Free Essay

Marketing Research on Fitness Studios

In: Business and Management

Submitted By ssheel
Words 4861
Pages 20
Sushil Nagar
Market research and image Analysis
Student No. 28044
Project on Fitness Studios

Table of Contents 1. MARKET RESEARCH ON FITNESS STUDIOS page(4,5) 2. A)Introduction Page(5,6)
B) After World War 2 page(6,7,8) 3. The Birth of American Health page(9,10) 4. Marketing (page 10,11,) (a) Television Viewing (b)Observation 5. Interviews (Page 11, 12, 13) (A)Face to Face Interviews (B)Household Interviews

6. Final Survey (Page 14) 7. Results of the Survey (Page 15, 16, 17, 18) 8. Negative Feedback (Page 19) 9. Customer Satisfaction (Page 20) 10. Unique Fitness Clubs (page 21) 11. Challenges and Opportunities (Page 22, 23) 12. Conclusion (Page 24) 13. Appendices (page 24) 14. References (Page 25)


Taking a practical action-oriented approach, and focusing on established, need to know subjects. This seminar paper of mine will reflect market research on Fitness Studios in International Business Environment. This series will concentrate on developing practical texts.

I made best efforts I could to ensure that each title that this research remains international in both content and research and gives a clear picture. Overall this paper will produce a body of work that will enhance international awareness about marketing research on fitness studios.

Note:- I made every possible effort to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate at this present time. And it may happen that some of the material and notes are similar to some research work on internet and I did lot of research on both line and offline to get the final product.

Health clubs are an integral part of our culture now. Even those who don’t own a club membership are at least familiar with names like Gold`s Gym, Total Fitness and Extreme Fitness etc. However, popularity of health clubs is recent phenomenon.

If we have to talk about rise of the modern health clubs then we have to go America in the mid 20th century. As so much can be learn from the past because right now the Fitness Industry has been hit very hard by the recession. And recent increase in Unemployment has not been helpful either. The mid 19th century saw the rise of industrialism and explosion of people immigrating to cities for work and money. As we all know that in cities, especially when you work in industries and offices one doesn’t get to do lot of physical work and opportunity to do exercise is very less. To combat the effects of desk work men began pursuing health and exercise.

First Gymnasium was opened by a former vaudevillian strongman, Hippolyte Triat. Apparently because of rising interest in exercise. The Gymnase triat is significant because it was among the first clubs to charge for membership; the gym had different rates for men, women and children. Ranging from 31 francs per month to 400 francs per year.
While triat was popularizing exercise in Paris, physical activity gained supporters in England. Sir George Williams created YMCA in London in 1841 as an attempt to substitute life on streets with Bible study and prayer”. When Muscular christanity began in England in the 1850s, YMCAs became a leading champion of the movement. According to Muscular Christanity, good chrstians exercised to keep the body healthy. By the 1860s, physical recreation was included in the curriculum of all YMCAs.

Before the proliferation of YMCAs, George Barker Windship preached throughout th United States on the virtue of weightlifting. At the age of 16, he entered into Haravrd, Windship was next to smallest in the class. In an attempt to defend himself from bullies, windship turned to gymnastics and weight training. Within a few years, he had developed his body enough to intimidate his intimidators. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Winship began touring, lecturing on rules of health and special benefits of systematic weight training.

Buck, Josh (1999-120-01) "The Evolution of Health Clubs" Club Industry. ClubIndustry.

Sports Historian consider Windship the impetus for boom in American weight training, which is said to have begun on june 9, 1859, with his first successful lecture. However, when Windship died from stroke at age 42, opponents of weight training blamed exercise. Americans lost interest in weight lifting-but for only a short time. The strongmen performing in vaudeville rekindled American interest in strength and performers like Eugen Sandow opened clubs devoted to physical culture after retiring from the stage. Professor Louis Attila was also a famous performer turned entrepreneur. His gym in New York City was Mecca for weight lifters, and many influential people exercised there.

The war caused many other gyms to close as well. However, it also increased interest in weight training and exercise. In an effort to encourage patriotism and to reassure the American public, magazines like Look published photographs of healthy, robust athletes.

The military began employing former Muscle Beach regulars to train new recruits. Throughout the war, soldiers trained with weights for recreation and exercise. These men saw the benefits of regular exercise, and when they left the service, they needed places to work out. While gyms may have temporarily closed, they were in demand again after the war.

By 1947, Vic Tanny again had several gyms around Los Angeles, and by 1960, the Tanny empire totaled 84 gyms throughout the country. In 1963, Vic sold his clubs in an effort to retire. His retirement may have been hastened by financial and managerial troubles throughout his corporation. Regardless of his reasons for retiring, Vic left a legacy to modern clubs.
The most significant effect Tanny had on modern clubs was a physical one. Joe Gold describes gyms before Tanny revolutionized their image as "the worst pieces of junk in the world ... everything was falling apart and [they] stunk. They were like dungeons!" This description is a far cry from today's clubs, and the reason is Tanny's entrepreneurial acumen. Armand explains that he and his brother "took the gyms out of the cellar" and created facilities so lavish that once prospective members entered the building, "they couldn't resist joining."
Tanny was a visionary. At a time when clubs specialized in particular sports, Vic offered many options: weight lifting, swimming, bowling, ice skating and even watching movies in theaters. His facilities were among the first multi-purpose gyms; these newer, more attractive clubs offered a venue to socialize and make friends.
As creative as Tanny was, some of his ideas were more extravagant than others. Among his more opulent endeavors was a gilded gym. This club was completely finished in gold plating, down to the barbells and dumbbells. Although modern clubs aren't quite this lavish, most have a lot of chrome, carpeting and walls painted in aesthetically pleasing colors. This was not common before Tanny, and it is thanks to him that gyms are so attractive today.
Vic Tanny not only helped create the modern health club, he also inspired many others to build gyms. Joe Gold, a close friend of the Tannys, worked for a time in Vic's gym. In the 1950s, when the Vic Tanny revolutionized the industry with his health clubs. He created multipurpose facilities that were local government closed the Muscle Beach Weightlifting Club (a 20-by-25-foot L-shaped platform with weights), Joe tried, unsuccessfully, to convince friends to invest in a new club. He was finally able to open the first Gold's Gym in 1964 about two blocks from Muscle Beach for $30,000.
Joe may have learned from Vic, but Gold's Gym was different from Tanny's gyms. Once the Muscle Beach Weightlifting Club closed, Joe saw a need for gyms that were devoted to body building. He sold the original Gold's Gym in 1970; nevertheless, in the six years that he ran that small storefront gym, Gold offered several innovations that are now standard. For example, Joe explains that his gym was originally dark and cramped. To amend this problem, he installed skylights that brightened the room and made it seem more spacious. He also laid a concrete floor to withstand the heavy poundage dropped by his clientele. Joe's gym was rugged, solid and sturdy in comparison to Vic's sleeker, sportier and flashier gyms.

The Birth of American Health

Tanny and Gold were not the only revolutionaries in the industry. Modeling their clubs after German rehabilitation centers and European spas, Ray Wilson and Bob Delmontique began the American Health clubs in the 1950s, and by decade's end, owned 300 clubs throughout the United States. Delmontique explains that "Ray wanted to save the world" with his gyms, and they were among the first to offer therapeutic facilities. Their clubs began with weights only, but soon added whirlpools, saunas and steam baths.
Delmontique says that, like Tannys' gyms, American Health clubs "flavored exercise and made it taste good." They included full-length mirrors, carpeted floors, air conditioning and chrome weights instead of the standard black. Although they folded due to financial troubles in 1959, American Health clubs (like Tanny's gyms) were among the first gyms to have sizzle to them.
As the look, equipment and, in some cases, the names of health clubs changed as the century progressed, so did the clientele. Beginning with only die-hard lifters and serious body builders, amateur exercisers - encouraged by club owners like Tanny and Wilson - began working out as well. The erroneously nicknamed "Pudgy" Stockton and Jack LaLanne, each, in their own way, helped integrate women into the health clubs.
Pudgy owned several women's-only gyms. Early in her business career, she had to disguise the weights women used because it was improper for women to work out. Slowly, women's interest in, and acceptance of, exercise grew, and many gyms began offering separate days for men and women. Today, women have become the best customers for clubs - making up more than half of all memberships. Roberts, Scott (1996) The business of personal training 1995. Human Kinetics p. 8 ISBN 9780873226059

Perhaps the greatest modern proponent of women's health was Jack LaLanne. Jack opened his first gym in 1936 in Oakland, Calif., and by 1982, had 200 around the country. He also hosted American television's longest-running exercise program (The Jack LaLanne Show, 1956-1970).
Muscle Beach was able to educate thousands of passersby and spectators on health and exercise; Jack LaLanne reached millions - particularly women - through the power of television. His show taught his viewers, predominantly homemakers, how to exercise using household equipment: chairs, towels and broomsticks. There is little doubt that LaLanne's program caused more American women than ever to become interested in physical fitness.
Nowadays, the consumer appears to dictate the changes in health clubs, and as the baby boomers move from their desire for buffness to holistic and long-term health concerns, the gym is adapting to satisfy their needs. While today's gyms and health clubs are more advanced than ever, they are continuously evolving. There is little doubt that many exciting innovations and evolutionary changes await the health club in the new century. And Fitness studios, Health Clubs and Gyms are doing their best to attract more customers day by day.
In present time if you want to make a product successful then one should do proper marketing and research for it. A very common method of marketing which has popular for a very long time and still is by posters and advertisements through hoardings on the streets, for example organization like Mark & Spencer uses its Oxford Street to watch how consumers react to new designs, and through observation of this type, quick decisions can be made to launch or kill a product.
One of the problems of poster research is determining how many people see them. People seldom study them deliberately but take them in subliminally as they move around on foot, in car or on public transport. Observation plays a role in providing answers to two important questions: what is the traffic count that passes the poster? And second how visible is the poster(and what condition is it in)? In order to obtain these questions visits must be made to the poster sites. It is important for not only fitness studios but for any product for the likelihood of viewing. A specific campaign would normally be tracked in the conventional way by interviewing a sample of people to determine their recall of the posters.
Television Viewing
The television has become an integral part of the lives of people worldwide. In most Western societies, 98 percent of households own a television, and many have two or more. Commercial television is financed by adverts costing thousands of dollars for a 30 second slot. Not surprisingly, the measurement of television audiences is taken very seriously. This Marketing technique is powerful to influence potential customers and make them curious about the product.

Sometimes a mere picture can speak more than thousands of world. We might not remember all the taglines and promises made in the posters, templates and television adverts but a picture will always stay in our mind forever. No matter if see it for a short duration or very long. If it is appealing and eye capturing then it can work wonders for the Fitness Club.

Observation was the first method used by market researchers to collect data. It has been superseded in importance by interviews but there are nevertheless many opportunities where it could provide valuable insights. Observing a customer in fitness studios by video camera is one great way of finding how people go about their fitness and what kind of workouts they like to do more, which machines they use seldomly, it may become a very powerful tool to research in fitness studios which can help in attracting more customers.

Face to Face Interviews
For market research interaction with customers before the launch of a fitness studio or to enquire what they like and dislike is a very powerful tool for marketing research of fitness studios. However, there are many limitations of face to afce interviews like : * Where interview is long and complicated * Where it is necessary to show many visuals * Where targets of interview are not likely to be around
Household Interviews
To counter face to face interview problems household interviews are great way of interviewing more than 10 minutes at the respondent`s home. For example:- showing images, visuals asking sensitive questions. However, they can be costly and home environment might influence their answers.

Final Survey
During the survey for Fitness studios I prepared list of questionnaire which will going to helped during my market research. I also prepared a personal covering letter for the people who took part in the survey and made them understood about the need for this survey and that it will going to be a very easy task to fill up the answers.

The survey looked something like this
I am Business student from FHAM (Erding) and I need your help in evaluating upgrade needs for the center. Please take a few minutes to let us know your thoughts. This information will be an important part of our yearly budgeting for fitness center improvements.
Name, Age And Sex. * Are you a current member of any fitness club? Yes, No * If yes, what type of membership do you have? Annual, Monthly
(Single),(Senior), (Student), (Family), (Couple), (Senior), (couple) * If no, have you ever been a member? Yes, No * Why did you not renew your previous membership?
MEMBER QUESTIONS: (if your membership includes more than one person, we would appreciate getting separate surveys from each individual please!) * How many times per week do you use the facility? Less than weekly, Once, Twice, Three times, More than 3x * How satisfied are you overall with the equipment available at the center? Very, Somewhat, It’s just ok, Not Very , Not at all satisfied * How do you spend your time? (example- 20% free weights, 20% Nautilus machines, 60% cardio machines) free weights cardio machines (treadmill, bike, elliptical) weight machines aerobics floor (classes, videos) * How comfortable do you feel that you are using the equipment properly? Very, Somewhat, Just ok, Not Very, Not at all. * What do you feel should be a high priority for replacement or new purchase in the next year?
(describe specific equipment or types of equipment) * Since we have limited space in the facility, what equipment do you feel can be removed due to low use or other concerns (i.e. safety)? * What do you feel should be on the list for future replacement or new purchase within the next few years?
Thank you for your participation. Your input is greatly appreciated.
Results of the Survey
I found out in my survey that women tends to go more to the gyms than men, you can see that in a pie chart as well. However, the difference is of only 1.44% .


* Does Gender play a role in what type of workout done while at the gym?
The next set of pie charts suggest that females workout both strength and cardio .66% more than males. Also females do 2.8% more cardio than males. Taking a look at strength workouts, males workout 6.556% more on strength then females do. This shows that males have a tendency to do more of an all strength work as opposed to females who work on both strength and cardio.


| * Does gender play a role on how many days a week are spent at the gym?
The boxplot below suggests the days spent by both genders are almost identical. Both genders have a mean of about 3 days a week with a range from 2-5 days a week spent at the gym.

Now we go into age to see what the effects it has on physical fitness. * Does age play a role on what type of workout is performed?
The means plot below suggests that people who perform cardio workouts have a mean age at about 28 with a range from 25 years of age to 34 years of age. Strength on the other hand has a mean age of about 35 with a range from 20 years of age to over 45 years of age. The mean age for people who do both workouts is 27 with a range of about 25 years of age to 33 years of age. The mean age for people who do neither strength, nor cardio is about 29 years of age with a range of about 25 years of age to 36 years of age.

* When asked to the customers if fitness studios have played any role in improving their life then 80% of the people answered as yes. * When asked to the customers if fitness studios have improved their fitness level 75 % said yes. * 80% customers said the Fitness clubs meets their cardiovascular, strength and flexibility needs. * 86% customers said the machines at the fitness clubs are easy to use and meet their needs. * 87% customers said the staff is professional, knowledgeable, and courteous. * 75% customers said the staff is willing to help and attentive to their needs. * 84% customers said the classes offered at fitness studios are taught by professional, knowledgeable and competent fitness instructors. * 78% customers said the classes were easy to get to. * 73% customers have been doing the same routine for over six months. * 67% customers are interested in Workshops or Wellness lectures once a month. * 40% customers are interested in small group personal training to improve fitness level for a reasonable fee.

Negative Feedbacks
However, not everything is great with these fitness studios. I got to meet many customers and have seen in my experience too that fitness studios have overbilled customers or there has been chaos when it comes to contract cancellation. I should rather say that there have been many horror stories in that matter.

For instance:- I got to meet some people and some of them I know personally who told me that they have been over charged for personal training, fitness assessment and nutrition. Most of the customers have agreed that at least once they have been overbilled by their gyms and fitness studios. And when they want to cancel their services, they never get their money back.

The mother of all the problems was contracts and cancellation afterwards. Many fitness studios do not take cash but ask for blank check or your bank details instead. In these circumstances customers have faced lots of problems during cancellation of their contracts. More often than not they hardly get their money back. Customers are looking for some honesty and principles from their fitness studios and gyms. The ones who are transparent and honest with customers will definitely have an edge over the others. As lot of people join fitness studios and Gyms on the referral of their friends and family members.

Customer Satisfaction
I would like to add that customer satisfaction the most important thing when it comes to succeed in any business. If your customers are not satisfied they will not come back and would also tell their friends and family about that. However, if they are satisfied they will do free marketing for your services and brand. Everyone wants to do Business whom they can trust. In fitness industry, the market is very big and diverse. Different people have different demands like we can divide it into 2 categories 1. Aerobic 2. Anaerobic
In aerobic fitness, the main concern is on improving body oxygen consumption and efficiency. Like how long can you exercise before you reach out of breath. Some examples are :- Aerobics, swimming and yoga etc.
In anaerobic exercises are intense to trigger anaerobic metabolism. It is used by atheleted for great endurance and body builders. Examples : Weight lifting and sprinting.

Now if we talk about the different types of fitness studios which falls under these categories are:-
Aerobic centres
Yoga centres
Fitness Clubs
Dance Centers
Pilate Centers
Athletic Clubs
Country Clubs
Target group of all of them is different and they are offering different services than others. In doing Market research for fitness studios I found out that each fitness club is trying to be different these days. They are looking to offer something which others don’t have. For example Body and Soul fitness club is more of family oriented fitness club, one can not only work out there but also relax and enjoy themselves. As they have swimming pools, Sauna, and spa etc. Their target customers are generally over 30s who are either couple or a family. They can afford to pay higher amount of money as compared to bachelors or students who are below 30 years of age. They have less time and also less money. For them something like Xtreme fitness is the best because it has all the basic equipment which one needs for exercise. And at the same time its way cheaper than fitness clubs like Body and Soul. But Xtreme fitness needs more customers to make profit as the margin is not that big. So, they only allow people to on yearly basis, instead of monthly basis.

Unique Fitness clubs
Most of the fitness clubs claims to be different but in reality they are not. However, there are some new babies on the block who are unique and gaining more and more popularity around the world. I would especially like to talk about the one of whom I am member off. The name is “Crossfit”. Crossfit is actually nothing new, yet it is something refreshing. It doesn’t focus on person losing weight or making huge bulky muscles. However, its only main focus is to make you strong. It was founded in 2000 and ever since then there are 3400 crossfit centres worldwide. People who are bored with routine workouts and want to push their limits are increasingly going for it. Crossfit is also gaining momentum because they are creating their own community through its programs and fitness centres. They are also organizing their own crossfit games annualy where top most crossfit athletes compete against each other for the world title. It has played a great role in popularizing crossfit and now more and more people are taking it as a sport not just a fitness routine only.

What I want to say with this example is that more and more people are looking for great fitness clubs which not only promise but delivers. People are willing to pay extra money if they find the services they are paying for are worth it. Like, in crossfit case, its expensive but people find the services and program offered by them unique and promising. So, they are not hesitant to pay extra money for it.

Challenges and Opportunities * The age wave : Two significant trends which I see are that in next 20 years demographics around the world will be changed. Baby boomers and "echo boomers" are reaching older ages. Fitness experiences have to be created which appeals to younger group of people, and appeal to young people who thrive on multitasking, virtual communication and constant stimulation? Think about and plan to address these issues, because these groups are as different as night and day. * The State of health: It is probably the first time ever in the history that younger people live less than their parents. The reasons growing obesity amongst younger kids and bad unhealthy life style which is causing all the kinds of health related problems. In upcoming time more and more people will require fitness clubs and studios. * Wealth Gap : It’s a trend which is common around the whole world that rich are getting richer and poor getting poorer. So, fitness clubs cant be made in order to attract rich because they are very small minority. Fitness studios are more in demand which are taking around 50$ per month from middle class family. In this section market is huge and very much unexplored. * The equity Markets : Just 10 years back, this industry had a hard time in attracting banks and finances. But now times have changed. Its growing market and everyone is realising the need for more and more fitness clubs and health these days. * Technology Overload : More and more people are working in offices and desks now. Technology was never so great and controlled our lives like now. People rely on cars and other modes of transportation to commute and too much time on Tvs, computers has made them very unfit and the need of fitness club was never more.

Challenges : * Demands Subject to fashion : machines and equipments used in gyms and fitness clubs and rapidly improving and changing its very hard to keep up with all these changes and demands. * Competition: there is a big competition with in this industry now. And imports from other countries and new methods are big threat to the established giants in this industry.
Awareness: people now a days are also getting very aware about their health and they are learning to do exercises all by themselves at their home and more and more offices are installing gym and fitness clubs with in the office for the employees. So, this is big threat to the fitness clubs who charge money from people to use their equipment and learn exercises.

Despite experiencing solid growth in the past decade, (except past 3 years), the market has not reached saturation yet. As a result the GYM and Fitness industry will continue to from in next 5 years or so for sure. I am very hopeful and with economy improving in future and getting back on track we will see tremendous growth in fitness industry. There is no big player in this industry as yet, I would say not more than 5% by each player. So, it is not difficult for someone new to enter into this market and improve.

Appendices In this Marketing research term paper during the course of time from November till March end, I asked questions mentioned above in term paper to 80 people. Forty of them were in the age group of 18 to 25(20 males and 20 females) and Forty of them were in the age group of 25 to 45 ( 20 males and 20 females). The people who participated in this survey and the ones who answered my questionnaires were from all walks of life and backgrounds. During my stay in Germany I get to interact with lot of German Students and professionals. As well as I interviewed my neighbours there as well. I wanted to cover broader perspective so I use Facebook as a means of asking same questions in my survey to my former classmates and friends who are living in USA, Canada and other parts of the world to give my survey more International feel.

Note:- One thing I noticed during the survey was that open ended questions were answered very badly. So, it is always advisable that one should ask only closed ended questions in a survey.

References:- Buck, Josh (1999-120-01) "The Evolution of Health Clubs" Club Industry Roberts, Scott (1996) The business of personal training 1995 Human Kinetics p 8 ISBN 9780873226059
CBC online network (2012)
New York Health Magazine (1989 edition)

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