7 percent fewer new members than in the previous year. Comparing 2019 with 2021, a total of 39 percent fewer new memberships had been signed. (By comparison, there were 33 percent fewer in 2020). Again, this reflects the strong impact of the lockdown in the first quarter, which extended into May.
Fewer cancellations in 2021
During the lockdown in the first five months of the year, many memberships lay idle so that they could not be cancelled. This explains the high increase of cancellations in the following month of June 2021, where 34 per cent more cancellations were received than at the same time in 2019. The bottom line, however, is that there were less cancellations compared to the pre-Corona period: while studios received 9 per cent more cancellations in 2020 than in 2019, one year later there were 12 per cent less cancellations than in the pre-Corona year of 2019.
About the methodology:
Sport Alliance has analyzed anonymized data from over 2,000 sports facilities in Germany using the gym software “Magicline”. The experts determined the number of gym visits (check-ins), new memberships and cancellations from the years 2019 - 2021 and put them into perspective. Only studios that have been actively using the Magicline since 2019 were examined.