Why hasn’t inflation hit the fitness industry as hard?

WBuying everything from groceries to gas, you’ve probably realized that inflation is costing you more on everyday purchases right now. As a refresher, inflation is the rate at which the prices of goods and services rise. Inflation rates have risen sharply over the past 12 months, averaging 8.3 percent and peaking at 9.1 percent in June 2022. By comparison, the average rate was 4.7 percent in 2021 and just 1.2 percent in 2020.

Between June 2021 and June 2022, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that gas rose 60.2 percent, energy 41.6 percent, electricity 13.7 percent and food 10.4 percent. There’s no sector of the economy that isn’t feeling pressured by inflation, with one big exception: the fitness industry. According to MindBody’s 2022 State of the Industry report, the inflation rate for fitness classes comes in at just 3.5 percent, less than half the national average.

Why has inflation hit the fitness industry?

One of the many reasons could be that the fitness industry is service oriented rather than product oriented. For example, let’s use a fitness studio. If they’re an already established business, they probably have a long-term lease, so their rent is stable, and they already have their equipment, so they’re not at the mercy of today’s supply shortages and price increases. Which is to say that they overhead has remained relatively the same as it was a year or (or more) ago. And digital fitness brands have lower overhead costs than brick-and-mortars.

For this reason, fitness studios and gyms can keep their class and membership costs flat (meaning no change) or raise them slightly in line with the increase in general inflation, which averages about three percent per year. Not to mention demand for fitness content remains high even during a pandemic and potential recession.

Demand is likely helping keep the fitness industry inflation-proof

In April 2022, StyleCit surveyed 1,421 Americans on their spending habits for fitness and wellness services amid inflation, and 71 percent of respondents said they did not plan to reduce their spending despite price increases. Similarly, 72 percent of Americans say they want to consider their health an investment, according to a recent study conducted by OnePoll. Mindbody’s 2022 Wellness Index survey of 16,000 adults found similar results. 87 percent said they are happy to maintain or increase spending on wellness services and 85 percent on in-person fitness classes.

Demand is high, but so is supply. There’s no shortage of ways to work out these days, and that friendly competition is also contributing to price stability in the fitness industry, as no one can raise prices without sending their clients elsewhere. So for now, at least, it seems we’ve reached a point of exercise equilibrium.

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