Here is a recent article published in the Brisbane Times on Saturday 14 September 2013 that I thought you might enjoy.
Fitness Rivals Forced to Get Flexible After a Boom in 24-hour gyms
By Sarah Whyte
Published in Brisbane Times
14 September 2013
The growth of 24-hour gyms is disrupting the fitness industry as nearly one in five gyms are offering all-hours access, a report shows.
Attracting shift workers, insomniacs and the young, 24-hour gyms are the fastest-growing franchises in Australia, popular for their convenience and low prices.
But the boom is also causing fitness centres to extend their hours in order to survive.
The Fitness Industry Survey, which surveyed 1151 clubs in Australia and New Zealand, shows 20 per cent of clubs are now operating 24 hours and are one of the most significant areas of interest for the industry this year.
”These fitness centres have positioned themselves in the market as a convenient and affordable option for people who want to be active and fit,” said Lauretta Stace, chief executive of Fitness Australia.
The IBISWorld report on gyms and fitness centres in Australia shows there has been ”spectacular” growth in 24-hour gyms.
Anytime Fitness and Jetts have positioned themselves as the dominant players, the report said. Anytime Fitness opened its first Australian 24-hour gym in 2008. The franchise now has 290 clubs in Australia and a membership base of more than 275,000. Jetts has 217 clubs and more than 200,000 members.
”There is definitely a change in the market trend overall,” said Justin McDonell, co-owner of Anytime Fitness. ”In the future, I think we can safely say that 24/7 facilities and extended opening hours will be more present and widely available.”
This growth has created ”new challenges” for Fitness First. This year, the franchise lost $35.4 million, the IBISWorld report says.
”New competition introduces new challenges,” Fitness First managing director Pete Manuel said. ”While our new competitors are building 24/7 gyms, our firm belief is that this is a revenue model, not a member results focused model.
”By simply putting equipment into a gym ‘box’, this doesn’t help motivate members to achieve their results.”
Smaller clubs say the influx of 24-hour gyms in Australia has also put pressure on their businesses.
One club in Summer Hill, Hips Don’t Lie Fitness Centre, will soon open an hour earlier at 5am and close three hours later at midnight to compete with 24-hour gyms that have opened in the same area.
”I saw a significant drop in my new memberships and people dropping off because they like that flexibility of the 24-hour gym,” said Richard Kairouz, who has owned the gym since 2009 and has about 500 members.
”To compete for that dollar, you have to provide something more these days.”
The 24-hour gym in the All Sorts fitness centre in Alexandria has gone so well the owners hope to extend the hours of their main gym to 24 hours by the end of the year.
”There’s definitely a market out there for people who are wanting to work out of hours,” co-manager Thomas Giatsios said.
On the northern beaches, two 24-hour gyms have opened in Mona Vale within 18 months. Another will open soon.
Fresh Start Fitness Centre extended its hours to around the clock in Mona Vale 18 months ago. ”An interesting market is mums who put their kids to bed and they’re wide awake and they finally get a work-out late at night,” said Rebecca Mountford, co-director of Fresh Start, which has 2100 members.