Fitness in Australia Industry Market Research Report Now Updated by IBISWorld

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Keeping Australians fit is big business. This is not a surprise given Australia's position as one of the most overweight nations in the world. Despite Australia's ever growing waistlines, revenue for providers of fitness activities and equipment has grown modestly over the last five years. However, a stronger economy in 2011-12 will underpin above average growth. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated its report on the Fitness in Australia industry.

IBISWorld Market Research

IBISWorld Market Research

The Fitness industry in Australia is back on track as disposable income rises

Keeping Australians fit is big business. According to IBISWorld Industry analyst Nick Sallmann, “this year the Fitness industry in Australia will be worth $2.87 billion.” This is not a surprise given Australia's position as one of the most overweight nations in the world. Despite Australia's ever growing waistlines, revenue for providers of fitness activities and equipment has grown a modest annualised 1.4% over the last five years. However, the timid growth reflects declines in 2008-09 and 2009-10 as cautious Australian consumers opted for cheaper health and fitness alternatives given a poor economic climate. Hence, a stronger economy in 2011-12 will underpin above average growth of 2.4% for the year.
Prior to the downturn, the industry had grown strongly, and aside from the interruption of the financial crisis and economic downturn, the story of the past five years is one of strong growth. Growth has been driven by the mainstreaming of fitness services as health awareness increases. The industry's performance has gained additional assistance from the reality TV show the Biggest Loser, with the weight-loss contest effectively serving as an advertisement for fitness services. The household outsourcing trend has also played a part in industry growth, with the do-it-for-me mindset carrying over to fitness regarding advice, instruction and motivation.

The coming five years will see the industry approaching maturity, with revenue growing steadily. Customers in older age groups will continue to be key drivers of growth as awareness of the benefits of physical activity on health and quality of life in later years becomes more widespread. The ageing population will also see greater numbers of people entering this age group. The industry will continue to trial new products, programs and delivery methods. Although some new methods and programs will fade away, others are likely to be very successful as Australia's willingness to spend on their health increases.

Market share concentration in the Fitness industry in Australia is low, with the four largest players – Fitness First, Rebel Group, RCG Corporation Limited (the Athlete’s Foot) and YMCA Australia. “However,” Sallmann adds, “concentration has risen over the past decade with many independent operations being taken over by larger chains.” For example, Fitness First entered the Australian market in 2000 and has since expanded rapidly through acquisitions to become the industry's largest player. The benefits of scale for fitness centers revolve largely around branding and familiarity with services and prices, more so than efficiency gains. The Curves chain is franchised, with independent branches benefitting from the brand's image, marketing and service consistency. Concentration is particularly low in the personal training segment of the industry, where a vast majority of businesses are individual proprietors and small partnerships.

For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Fitness report in Australia industry page.

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Gavin Smith
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