Barrington Broadcasting (HOI-19) in Illinois is reporting that some local health clubs have seen memberships decline by around 20 percent in the last year or so.
These gyms say their biggest drop has been from people 35 years old and younger. One theory for the drop is that this population seems to need to hang on to their spending money.
With gas prices rising to over four dollars per gallon, it's certainly possible that gasoline costs are eating up all the disposable income people used to spend on a gym membership. Rising food costs also have consumers playing a type of grocery store game where they're watching sales snd seeking free grocery coupons on line to help minimize expenses.
While it's much more challenging to sell fitness center memberships in a down economy, it is possible. You may want to consider emphasizing how losing weight will help people save money. Here's a great article that illustrates the point: http://www.letspickupthepace.com/article.asp?ID=22.
With the health club customer feeling the penny-pinching impact of the economic downturn, perhaps now is the time to offer a great membership discount and talk about how regular exercise can help you save money overall.