Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

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

Placer Spotlight: The Rise of Esporta

by 
Shira Petrack
 on 
March 31, 2022
Placer Spotlight: The Rise of Esporta

The fitness foot traffic recovery may be underway, but that doesn’t mean that gym-goers are returning to their pre-COVID patterns. Consumer preferences have shifted over the past couple of years and are driving major changes in many established retail categories, including the fitness space. Here, we take a look at how LA Fitness, a pre-pandemic category leader, is adapting its offering to today’s consumers through its new value-priced chain, Esporta Fitness.

Fitness Demand Strengthened By Pandemic 

In a survey we conducted in March 2022 of U.S. based adults aged 18 to 64, almost half (47.7%) of all respondents stated that they had taken up exercise or increased their exercise levels since the start of the pandemic. This means that consumer demand for fitness is strong and growing. 

The potential of fitness brands to thrive in the new normal is well illustrated by the rise of Esporta Fitness. Fitness International, the same company that operates LA Fitness and City Sports Clubs, launched the value-priced fitness concept shortly before the pandemic by rebranding a number of LA Fitness locations as Esporta. Since then, Esporta has grown rapidly both by opening new locations and by taking over gyms that were previously operating under the LA Fitness brand. 

Low-Cost Fitness Chains Positioned to Thrive 

Given the fact that the vast majority of Esporta locations were opened in 2020 or later, comparing Esporta and LA Fitness’ performance is challenging as there is no pre-pandemic benchmark that can be used to judge Esporta’s current performance. Still, comparing the change in visits per venue between July ‘21 and February ‘22 for Esporta and LA Fitness shows that Esporta is consistently outperforming the legacy fitness brand in terms of its visits/venue growth. 

This means that Esporta foot traffic is not just growing in absolute numbers due to the rapid expansion of the chain – Esporta’s existing venues are also seeing a swift COVID recovery when compared to LA Fitness locales.

One of the key elements to Esporta’s success is its affordability. Our data shows that Esporta Fitness visitors have a median household income of $53K per year – $15K per year less than the median household income for LA Fitness visitors. 

Esporta’s success as a low-cost fitness option is consistent with the trend of thriving low-cost fitness chains in the new normal, which has several explanations. First, the pandemic has led to a significant increase in consumers prioritizing health and wellness, and first-time gym goers appear to be showing a preference for an affordable gym before considering committing to a high cost membership. 

Second, lower-income populations have also increased their exercise levels over the pandemic. According to our survey, over a third (35.6%) of respondents with a household yearly income of less than $25,000 report exercising more since the outbreak of COVID. As lower-income populations are less likely to have well-equipped home gyms, fitness centers that can offer value-priced memberships will meet a ready demand. 

Third, the pandemic seems to have accelerated the move towards hybrid fitness. According to this model, consumers get their fitness fix through a variety of channels, including independent home workouts, online and in-person classes, and gym sessions. Consumers who have adopted the hybrid model and are paying for access to several different fitness platforms may want to keep their gym membership costs low, as gym fees are just one portion of their overall fitness spend.

Diving into Select Esporta Locations

Many of the current Esporta locations took over gyms previously operated by LA Fitness. Comparing consumer behavior before and after the rebrand can help us see how the shift away from LA Fitness and towards Esporta is serving customers’ current fitness needs. 

The chart below zooms into five gyms across the country that were operated by LA Fitness in between July 2019  and December 2019, and that were rebranded as Esporta by July 2021. An analysis of consumer behavior shifts for the five locations shows an increase in the True Trade Area – as measured by the distance in miles that is required for 70% visitors to reach the property – for all five locations with the change from LA Fitness to Esporta. Meanwhile, customer loyalty – as measured by the share of unique visitors who visited at least 12 times between July and December 2019 and 2021 – decreased across the board.

One potential conclusion is that the increase in trade area coupled with the decrease in loyalty indicates that many of Esporta’s visitors are indeed engaged in hybrid fitness routines. These visitors may frequent the gym less often, since working out at the gym is just one component of their exercise regimen. And since their gym visits are not as frequent, these consumers don’t mind traveling a little farther to a gym that offers a more affordable membership. This frees up some of their fitness budget that can then be used to purchase fitness products or content from other fitness-related channels. 

A more optimistic view would posit that the push to value drove a much wider reach – and as the wider COVID situation continues to normalize, so will visit rates. If the former proves true, the Esporta shift may prove to be incredibly valuable. However, if it is the latter, the growing market opportunity in value fitness may have found a new leading player. Whatever mix of factors may be driving these changes, there is a unique opportunity for Esporta’s role in the sector to expand quickly in the near future.

For more data-based retail insights, visit our blog

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.
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
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023
Blockbusters Drive Movie Theater Comeback
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success
McDonald’s and Chipotle's Winning Recipe
The State Of Steak: Checking in With Texas Roadhouse
Pleasant Pastimes: Pickleball Potential Proves Potent
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?
Diving into Downtown Manhattan Foot Traffic Trends
Rite Aid: Rightsizing Right
Major League Soccer: Its Die-Hard and Casual Fans
The Anchor Recap: September 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: September 2023 Recap
Placer Mall Index Recap: September 2023
September White Paper Recap
The Consumer Habits of College Students
JCPenney: Rightsizing and Revitalizing
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: August 2023 Recap