Mar 25, 2021 - Sports

Fitness centers are struggling to rebound from the pandemic

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Fitness centers are in trouble, especially in the U.S., according to a new report that surveyed nearly 12,000 gym members.

What we're hearing: "The data over the past year is clear, the situation hasn’t improved," Nick Rizzo, fitness research director at RunRepeat, says in an email.

  • The survey found that cancellation rates rose from 12.4% during initial COVID-19 lockdowns to 29.8% currently.
  • 55.6% of members have either canceled or paused their membership since the start of the pandemic.
  • Even though half of gym members said they would return after the lockdowns, 30% had gone back as of August and 71% are still not exercising at their gyms.
  • Less than half of survey respondents say they will go back after they are vaccinated, while 24.2% are waiting until their family, friends and loved ones also are vaccinated.

The intrigue: Globally, 27.5% of gym members say they do not intend to return to the gym. That number jumps to 35% in the U.S.

What the market thinks: Defying the reopening trend that has seen airlines, oil and entertainment stocks boom over the past six months, gyms are struggling.

  • Shares of Planet Fitness, one of the last remaining public equity plays for large fitness centers, are down 5% from three months ago.
  • However, Planet Fitness has performed much better than at-home fitness companies Peloton and Nautilus, which have seen share prices decline by 37% and 27% respectively in the last three months.
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