Local retail sales and consumer confidence may be cooling, but don’t tell that to the owners of Argentina fitness centers where 9 out of 10 gyms are growing and double-digit increases in membership rates are only outpaced by membership growth.
According to Cronista, fitness is a US$925 million industry in Argentina, a country where some 2.3 million members run, squat, swim, curl, jerk, spin or just pose in front of a mirror at over 6,600 fitness centers nationwide. The typical gym in Argentina has 350 members, and the average Argentine gym goer spends US$400 annually or US$33 monthly on their fitness fix.
An industry survey of Argentine gym owners by Mercado Fitness found that 90% believe their operation will grow this year, 63% plan to expand, 57% plan to invest in new equipment, 61% plan to add new services and 12% plan to open a new location. Equally bullish are the members who have been unfazed by recent hikes in monthly fees on the order of 11 to 20%. Ironically, the gyms that raised fees the most are the largest facilities with the most members. (Fit) Argentines love a crowd.
Gyms like Megatlon and SportClub are the country’s mega-gyms with 60 locations combined and an average of 2,500 members per club. Smaller neighborhood gyms are the most common place to work out, and 50% of these gyms have fewer than 200 clients.
Considering that only 5% of the country’s population are gym members (compared to 15% in the US), there would seem to be significant upside in the Argentine market especially for an established US franchise like Planet Fitness or Anytime Fitness that could pump up Argentina fitness the way Starbucks revolutionized the way Argentines enjoy their coffee. (Full Story in Spanish)
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