KENNESAW, GA September 2021 — UpSwell Marketing, a marketing firm specializing in helping gyms grow their customer base and improve member retention, today released the results of their recent fitness consumer survey.

UpSwell’s research found 64% of consumers prefer to exercise at home or in the outdoors as opposed to working out in a gym. After being hit by the pandemic, virtual fitness offerings quickly dominated the new normal for how consumers are choosing to workout, and 21% of consumers are planning to wait until the pandemic is over or more people get vaccinated before they return to a gym.

Consumers are still concerned about their safety in the wake of the pandemic, however, 21.82% of respondents stated the top reason that would motivate them to return is price promotions, while only 19.17% chose mask mandates and vaccinations. The survey also revealed a difference in opinion for different demographics. Women, on one hand, were most motivated by the mask mandates and vaccinations (19.35%), whereas men were less concerned with extra safety measures and more concerned with value-driven promotional pricing (25.15%).

By understanding the importance of promotional pricing, marketers are capable of strategically persuading consumers to rejoin the gym and renew their memberships and rebuild value in their offerings.


The top three most convincing promotional offers include:

  • Join for free (29.4%)
  • 4 weeks for $4 (16.7%)
  • Everyone’s a member in — month (12.8%)


Millennials are a key demographic to target as they are more likely to return to the gym and spend the most for a monthly membership.

  • People are now willing to spend more for a monthly membership than they were earlier in the year, averaging $41 (a 17% increase from earlier in the year).
  • Young millennials are also willing to spend a little more, averaging $46 each month for a gym membership, which Gen X are willing to pay the least, averaging at $39.
  • Although millennials are the most cautious about the pandemic (23.01% vs 17.95% of Gen X), they are also the least likely to write off the gym, with only 13.81% stating they will likely not return.


The survey revealed when considering a gym, pricing, convenience, and sanitation, were the most important factors to consumers. Know your customers’ wants and needs. Clubs may need to listen to pivot their strategy to keep members returning to the gym.

Of the top reasons that would deter someone from rejoining their previous gym, lack of sanitation came in first with 35.29%, an increase in price at 30.93%, and a vaccine or mask mandate with 24.29%. Marketing to relevant consumer needs can help to regain momentum and stay profitable in a time when attendance in gyms is so low.

The fitness survey was conducted in August 2021 with a total of 1,054 respondents in the United States, between the ages of 25 – 54, who regularly exercise at least once a month. To learn more about this survey or get additional insights, reach out to


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About UpSwell Marketing

UpSwell is a direct response marketing agency that serves independent and franchise auto shops whose growth is based on their ability to attract customers from their local communities. UpSwell, founded in 2020 through the merger of Muscle Up Marketing and Mudlick Marketing, has more than 13 years of marketing experience serving over 10,000 clients, executing more than 150,000 campaigns, and a track record of helping clients acquire over 10 million new customers and counting.

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