Americans spend $1.13 billion on unused gym memberships annually

Weird flex, but OK: 3.3% of Americans have a gym membership they don't use.

It’s said there are only two constants in life: death and taxes. I’d like to add one more to that list: “New year, new me.” Every year, getting fit and healthy tops the list Americans make for New Year’s resolutions. But give it a month for reality to set in, when we end up at “old me is fine.”

These lofty goals we set for ourselves affect not only our waistlines but also something just below — our pockets. According to a recent Finder.com survey, roughly 8.3 million American adults flush a total of $1.13 billion down the drain on unused gym memberships each year.

About 87.6 million adults spend an estimated $34.8 billion on gym memberships each year. And yet 3.3% of these aspirational gymgoers never end up using them.

Take a closer look at those who say they have an active gym membership, and the number of people who use that membership fewer than once a month jumps to 9.45%.

Americans “get after it”

Roughly a quarter of all Americans (34.4%) pay for a gym membership, even if they aren’t using it. Of those with an active membership, roughly 55.4 million (63.3%) actually get to the gym at least twice a week. A further 14.3 million (16.34%) make it to the gym at least once a week.

More people say they get to the gym less than once a month (9.45%) than those who use their membership once a month (4.35%).

Most Americans spend less than $30 on gym memberships

While it’s hard to put a price on good health, of the 34.4% of gymgoing Americans, 19.6% put that price at under $30, saying they spend less than that amount on a monthly membership. A further 9.9% say they spend between $31 and $50, 2.9% spend between $51 and $70, 1.1% spend between $71 and $90 and 0.9% spend more than $91 a month on the gym.

ResponseCount% of participants
Less than $3037919.55%
$31 to $501939.5%
$51 to $70562.89%
$71 to $90211.08%
$91 or more180.93%

The world is your gym

Not only do roughly a quarter of all Americans hit the gym at least once a week, but they also work out where they live, with 45.49% of Americans saying they use gym equipment at home.

Of the Americans that have gym equipment, free weights are the most popular at 69.7% of Americans (80.8 million). Weights are followed by cardio equipment like stairmasters or treadmills (46.7%) and skipping ropes (33.7%).

Response% of respondents with home gym equipmentEstimated Americans
Free weights69.73%80,788,566
Cardio machines46.71%54,121,771
Exercise balls33.67%39,014,966
Jump rope31.63%36,650,423
Strength machines21.54%24,959,069
Pullup bar19.95%23,119,980
Other (please specify)13.61%15,763,623
None0.68%788,181

Set up a gym in your house

With summer fast approaching, many Americans are on the race to get beach bod ready through fitness. If you’re planning on joining a gym or getting toned while at home, look to Finder to compare the top treadmills, the best home exercise bikes and more.

Methodology

Our data is based on an online survey of 2,398 US adults within the age range from 1928 to 2002 commissioned by Finder and conducted by Pureprofile in January 2020. Participants were paid volunteers.

We assume the 2,398 participants in our survey represent the US population of 254.7 million Americans who are at least 18 years old according to the July 2019 US Census Bureau estimate. This assumption was made at the 95% confidence level with a 2% margin of error.

The survey asked people whether they had a gym membership, how often they used their gym membership, how much they paid for their gym membership monthly, whether they had gym equipment at home, and what type of gym equipment they owned at home.

Average amounts spent on gym memberships were calculated based on only participants who had a gym membership — the 65.60% of participants who selected that they do not have a gym membership were not included.

To avoid skewing the data, we did not include extreme outliers in our calculations

We define generations by birth year according to the Pew Research Center’s generational guidelines:

  • Gen Z — 1997-2002
  • Millennials — 1981-1996
  • Gen X — 1965-1980
  • Baby Boomers — 1946-1964
  • The Silent Generation — 1928-1945

For media inquiries:

Allan Givens headshot

Allan Givens
Public Relations Manager
203-818-2928
allan.givens@finder.com
/in/nicole-gallina/

Nicole Gallina headshot

Nicole Gallina
Finance PR Strategist
347-677-4931
ngallina@finder.com
/in/nicole-gallina/

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