Results of the study – The Swiss fitness industry in the first half of 2021

Together with the DHfPG, swiss active – CI Fitness Switzerland carried out a survey on the Swiss fitness industry as of June 2021 in order to map the first developments in the industry after the restart of the Swiss fitness industry. The online survey started on June 4th, 2021 and ran until July 9th, 2021. The aim of the survey was to create a first representative business card for the fitness industry in Switzerland, to create market transparency and the current mood in the industry before Draw background of corona pandemic. We are very pleased to present the results of the study to you below. A big thank you also goes to all Swiss fitness operators who took part in the survey, which was initialized in German, French and Italian.

General information about the survey

489 establishments took part in the survey. In total there are around 1,300 fitness centers in Switzerland. This results in a participation rate of 37.6 percent.

Mood picture from the fitness scene after the restart

The mood in the fitness scene has been positive since the restart. Since the centers reopened, no negative influences on the corona infection have been recognized in Switzerland. Established safety and hygiene concepts are essential for this stability. 99.6 percent of the operators rate the concepts as fairly to very mature. These are communicated to the members in a clear and easily recognizable manner. They are posters at the entrance (100.0% of the centers), by email (98.4% of the centers), by the employees (99.6% of the centers) or via additional notices in the center (89.0% of the centers) Regulations clearly visible and extremely clear for customers. The members are very willing to implement the regulations.

Relevance to the industry

It is scientifically justified that regular physical training contributes to an increased functionality of the immune system and enables the body to better adjust to coping with a disease. The training affects both the physical and mental health of the members. The operators of fitness and health organizations are aware of this fact. They perceive themselves fully (81.8%) or partially (18.2%) as a health care provider. If they are asked to assign their center to a positioning, “Training” is chosen most frequently (31.6%), followed by “Health” 29.6%) and “Lifestyle” (27.7%). Only 11.1 percent assign their center to the positioning “wellness”.

Qualification as a foundation and a relevant future building block

Further training and employee qualifications are highly relevant for the operators in Switzerland. This is also shown by the following results. 99.4 percent of the companies used the first year of the pandemic to train their employees. In 2021 so far (as of June 2021) it is 83.0 percent. The proportion of companies that trained their employees in device-based strength training in 2020 was 69.7 percent. This is followed by further training in functional training / athletic training (63.2%), group fitness (53.0%), device-supported cardiovascular training (47.4%) and management (44.4%).

Further training in the field of health has future potential

Device-based strength training (57.5%), functional training / athletic training (53.6%), device-supported cardiovascular training (46.8%), management (42.5%) and group fitness (39.9%) will remain in 2021 as well. ) the areas in which most plants train their employees. In addition, employees are increasingly being trained in mental fitness (+ 12.3 percentage points). This is an understandable consequence of the Corona crisis and the resulting additional psychological stress on people. It is also another point that shows that the holistic approach to fitness and health is extremely important. It can be seen that the companies will continue to focus more on their core offering in the future, but also train their employees in the field of digitization. More than every fourth operator (28.0%) has trained its employees in the field of digitization.

Digitization as a supplement, but not as a replacement

The perspective on this question is clear. For 79.5 percent of operators, digitization will complement training in the center, but not replace it. Live group courses and training videos have gained in importance as a result of the crisis.

Check-in numbers in comparison

An increase in check-ins has been evident since the restart. Although more visits were registered in April / May of 2019, the trend since the restart is clear. The increase of around 24.0 percent to 3,176 check-ins from April 21st to May 21st is very positive, because a decrease of 15.2 percent was recorded in 2019.

Overview of the age groups

It is noticeable that after the restart, the target group of 20 to 29 year olds is most frequently represented. This is indicated by around 59.1 percent of those surveyed. The data also show that the age groups over 50 years of age in particular have a lower frequency of training than before the pandemic. While 42.6 percent of the centers report that there is an increased frequency of training among those up to 19 years of age, the older target groups seem to have stayed away from the centers more and more since the restart. For the 60 plus age group, 97.7 percent of the operators stated that they noticed a lower frequency of training than before the pandemic. Here it is important to identify the barriers in these target groups and to counteract them accordingly.

The development of the number of members

Looking at the overall market, the average number of members per center after the restart in May 2021 is 1,130. This means that it has decreased by 11.8 percent compared to the same period before the pandemic (May 2019: 1,281). However, there is a positive view towards winter. For December 2021, the operators expect an average membership of 1,214 per center, which would be an increase of 7.4 percent compared to May of this year and a reduction of 9.9 percent compared to December 2019.

Employees at a glance

The total number of employees in 2020 is 27,690. As of December 31, 2021, the operators expect a workforce of 30,550, an increase of 10.3 percent. A center has an average of almost 23 employees, including 11 permanent employees and two dual students.


Despite the COVID circumstances, the signs in the Swiss fitness industry are positive. Check-in numbers are moving towards 2019 levels, and membership numbers are also slowly recovering. The development of the number of employees also shows that the industry continues to grow. Against the background of the Corona crisis, digitization has proven to be a complementary service. This strengthens the industry and a differentiated offer has made it easier for members to integrate fitness training into life. The operators look forward to the future with optimism. 61.9 percent expect the economic situation of their center to (rather) improve in the next twelve months. The fitness industry is and will remain an industry of the future – especially after the crisis.

Further information on the study can be found by clicking on the button below.

Online presentation on the results of the study

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Sarah Kobel (DHfPG)
Date: August 12, 2021
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Virtual course room
Language: German
Participation: Free of charge