The Peril, Promise and Reality of the Pandemic for the Fitness Industry


The pandemic was an Apocalyptic capitalistic event where the pandemic was an asteroid hit, literally destroying the framework of brick and mortar Capitalism


Joseph Schumpeter, a renowned economist from the 1940’s, said “Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism”. In other words, capitalism’s existence is dependent upon the destruction of existing value propositions and the emergence of new and more relevant ones. Well, in 2020 capitalism was rudely introduced to an entirely new form of economic destruction. This destruction was not fostered by innovation, antiquated thinking, or greed (think the Great Depression or the deep recession from earlier this century). Instead, it was fostered and nurtured by a pandemic that became a catalyst for changing how brick and mortar businesses carry on. One could say the pandemic of 2020 was an apocalyptic capitalist event where the pandemic was an asteroid hit, literally destroying the framework for brick and mortar capitalism.


In this month’s whitepaper we will provide an outlook for the fitness industry over the next six months to two years. To frame our outlook, we will start with an overview of the pandemic’s present impact on global economies and consumer confidence. We then explore the capitalistic impact of the pandemic on the fitness industry. Next, we touch on consumer fitness behaviors and home fitness equipment sales during facility closures. Lastly, we bring forward our prognostications for the fitness industry for the next few years.


Enjoy the reading and wishing you good health and happiness.


Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson, Co-Founders



ClubIntel is a brand insight, market research and strategic consulting firm focused on serving the health/fitness and private club industries. ClubIntel is an industry leader in respect to relevant research to support the needs of the health/fitness facility industry. ClubIntel’s research efforts include its annual International Fitness Industry Trend Study – What’s All the Rage, several industry-based research collaborations with IHRSA (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 Health Club Consumer Reports and 2016 State of the Mexican Health and Fitness Industry Report); the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Financial and Operational Benchmarking Reports for the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS); and the 2016 and 2017 State of the Industry Reports for the Club Spa and Fitness Association.

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