Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

2020 Q4 Index: The Fitness Sector

by 
Ethan Chernofsky
 on 
January 18, 2021
2020 Q4 Index: The Fitness Sector

Our Quarterly Indexes are back! Make sure to check out our new format here. In our indexes, we analyze a large number of brands within a given sector to dive into the factors driving success for the wider category.

One of the sectors most heavily impacted by the pandemic was the fitness space. The inability to have large crowds indoors inherently limited the sector’s ability to reach its full offline potential. But Q4 was especially important because it marked the final point for analysis before an absolutely crucial Q1 - annually, the biggest quarter for fitness chains.

So, how is the sector trending?

Moving in the Right Direction

After seeing visits down 6% in Q1, the sector saw a near-total collapse with visits down for the group 80%. Yet, the progress since then has been significant, with visits down 50% in Q3 and 38% in Q4. Clearly, this is still a significant obstacle to overcome, but the magnitude of the decline is shrinking. It is also critical to remember that limits on visitor counts, lockdowns - even only partial - and concerns over COVID had a severe impact on this specific segment. 

The Silver Lining - Visit Duration Gaps Shrinking

There has been a lot of talk around the renewed focus that the pandemic has placed on health and wellness. And there are some signs that the shift could offer a long-term benefit to the fitness sector. Visit duration for gym-goers was down 2% in Q4 year over year, after having been down 4% in Q3 and 11% in Q2. 

This means that while visitors were coming less often, they were coming for more substantial visits. This provides a strong indication that the primary concern limiting visits is COVID and not a reduced affinity for the gym in and of itself. Even more, if this trend continues to hold as visit gaps shrink, it could suggest that there will be a resurgence for gyms capable of wooing back visitors. 

The Brands to Watch

Another important element to analyze when looking at the wider fitness sector is just how large a gap exists between the respective recoveries of specific brands. Workout Anytime saw its visits down just 5% in Q4, while 24 Hour Fitness saw a reduction of 74% during that same period. 

And different approaches could have very different results. Planet Fitness, one of the brands we expect to have very strong 2021, brings a value orientation that could be especially effective considering the wider economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic. On the other hand, brands with a more direct orientation towards cities could see their recovery efforts limited by an exodus from these cities, reductions in work commutes, and more students avoiding urban centers.

Conclusions

The pandemic presented a uniquely difficult situation for the fitness sector, which relies on large numbers of people being in the same place at the same time. Yet, there are real signs that the sector is recovering both in terms of the number of visits and the magnitude of visits. 

But the sector is not homogenous. Brands that orient themselves towards the suburbs and are defined by a value orientation could have a significant advantage in the short term. Additionally, the wider struggles of some brands will likely present opportunities to those who are better oriented to the current environment.

Will the sector continue its recovery? Which brands will lead the way? Visit The Square’s Quarterly Index page to find out.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth
Placer.ai Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again
Placer.ai Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024?
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy
Placer.ai Mall Index: February 2024
Placer.ai Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024: Placer.ai’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains
Placer.ai Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top
Placer.ai and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish