Supply Chain Issues Threatening the Fitness Industry Post-Pandemic Recovery


According to the 2021 IHRSA Global Report, after generating record revenue of $35 billion in 2019, the fitness industry in the United States only generated a paltry $15 billion in 2020, a loss of about $20.4 billion or 58 percent because of temporary health club closures and capacity restrictions mandated by local and state governments to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

Data from major gym and studio payment processing companies serving the industry reveals that the optimism is too late for the 17 percent of US health clubs that had to close permanently due to the pandemic, but the report continues to show that there are better days ahead — the industry is poised for a strong recovery. In the first few months of 2021, health clubs saw 75 to 80 percent of their pre-pandemic membership levels return as health has become a higher priority to Americans and the increased desire to experience community after being in lockdown.

As local and state government restrictions are lifted existing and new health clubs will begin to open. This can be seen with the majority of the fitness chains ranked in the Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 continuing their pre-pandemic expansion plans to prepare for this optimistic growth. With some franchise unit growth averaging more than 50% since 2019 [Planet Fitness (+35.2%), Crunch (+47.3%), Blink Fitness (+94.5%)], the demand for gym equipment has skyrocketed.

While health clubs are poised for a resurgent boom, the rug may still be pulled out as global manufacturing and their supply chains are still feeling the damaging effects of the pandemic. A concoction of supply shortages, lockdowns throughout China disrupting factories, and the dearth of container capacity affecting global logistics, are causing long lead times for new gym equipment with some manufacturers expecting to deliver on their current orders in 20-30 weeks.

Many health clubs have turned to the used gym equipment for sale market to fulfill the increased global demand for equipment. Leading suppliers of used gym equipment like Pro Gym Supply have seen an increasing demand for commercial strength and cardio equipment by new and existing health clubs, personal training studios, hotels, condos, and condominiums. Club owners are finding the immense value in used gym equipment by saving money on equipment that works and looks like new, having immediate access to equipment inventory compared to new equipment, and the additional benefit of being environmentally friendly by reducing waste.

Timing is a major factor when it comes to opening a gym or health club. Due to these delays, clubs are trusting the used market to be the catalyst fueling their opening. Older models of gym equipment can often times be preferred by members because of certain features. Along with this, the pairing of quick turnaround and value puts the owner more in the green when building their business. With the global manufacturing chain not appearing to speed up anytime soon, used gym equipment is here to stay and will be occupying gyms around the country.