Snap Fitness reveals membership spurt despite Covid

By Sarah Stowe | 13 Aug 2020 View comments

Snap Fitness has had massive membership growth in the recent months, with 89 per cent of the network reporting new members in June and 72 per cent in July.

Recent store launches have seen record memberships signed up prior to new gyms opening. Sydney’s Rose Bay gym opened with 600 pre-opening sign-ups, while soon-to-be-launched Karalee in Queensland is on track to open with more than 400 new members.

Snap Fitness national franchise sales manager, Gabe Condello, believes now is the perfect time for potential franchise buyers to act.

“If you have ever been looking to invest in a business, now is the time to consider the fitness industry as it can take from six to 12 months to get a club open,” he said.

“We are seeing great opportunities present themselves right now, from landlords providing flexible arrangements, to more people than ever wanting to be fit and healthy, leading to solid returns for clubs coming out of Covid.”

Andy Peat, chief product officer at Snap’s global parent business, Lift Brands, told Inside Franchise Business despite the pandemic and periods of lockdown, the Snap brand is robust and growing.

“We’ve had a dip while clubs are closed, but the recent surges are pretty good. The world is getting both fatter and fitter,” he said. “I don’t think fitness is going anywhere.

“We’re in a very comfortable position, with good locations, we don’t have a history of closing a lot of gyms, those we have closed have been more out of our control.”

And he believes the potential for gym growth remains strong.

“The reality is, what people are doing is getting outside and walking, running. I’ve heard from more people than ever they are moving more than ever. They are sick of being inside. They start moving, they buy fitness clothes, they start to feel and see benefits, and then want to take it to the next level.”

This trend is reflected in results from a survey Snap conducted with all new members who joined the network after the first Covid shutdown. Weightloss, which was previously the main driver for membership, is now less important to members than health and strength.

Snap is adapting its marketing messages to fit in with the trend for movement and the feelgood factor, Peat said.

The gym chain is also addressing the issue of mental wellbeing, a side-effect of the shutdown scenario.

“We’ve got a big alignment with mental health, a 28 day challenge coming up in October,” he revealed, with fitness, nutrition, wellbeing and connecting with people at the heart of the fundraising activity.

The franchisor has been diligent in supporting franchisees through shutdown, Peat said.

Support has included the human element of listening to franchisees, through to the practical – helping negotiate with landlords, freezing franchise fees, and maintaining head office staff, which has proved crucial to a swift return to business.

“The support we’ve given is a classic example of Snap, we do what it takes to feel pain with them, and share success on the other side.

“Our brand awareness has grown strong, we are investing in our growth, we’ve maintained all our head office staff and didn’t close corporate clubs because we believe in the brand.”