Club Insider

The Fate and Fortune of the Health and Fitness Industry

Part I

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Stephen TharrettStephen Tharrett

The health and fitness facility industry is an evolving entity, both domestically and internationally. While it is more of an accepted part of the American culture and lifestyle than it was 40 years ago or even a decade ago, the industry remains somewhat susceptible to the whims of evolving global demographics, trendy popular culture and macroeconomic conditions. The fate and fortune, or destiny if you like, of the health and fitness facility industry is now being influenced by these evolving cultural, demographic and economic forces. How the industry perceives and interprets these influences and correspondingly responds to them will determine the industry's destiny over the next few decades. The more attuned club operators are to these powerful forces of capitalistic evolution, the greater the chance, as a collective community and as individual operators, is the ability to craft a fate of prosperity.

Mark WilliamsonMark Williamson

This white paper is the first in a 3-part series that delves into what we believe are seven of the most powerful forces impacting our industry in 2015 that are positioned to influence its destiny for decades to come. Part I will explore the impact of the shifting generational tides and global income inequality. Next month, Part II will explore the impact of global health status, narcissistic capitalism, karaoke innovation and environmental consciousness. Finally, Part III will conclude the series by exploring how globalization and technology are likely to impact the future of the health and fitness facility industry.

The Generational Wars: The Struggle for Supremacy Among Baby Boomers, Generation X, Y and Z

The next three to five decades of the 21st century will be impacted significantly by a few age-related or generational demographic trends.

  1. The first is the aging of the "Baby Boomers," 78 million U.S. adults and over 600 million global adults who were born after 1946 and who, collectively, are the wealthiest population in the world. Baby Boomers represent an aging and affluent generation of "me"-oriented adults seeking the fountain of youth. This population is willing and able to spend the money necessary to strive for their goals. This demographic wave also represents the largest population segment in several nations, such as the United States, England, Germany, Italy and Japan. According to global statistics, it is estimated that, by 2050, there will be approximately two billion people age 60 and older.
  2. The second influential generation is a population referred to by demographers as Generation Y, or Millennials, a group of young adults who were born after 1977 and prior to 2000. It is estimated that there are now slightly over 80 million of these young adults in the U.S., making them the single largest generation in the country. This demographic powerhouse is not only more expansive in its count than the Baby Boomer wave, but is also 20% larger than Generation X, a group of adults born between the Baby Boomers and Millennials. Hard to believe, but one in four Americans can be classified as a Gen Y. This group grew up in the era of technology, social media, instant celebrity and multitasking. Millennials are highly attuned to the environment, wary of the damage that Baby Boomers wrought on the planet and are tech savvy, having grown up with computers, tablets, smart phones and the worldwide net. This group is socially connected but culturally isolated, and possibly more significantly, are rebelling against many of the institutions created by the Baby Boomers.

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