One of the largest growth areas in the fitness industry over the past several years has been so-called “boutique fitness” studios — specialty fitness centers focused on everything from indoor cycling to HIIT.
The sector has been a driver of growth within the health club industry, accounting for 40 percent of the overall market, according to CNBC. That figure represents a 121-percent increase over four years, compared to just 18 percent growth over that same period for bigger gyms.
In all, the health club industry’s profits are up to $32 billion, as more people invest more money in fitness.
Boutiques charge a premium for their high-end experiences, and many have found success by branding themselves as more than just places to exercise, but as social spaces.
However, CNBC says that analysts monitoring the state of the economy have concerns that if a recession hits, the industry could face a slowdown — and boutiques could be the hardest hit.
“Consumers are going to be dropping that from their budget,” Kristen Geil, editor-in-chief of ASweatLife told CNBC. “It’s the easiest thing to cut, but gyms will try to up their experience to make people stay with the trainers they know and love.”
Economic indicators have shown warning signs of a coming recession in recent weeks, but whether the fitness industry will actually take a hit remains to be seen.