1/3 gym members won't return after vaccine (11K surveyed)

Posted on 13 April, 2021 by Nicholas Rizzo

third-of-gym-members-not-returning-post-vaccines

A year ago, at the start of the lockdowns, we found that nearly 50% of gym members didn’t plan to return to their gyms upon reopening and that more than 10% had canceled their memberships. 

A follow-up study in August found that the cancelation rate continued to increase and that less than a third of members had actually returned by that point. 

Now, in March of 2021, we have surveyed 11,193 members from 142 countries to learn how many gym members plan to return to working out at the gym when vaccinated, how their membership status has changed, and how many are currently going to the gym.

Key findings:

  • 70.97% of gym members are still not exercising at their gyms
  • 27.52% of gym members globally and 34.94% in the US don’t intend on returning, even after being vaccinated
  • 55.57% of gym members have either canceled (29.80%) or paused (25.76%) their memberships
  • Less than half (48.24%) said they would return when they themselves are vaccinated
  • Another 24.24% will return, but not until their family, friends, and loved ones are also vaccinated

Table of Contents:

How many members will return after being vaccinated

US gym members are the least likely to return to the gym upon vaccination, with 34.94% stating they wouldn’t return. 

 

gym-members-returning-post-covid

 

The countries with the most members looking to return after being vaccinated are Ireland (18.97%) and Great Britain (20.77%). 

48.24% of members globally stated they would return to their gym when they themselves were vaccinated. While another 24.24% are waiting until their family, friends, and loved ones are also vaccinated before they return. 

Gyms in countries where vaccine distribution is lagging behind can expect to have a slower return of members. 

Changes in gym membership status since the pandemic

When gym members were asked how their membership status has changed since the start of the pandemic, 55.57% stated that they had either canceled their membership (29.80%) or paused it (25.76%). 

 

gym-membership-cancelations-since-pandemic

 

Canada had the highest membership cancelation rate, with 32.88% of gym goers calling it quits.

The two of the largest markets for gyms are the US and the UK, which both have been hit hard. The US experienced a 31.63% loss in membership, with another 15.80% of members having paused. 

Great Britain and Ireland saw similar cancellation rates to the US (28.20% and 32.31% respectively). The distinct difference being that a significantly larger percentage of members have paused their memberships (46.31% in GB and 49.23% in IE).

Australia has fared the best, with only a third of their members deciding to cancel (21.37%) or pause (11.97%). 

How many gym members that canceled will return post-COVID vaccine

When those that canceled were asked if they planned to return to the gym after being vaccinated, 51.90% of members globally said no. 

 

how-many-members-that-canceled-will-return-post-covid-vaccine

 

The country where canceled members are least likely to return is the US (53.31%). This number is lowest for countries like Canada (42.47%) and Australia (44.00%). 

How many gym members are going to the gym?

In previous studies, we tracked return rates to gyms, seeing only 30.98% of gym members stating that they had returned to their gym as of August, 2020. 

A year after the start of the pandemic and 8 months since our last study, the return rate is not looking any better. 

As of now, only 29.03% of members said they are back at their gym. 

 

how-many-gym-members-are-going-to-the-gym

 

The two countries that are above the global average are the United States (35.26%) and Australia (52.99%).

Countries like Great Britain, Ireland, and Canada are experiencing significantly lower return rates, ranging from only 10.77% to 15.32%. 

Results by US State

How many members will return after being vaccinated

In the US, the percentage of gym members that won’t return after being vaccinated ranges from 16.67% to 43.75%.

 

how-many-gym-members-will-return-after-being-vaccinated-by-state

 

The states with the most members stating they wouldn’t return after being vaccinated are: 

  • Arizona (43.75%)
  • Michigan (43.59%)
  • North Carolina (41.67%) 
  • New Jersey (41.03%) 
  • Indiana (40.74%) 

The states with the most members stating they would return after being vaccinated are:

  • Colorado (83.33%)
  • Ohio (72.41%)
  • Virginia (71.88%)
  • New York (71.76%)
  • Tennessee (71.43%)

Changes in gym membership status since the pandemic

In the US, the percentage of members that have paused or canceled their memberships ranges from 33.87% to 63.53%, depending on the state.

 

changes-in-gym-memberhsip-status-since-the-pandemic-by-state

 

The states with the highest percentage of those that canceled or paused are: 

  • California (63.53%)
  • Massachusetts (58.62%)
  • Washington (56.14%)
  • New Jersey (56.14%)
  • North Carolina (54.05%) 

Those with the lowest amount of those that canceled or paused are: 

  • Missouri (42.86%)
  • Tennessee (41.03%)
  • Florida (37.29%)
  • Virginia (34.48%)
  • Ohio (33.87%) 

When focusing on just the percentage of members that have canceled, the states with the most are New Jersey (42.11%), Maryland (40.48%), Massachusetts (39.66%) while the states with the least are Missouri (20.00%), Ohio (19.35%), and Michigan (17.24%). 

How many gym members are actively using the gym?

The number of members that are actively exercising at their gyms currently range as low as 19.22% to as high as 53.23%. 

 

how-many-gym-members-are-actively-using-the-gym-by-state

 

The states with lowest percentage of active gym members are: 

  • California (19.22%) 
  • Washington (21.05%)
  • Massachusetts (25.86%)
  • Maryland (26.19%)
  • New York (29.75%). 

While the states that have the highest percentage of gym members actively exercising at their gyms are: 

  • Ohio (53.23%)
  • Tennessee (46.15%)
  • Virginia (44.83%)
  • Florida (43.22%)
  • Colorado (41.46%) 

Conclusion

Despite beliefs that the COVID-19 vaccine would bring us back to normalcy and save the gym industry, it’s clear that is not the case.

While countries work on vaccine manufacturing, distribution, and administration, gyms continue to struggle. Our previous report showed that a fifth of gyms were still closed as of September of 2020, which aligned with the IHRSA’s report predicting that 25% of gyms may be permanently closed by the end of last year. 

As we continue into Q2 of 2021, the struggle to remain open, keep members engaged, and retain members will continue. Even as vaccines are distributed, it is clear that just the individual being vaccinated will not be enough for all members to return, seeing how nearly a quarter of members are waiting for their friends, family, and loved ones to also be vaccinated.

The longer the vaccination process takes, the more likely we are to continue seeing people move away from gyms, gyms shutting their doors, and a new normal in the fitness industry to arise. 

For additional data, stats, and trends, be sure to check out our other research:

Use of Content:

If you have any questions regarding the above findings, the following report, or are looking for interviews, please feel free to reach out to Nick Rizzo, the Fitness Research Director here at RunRepeat (nick@runrepeat.com). 

Feel free to use any of the findings, data, and graphs from this report. We just ask that you link back to this report when doing so. 

About RunRepeat

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As our Fitness Trends report showed, more people are getting outdoors than ever. They are looking to take advantage of the benefits of walking or burn calories running. By mixing up their routines with high and low-intensity exercises, they are reaping the benefits of HIIT as well. 

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Whether you are going back to the gym, working out from home, or taking your workouts outside, let RunRepeat help you make your next purchase, the perfect pair for you. 

Author
Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo

Nick is a powerlifter who believes cardio comes in the form of more heavy ass squats. Based on over 1.5 million lifts done at competitions, his PRs place him as an elite level powerlifter. His PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Forbes, Bodybuilding.com, Elite Daily and the like. Collaborating along the way with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.

nick@runrepeat.com