Fitness went online during the pandemic as stay-at-home orders kept gym-goers inside. But the industry came roaring back as soon as vaccines became widely available and COVID concerns abated. And two players, in particular, are seeing outsized success within their regions.
Blink Fitness: Budget Fitness Enthusiasts
Blink Fitness is a New York native, with nearly 75% of its 120 locations in New York and New Jersey. The chain focuses on inclusivity and a body-positive approach to fitness, helping attract a wide range of customers. And though Blink is a decidedly East Coast chain, with several locations in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Massachusetts, it has begun its expansion into new corners of the country, with eight locations in California and others in Illinois, Texas, and Florida.
The company invested in customer engagement during the pandemic, turning an app originally targeted at premium members into a platform for quarantining fitness aficionados. Noting the overall anxious state of its clients, Blink focused the app’s contents on mental health and wellness by including features such as short meditation videos. Post-pandemic, gym-goers concerned about social distancing can use the app to check how crowded a gym is before visiting.
And this investment in improving the consumer experience has likely helped Blink thrive. Visits to Blink increased by 71.4% Yo3Y in December 2022, while overall visits to New York and New Jersey area gyms grew by 35.2% for the same period. Visit frequency to the chain has also increased, from an average of 3.0 monthly visits per visitor in 2019 to 3.9 average monthly visits per visitor in 2022.
This uptick in visits and customer loyalty may be driven by Blink’s positioning as a budget gym. Many consumers have been looking for ways to invest both in their health and find communal activities – and in a period marked by inflation, a low-cost gym allows people to meet those needs without breaking the bank.