Fitness Industry Boom Amid a Significant Decline in Online Search for Fitness?

fitness industry priorities

Grant Ian Gamble is a best-selling mindful leadership author and speaker. He has over 30 years of experience in leading teams to create innovative customer experiences, building engaged workforces, and developing leaders who prioritize mindfulness in their approach.

There is, seemingly, a health and fitness club or a boutique offering on every street corner today. And yet online searches for health and fitness clubs have diminished significantly.

IBISWorld reports over 6,466 Gyms and Fitness Centres in Australia in 2024, and that does not include many outlier categories. And yet, online searches for these facilities have diminished by almost 10%!

Club offerings vary but when it comes to the basics, most gyms offer similar strength and cardio equipment. So how do they differentiate themselves amid fierce competition for click conversions? There is a lot of overlap even in the Group Ex space.

Some clubs sell on volume of equipment, some market their specific equipment, most project images that suggest potential members will have rippling abs and bulging biceps if they sign up today. With high attrition and escalating competition, it is getting harder and harder for clubs to extract themselves from the bloodied waters of the feeding frenzy when most of the messaging feels and looks very similar. 

In the boutique space, clubs and studios celebrate their uniqueness. But the boutique model suffers even higher attrition and has even bigger challenges at present. The smaller footprint boutique clubs are specialized, and as a result I believe people eventually get bored or don’t resonate with the offering in the longer term and move on. 

Regardless of the model or the breadth or limitation of offerings, the fitness and wellness industry is cycling through another boom and facing incredible challenges. In an attempt to address those challenges, industry icons express the need to create differentiation through the Member Experience. But how? And more specifically, how do you scale that differentiation?

I believe it revolves around people . . . around the Team! After all, we are, and always will be, a people business.

We serve people through people. We attract people through people. And people remain the most significant differentiator in terms of the member experience. 

Great people join this industry on a daily basis and equally many depart the industry, very often disillusioned. They’re the same people that walked through the door full of aspirations and hope, but what happened? We’re facing churn similar to hospitality and the telecom industry, and scrapping for the bottom rung of the team retention ladder.

Some suggest that the kids entering the workforce don’t have “the same work ethic as we did”; others suggest that it is a more transient world; and almost across the board club group employers complain that they can’t attract enough team members, let alone “quality team members”.

So if we have a revolving door of team members, how do we consistently deliver great member experiences? Something has to change.

When my partners and I built AFFINITY OS™, we did not build it because the industry needs another software platform. Because that’s sure as heck not true. We built AFFINITY OS because as an industry we need to do a better job of engaging our Team Members and in turn enhancing the Member Experience. These two things are indelibly intertwined. 

I had learned that listening to what your team has to say and distilling the relevant trends into actionable intelligence provides us with a great place to start. Data clearly shows that as Team Engagement improves, the Member Experience follows. It’s not rocket science. 

I am writing this blog because we have a problem in this industry, and yes I think we have a solution. But regardless of whether you use our tools to drive Team Engagement and measure Member Experience, this is where we need to start. Anyone with enough money can build a great facility and populate it with great equipment. It is and will always be the people that will make the heart of that business beat. Your Team Members are your “moat” against the competition! 

Interested in learning more about how to transform your organization’s approach to team member engagement and customer experience? Reach out to our team at AFFINITY OS, specialists in AI-driven customer experience and team member engagement optimization.

Dive into the heart of exceptional leadership and customer-centric success with AOS Academy. Our certification courses, guided by the “PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS” mantra, are designed to support professionals as mindful, effective leaders and service providers. 

By integrating key insights from Grant Ian Gamble’s best-selling mindful leadership book, “The Affinity Principle”, we focus on nurturing people-centric cultures of empathy, effective communication, and customer service excellence.

The AOS Academy is more than just training – it’s a journey towards personal and professional transformation, ensuring every interaction and decision is rooted in understanding and valuing people first.


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Put PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS and watch your business flourish.

Dive deep into the latest trends in customer experience and team engagement, mindful leadership and management. Discover practical tools and strategies that you can use to build a people-centric culture, the foundation for sustainable long-term business growth and success.

Led by mindful leadership expert, Grant Ian Gamble, a best-selling author and true visionary with over 30 years of experience in leading teams to create innovative customer experiences, building engaged, inspired and fulfilled workforces, and developing leaders who prioritize genuine connection in their approach.

The guiding principle behind all of Grant’s work is PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS.

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