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What percentage of gym memberships go unused?

What percentage of gym memberships go unused?

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®) on July 16, 2021 ā€” Updated on November 30, 2023

67% of people never use their gym membership. Check out this guide to learn more about what percentage of people do not use their gym membership and why. If your gym is crowded in January but empty in February, youā€™re not alone.

What percentage of gym memberships go unused?
  • Up to 67 percent of gym memberships go completely unused.
  • Many gyms build their gym business model on the bet that most people will stay home.
  • To help increase member retention, make your gym a place of community and social engagement.

Every January, gyms are flooded with new members who have listed exercise among their New Year’s resolutions. But within a few weeks, it seems like all those new members somehow vanished into thin air. What happened?

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We all probably know someone who pays for a gym membership they never use, but is that the norm? What percentage of gym memberships go unused? And why does this happen? Is there a better way to retain gym members (like with great gym member features and amenities or custom branded fitness apps)? If you’re ready for answers, then keep reading for more gym membership statistics you can use to make your gym successful.

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What percentage of gym members actually go to the gym?

USA Today reports that a full 67 percent of gym memberships go completely unused.  But even among those who do use their gym membership, many are not exactly what you’d call regulars. Per Finder.com, 56.6 percent of members use the gym twice a week, 20.7 go once a week, 6 percent go once a month, and 7.4 percent go less than once a month.

Considering the average gym membership costs $60 per month, that’s quite a lot of wasted money. In fact, Americans blow $397 million annually on gym memberships that they never use.

Why do so many gym memberships go unused?

According to NPR, there’s a very specific reason why so many people buy a gym membership but never use it: gyms like it that way.

A common gym tactic is to specifically recruit people who don’t enjoy exercising and then bet that most of them will stay home. This allows the gym to accumulate far more members than their facility can reasonably hold at any given time. For example, the average Planet Fitness has 6,500 members, but its gyms can only accommodate 300 people at a time.

This overselling strategy not only benefits the gym’s bottom line; it also benefits the members who do actually use their memberships. The money paid by non-gym-going members works as a subsidy to keep membership costs down.

How can I improve member retention at my gym?

If you prefer to see your members’ faces and not just their names on automatic monthly payments, there are many ways you can help increase member retention at your gym:

  • Hire friendly, welcoming staff
  • Make your gym a place of community and social engagement
  • Help beginners cultivate a good routine
  • Stay engaged with your members via email, social media, a member portal, etc.

Use the best gym member management software to retain and engage your members.

The Bottom Line: What percentage of people do not use their gym membership?

That new member you just signed up to your gym? There’s a 67 percent chance you won’t see them again. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Help your members feel more like individuals and less like a number on a roster, and you’ll soon have a facility full of loyal gym-goers.

APEC
Exercise.com is simply the best. We were using three or four different apps or softwares to do what we can now do all in one with the Exercise.com platform.
Brandon Stroupe
Founder and President, APEC Sports Performance

If you’re ready to take your gym to the next level for your members, Exercise.com can help. Book a demo to find out more.

References:

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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