As Arizona gyms were ordered closed this summer, more and more people canceled their memberships or began considering not going back. Results fromsurveysconducted by fitness tracking company RunRepeat show that in May just about 69% of Arizona gym members were planning on keeping their memberships. But in August a follow-up survey was conducted and only 38% said they would keep them. Gyms across the state have been ordered to stay closed for a large portion of the past five months. Gov. Ducey included gyms among other businesses that had to close down during his stay at home order that ran through April and half of May. Then in late June when Covid-19 cases were growing quickly across the state, he ordered gyms to close again. Only during the last two weeks of August were some gymsallowed to start reopeningwith very limited occupancy. “We are seeing results that are worse than we hoped for,” saidNicholas Rizzo, the fitness research director at RunRepeat. “Overall less than a third of members have returned to gyms.” The results of the surveys, which were conducted in multiple countries, show that attitudes from consumers everywhere soured on gyms. In May, only 12.39% of respondents said they had canceled their memberships, and in August that number grew to 20.51%. The number of people considering canceling grew as well from 24.18% to 38.55%. Specifically in Arizona, 14.08% of survey respondents had already canceled memberships in August, but 47.89% said they are considering canceling. Still, compared to other states, Arizona has one of the lowest rates of canceled memberships in the country. Massachusetts, California and Colorado all had more than 25% of respondents saying they already canceled their memberships. But only New Jersey had a higher percentage of people saying they were considering canceling. RECOMMENDED RETAILING Walmart launching membership program with unlimited free delivery COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE Arizona shuts down 3 bars for not complying with Covid-19 protocols GOVERNMENT & REGULATIONS My View: How to ensure your business aligns with new Arizona LLC rules These numbers don’t bode well for an industry that had been booming across the Valley. Fitness tenants – including big box gyms and smaller boutique studios –were highly covetedby landlords and retail developers for the past few years. Not only did they bring people to shopping centers, gym membership holders tend to spend more money at surrounding businesses. During that time, a number of local fitness companies, along with expanding franchises, have since set up shop around the Valley. While there has yet to be a wave of permanent gym closures, Rizzo said that could be next. “The gym membership model runs on the expectation that most people won’t go,” he said. “Now those people have canceled their memberships and revenue isn’t coming in.” Most business owners did not expect the effects of the pandemic to last this long, Rizzo said, and now some are starting to worry that they might not get the boost in membership they usually see towards New Years. To combat decreases in membership, Rizzo said gyms will have to find other ways to bring in revenue. He said he’s heard of some gyms offering memberships with more personal service at a higher price point, offering classes outside and even some are loaning out equipment to members so they can work out at home.
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