Fitness industry faces tough future: report

By Sarah Stowe | 22 Jul 2020 View comments

Is the fitness sector teetoring on a cliff edge? The latest figures from an industry report found more than 60 per cent of businesses, sole traders and individuals reported they would remain viable for less than a month without JobKeeper, and 86.8 per cent would struggle to survive for three months.

Industry body Fitness Australia’s Impact of Extending the JobKeeper Payment for the Fitness Industry Report highlights the critical role JobKeeper has played in supporting the sector.

The survey of more than 1,700 respondents represents more than 27 per cent of the industry and included both businesses (including clubs, gyms and studios), and individuals (including sole traders, personal trainers and group fitness instructors) for a fair representation.

Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish said the report laid bare the the impact of COVID-19, and the salvation provided by JobKeeper for businesses and exercise professionals.

“As a result of COVID-19, the sector has already faced, and will continue to face, unprecedented challenges. The introduction of JobKeeper has allowed many in the industry to stay employed, while ensuring continued access to important services for the broader community,” Elvish said.

The Impact of Extending the JobKeeper Payment for the Fitness Industry Report found:

Gyms, clubs and studios

  • 93.4% of are relying on JobKeeper to stay afloat
  • 95.9% of have seen more than 20 per cent decrease in revenue as a result of Covid-19
  • 72.9% of all those surveyed reported a drop in revenue of more than 40 per cent
  • 76.6% have lost more than 30 per cent of their members.

Sole traders, personal trainers and fitness professionals

  • 82.5% need JobKeeper to stay in business
  • 90.5% of respondents have seen more than 20 per cent slide in income because of the pandemic
  • 78.1% of all those surveyed indicated a drop of at least 40 per cent in revenue
  • 89.49% have lost more than 30 per cent of their clients
  • 71.39% have lost more than 50 per cent of their client base.

News that JobKeeper will be extended is particularly welcome for the sector.

Elvish said a continuation of JobKeeper will support a stronger Australia, fiscally, mentally and physically.

“Supporting Australia’s fitness industry by extending JobKeeper will ensure the sector can continue to be a key employer to support thousands of Australians with jobs; while supporting the broader population with improved physical and mental health outcomes,” he said.

Adala Bolto, founder of Zadi Fitness, told Inside Franchise Business Executive “Unfortunately, the bleak stats in this Fitness Industry Report do represent the sentiment on the ground.

“We can all agree that the government is doing the best they can to support businesses and keeping people employed across all sectors.”

Bolto agreed the JobKeeper program is a vital investment.

“Whilst the initial investment is very substantial, we are potentially saving on extraordinary future cost and financial pressure on our health system and fighting against the growth in mental health problems.”