Witness the fitness: the growth of gyms in search
Emily Hogarth, 30 Nov 2018
Come January, we’ll all be feeling a bit worse for wear. We’ve made merry for far too long and it’s time to take a cold hard look at ourselves and make some hard hitting New Year’s resolutions.
For many, this will include getting fit and working off all those roast potatoes. According to a YouGov survey, 41% of those making New Year’s resolutions last year said they wanted to improve their fitness.
What’s the most popular way to get fit? Joining a gym. It’s an investment too – once you’ve paid for membership you better get working out or you won’t get your money’s worth!
It’s no secret that gym visits skyrocket in January. However, we may be seeing an increase to this already busy time; The Gym Group reported at 21% YoY increase of members visits during the first month of 2017.
Which gyms are performing online and best positioned to benefit from growing interest? And what classes do we want to take?
Who’s fighting fit?
The below share of voice chart reveals the top performers for Gym and Leisure centre search terms.
As you’d expect, the market is saturated with gyms. There are two strange performers here though; MoneySavingExpert and Groupon. Gym membership can be expensive so it makes sense that people are researching for the best deals and discounts.
Interest in Gyms
People are searching for ‘Gym’ terms so much more than searching for actual ‘Gym membership’ terms:
‘Gym membership’ has seen some modest growth in the last three years, but nothing compared to the exponential growth of ‘Gym’ searches.
Should gyms be focusing on generic gym terms (such as ‘24 hour gyms’, ‘find gym’, ‘gym with pool’) rather than membership terms (‘best gym memberships’, ‘cheap gym membership’, ‘gym membership deals’?)
Unsurprisingly searches peak in January, however there is also an interesting peak in September each year – are searchers having mini resolutions at the end of summer/beginning of the school year? Or are we just happier to rejoin the gym as the summer nears its end, we get less sun, and our FOMO gradually diminishes?
Group exercise classes have become very popular, but which classes are we searching for most?
The below chart shows search volume for ‘Independant classes’:
Its glaring that ‘Yoga’ classes are the highest in demand, with over double the search volume of any other category. In fact, ‘Yoga’ is still growing in search with a 29% increase from January 2016 to January 2018.
Dressing to (im)press…
These trends are not only important for gyms and leisure centres but also retailers that offer activewear – knowing which classes people are searching for can inform a Product teams’ strategy. Get designing those Yoga matts…