By: Michael Scott Scudder
Founder/CEO of Fitness Business Council
Recent United States demographic information has startled business owners across the country…not the least of which are health club operators. A massive age-population shift is right around the corner. Will your club be prepared for it?
- Latest government statistics say that – on January 1, 2015 – 45% of the 315 million Americans will be age 50 or over!
- By 2017 – less than 3 years away – 1 of every 2 U.S. citizens will be over age 50.
- Every Baby Boomer is now over age 50.
- Industry statistics indicate that – within less than 2 ½ years – 50% of national health club members will be over age 50.
So what’s the big deal? Well, the big deal is that most club and gym advertising, marketing, and exercise programming is geared to age 35 and under! In other words, fitness facilities are acting as though their own member demographics haven’t changed in 20 years.
Add two other facts to this mix.
- 75% of all U.S. wealth and discretionary spending is controlled by consumers over age 55.
- The average 50-plusser has 6 times the discretionary buying power of the average 30-year-old.
What these numbers mean to you.
Club Owner – is that you will very soon have either a massive opportunity in your competitive marketplace or you will suffer a colossal bummer! The choice will be yours.
For those who seriously want to engage with the best-potential-buyer market we have seen in over 35 years in our industry, you will have to quickly get on the ball with several segments of your business.
- ADVERTISING: You’ll have to go where they are (and it isn’t newspapers, direct mail, radio or TV). You’ll need to learn “interactive smart site” marketing, email strategizing, and app/social media campaigning.
- SALES: They don’t like high pressure, “buy now deals,” and club tours. You’ll have to get smart with “interview selling” and “personalization” approaches. This group doesn’t like “locked in contracts” – they like no commitments until they’re customer-satisfied.
- EXERCISE TRAINING AND COACHING: Give them your run-of-the-mill orientation of two trainings on equipment and they’re gone. You’re going to have to learn “outcomes management” if you’re going to keep this group coming back and referring their friends.
- PROGRAMMING: Think “group, group, group” – from on-boarding these new 50+ members into GEX classes to Small Group Training sessions to “clubs within the club” which may include social programs, nutrition counseling groups, investment clubs, and a lot of other “lifestyle-type” events which will add value to membership.
The track record of small training studios – whose principal clientele is Baby Boomers – proves that this group will spend a lot of additional dollars for experiences that they value.
Now your job becomes creating the value.
Michael Scott Scudder is Founder/CEO of Fitness Business Council, the independent club business network. Michael can be contacted at 575-751-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org.