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2021: Q1 Quarterly Index
COVID and its related effects were a near perfect storm of challenges for the fitness sector, yet Q1 appears to show a breakthrough. Considering the wider concerns of the rise of at-home fitness, the strength early in 2021 with COVID concerns still prevalent speaks to the potential of the sector. Should they prove capable of maintaining this pent up demand into Q2, there is the unique possibility of an even stronger 2021 than expected.
Analyzing dozens of brands including:
Fitness Continues to Rebound
The sector has seen a steady and impressive recovery after watching visits plummet 77% year over year in Q2 2020. Visits were down just 28% year over year by Q4 2020 and in the critical Q1, normally the peak for fitness, the visit gap shrunk further to 14%. The return to prominence could come especially fast should the sector prove capable of maintaining this pace.
Visit Frequency Rising
Growth in Visits per Venue continued to outpace growth in overall visits, indicating the return of consistent visitors. The return of regular visitors is critical as it shows that core audiences for gyms were quick to come back once the doors reopened. The sector could enjoy an impressive Q2 as sustained new visitor growth becomes a priority.
Visit Duration Continues to Rise
Another great indication of the imminent return of fitness brands is the continued rise of visit duration. Following two straight quarters of growth, median visit duration rose 3% in Q1. This is another sign that the key element holding back a full return for these chains is a steady routine rather than a lost passion for in-location fitness.
Shrinking Visit Gaps
Leading fitness brands like Planet Fitness and Anytime Fitness continued to show strength during the recovery with visits rapidly returning to normalcy. The combination of their strength of return and the values their specific models bring to the table could turn the current environment into the foundation for long-term success.
Fitness chains are in the midst of a continued recovery with Q1 serving as an important acceleration for visits and repeat visitors. While all indications are that the sector will continue to recover, much of each brand’s 2021 story will be defined by the ability to sustain Q1 excitement deeper into Q2. Should this return power a deeper wave of success for the sector, the impact could be very significant.
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