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SunLive – NZ exercise industry bounces back

The New Zealand exercise industry has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, according to ExerciseNZ’s latest survey.

At the same time, there is significant variation between facilities both from a location, size and demographic perspective, meaning that some facilities are still significantly below their 2019 levels and others are significantly above.

The vast majority of key industry metrics show the industry is responding well and was re-growing in 2022, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

“Perhaps most positively, business confidence is high with an average of an eight out of 10 confidence level for the future.

The key takeaway from the survey is the industry has bounced back with some clubs reporting growth of over 30 per cent from 2019. 

The challenges are major labour pressures  with slightly less staff being paid more and unprecedented inflation is causing further pricing pressures. 

But Richard says there is very high optimism towards 2023 with most of those who own and manage facilities feeling positive about the next 12 months.

One area that continues to be a challenge for the industry is staffing, and it’s clear that there has been a slight drop in the number of full-time equivalents.

“At the same time, there is a significant increase in the overall payroll resulting in significant wage and labour pressures, as well as a very tight labour market.”

The survey compares September 2019, before the Covid lockdowns to September 2022. Nearly 300 gyms and exercise facilities responded to the survey.

The survey covered issues such as total membership numbers, daily member visits, membership freezes or suspensions, revenue, group exercise classes, engagement and fees of personal trainer contractors, membership pricing, total employee changes, pay rate changes and business owners’ confidence.

It found a slight increase in revenue, but just like the change in total membership numbers, facilities have had significantly different experiences. across the range of possible answers. 

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