The trend of repurposing vacant retail space for fitness clubs is very real and new research shows the trend continues to grow.
Commercial real estate developer JLL’s research team examined more that 6,000 fitness center move-ins that dated back to 2013 and found that 111,055 fitness centers currently reside in retail centers, an increase of 23.5 percent since 2010.
Growth of the trend is expected to continue. JLL expected more than 120,000 location in vacated retail space by 2024.
Exactly which types of developments the gyms are moving into varies by location. Grocery-anchored neighborhood centers continue to be favored locations. JLL found that four out of 10 locations are centered in “necessity-based” retail environments.
Malls are the least favored locations, although their fitness clientele numbers on the upswing, with fitness move-ins at mall tripling over the past five years, during which time their share of the retail segment grew from 3 percent to 6.5 percent.
While in-home solutions like Peloton are also popular, JLL does not think the movement will hurt the out-of-home fitness market. According to the report, Peloton sold 577,000 bikes and treadmills in the last five years by targeting high-income consumers, particularly parents, who can’t get to the studio.
JLL believes fitness studios are just as much about the community experience as the workout itself.
“With consumers increasingly looking for feel-good experiences, destination fitness concepts are going to be around for a while,” the report concludes.