Fitness Facilities in Japan: Key Research Findings 2020

There are 7,893 Fitness Facilities Nationwide as of October 2020, with 24-Hour Gyms Exceeding 1,700

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the domestic private-run fitness facilities as well as those private companies operating such facilities, and found out the number of fitness facilities as of October 2020, the trend of fitness facilities by business type, and future perspectives.

Number of Fitness Facilities Nationwide By Business Type
Number of Fitness Facilities Nationwide By Business Type
Population per Fitness Facility by Prefecture, Top 5 Municipalities with Largest Population per Facility
Population per Fitness Facility by Prefecture, Top 5 Municipalities with Largest Population per Facility

Market Overview

The survey on nationwide fitness facilities together with those companies operating such facilities has found out that there were 7,893 facilities nationwide as of October 2020. When categorizing them by business type, the number of fitness centers was 1,131, small-scale fitness facilities 2,189, 24-hour fitness gyms 1,704, yoga studios 963, and other types 1,886. The largest number of fitness facilities by business type, therefore, was small-scale facilities mainly for circuit training, occupying 27.7% of all fitness facilities. 24-hour fitness gyms that have been increasing rapidly in recent years were the second largest, occupying 21.6%. Meanwhile, fitness centers, fully equipped with pool, gym, studio, etc., accounted only for 14.3%, though they used to be the mainstream in the market.

Of the above-mentioned 7,893 facilities, there were 674 newly opened facilities (opened during Jan to Dec 2019.) Among such new facilities, the number of fitness centers was 27, small-scale gym 72, 24-hour gym 353, yoga studios 68, other types 154. The largest number of new facilities by business type was 24-hour gym, boosting the fitness facility market. On the other hand, newly-opened fitness centers were only 27, showing a declining tendency in the market share furthermore for the future.

Noteworthy Topics

Nationwide Average Population per Fitness Facility Estimated at 16,102

When calculating the population per facility based on the national census 2015 and on the nationwide number of fitness facilities as of October 2020 found out in this research, i.e. 7,893 facilities, there were average 16,102 people per facility.

When observing the population per facility by prefecture, the top 5 largest population per facility were Ehime Prefecture at 37,440 people per facility, Aomori 32707, Kumamoto 32,476, Iwate 29,082, and Shimane 28,831. The regions that suffer from rapid aging and where those top 5 prefectures belong to, i.e. Kyushu, Chugoku, Shikoku and Tohoku, tend to have relatively small number of fitness facilities against population. On the other hand, the top 5 smallest population per facility were Tokyo at 8,956 people per facility, Osaka 12,538, Aichi 13,532, Kyoto 14,343, and Shiga 14,718. It may be natural to see large population in Japan’s two largest cities, Tokyo and Osaka, and therefore, natural to find many fitness facilities in these two cities. However, it implies more than that. Small population per facility means that a great number of fitness gyms against population.

When calculated the population per facility by municipality, the top 5 largest population per facility were Kita-ku, Kumamoto City in Kumamoto Prefecture at 139,974 people per facility, Chitose City in Hokkaido 95,448, Mihara City in Hiroshima 93,338, Nishi-ku Saitama City in Saitama Prefecture 92,588, and Shikokuchuo City in Ehime 84,563. The population in these cities per facilities reached 5 or 6 times larger than the above-mentioned population per facility by prefecture. When considering the locational conditions of the existing facilities in such vacant municipalities, both small-scale and 24-hour fitness gyms may be worth opening, because they tend to be located in quite vacant areas.

Future Outlook

Newly opened fitness facilities in 2019 were 1.4 times larger in number than the year before, because newly-opened 24-hour fitness gyms exceeded 350 per year, and because of newly opened small-scale gyms and yoga studios.

However, in 2020, the fitness facility market was harmfully influenced by COVID-19 pandemic, as the facilities were forced to close voluntarily or to limit the operating hours. When looking at the facilities by business type, because the members of fitness centers and small-size gyms largely occupied by older people, the sales performance was seriously damaged. Even major companies operating fitness facilities have been compelled to close down some of such facilities. Yoga studios have been required to limit the number of people allowed to enter studios to avoid 3Cs, reducing the profit earning efficiency. In such a situation, 24-hour fitness gyms, which tend to consist mainly of young-generation members, have quickly started their operation, and are likely to increase the profile in the fitness facility market furthermore.

Fitness facilities have always been concentrated in the Tokyo metropolitan and Kinki areas. These areas used to suffer from excessive competition before the COVID-19 calamity. The new coronavirus pandemic has affected people to prevent from visiting large cities, as voluntary stay-home and working at home stabilized, which led the fitness facilities close to railway stations in urban cities to face predicament. Hereafter, it is noteworthy to pay attention to whether fitness facilities would open at local cities or in the suburbs of metropolitan areas where there are open opportunities.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: September 2020 to January 2021
2.Research Object: Nationwide private-run fitness facilities as well as nationwide private companies operating fitness facilities
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by the expert researchers, survey via telephone, and literature research

About the Research

This research took place during September 2020 to January 2021 regarding nationwide private-run fitness facilities and their operating companies nationwide.

The survey found out the number of fitness facilities nationwide as of October 2020, and categorized the facilities by business type to view the current status, challenges and future perspectives. In addition, quantitative studies on fitness facilities were carried out by analyzing the locations of facilities via GIS (Geographic Information System) and the locational environment via demographic statistics.

Categorization of fitness facilities by business type in this research is as follows:
- Fitness center: Facilities fully equipped with pool, gym, and studio
- Small-scale fitness gym: Facilities mainly for circuit training
- 24-hour fitness gym: Facilities open 24 hours and have self-service hours
- Yoga studio: Facilities specializes in yoga, hot yoga, or/and pilates
- Others: Facilities other than fitness centers, small-scale gyms, 24-hour gyms, or yoga studios

<Products and Services in the Market>

Fitness facility-operating companies, fitness facilities (fitness center, small-scale gym, 24-hour gym, yoga studio, others)

Published Report

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