Between 2016 and 2021, the UAE fitness equipment market grew significantly, with a major expansion in commercial fitness centers, with boutique and women-centric fitness centers dominating the market, as well as growth in the home-based fitness equipment industry. The fitness equipment industry experienced a temporary downturn in 2020 as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, which resulted in the closure of fitness centers and health clubs due to the country lockdown. This has, however, increased demand for home-based fitness equipment, as people prefer to follow fitness regimens at home for safety reasons.
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1.The forced closure of gyms in the UAE during pandemic had a massive impact on the fitness industry.
The forced closure of gyms in the UAE due to the restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19
has had a massive impact on the fitness industry. Facing months with no income from memberships, gyms turned to offering classes online for free, or for a fraction of their regular cost. But with running costs continuing to stay high for many, mounting bills have forced closure of many gyms in UAE. More than 30.0% of the industry employees were laid off due to COVID with Personal Trainers switching to freelancing in digital content such as Instagram and Facebook to stay afloat. This has, however, increased demand for home-based fitness equipment, as people prefer to follow fitness regimens at home for safety reasons.
- Many Initiatives were taken up by the Government of the UAE to Raise Awareness About Healthy Lifestyle and Physical Activity.
Initiatives such as Dubai Fitness Challenge and MA’KOM Initiatives which are taken up by the Government of the UAE to raise awareness about healthy lifestyle and physical activity. MA’KOM Initiative is an awareness campaign which will help the people of the UAE in gaining knowledge about the benefits of performing physical activities. Moreover, the Dubai Fitness Challenge 2020 was organized by the Dubai Sports Council and encourages every person in the city to complete 30 minutes of physical activity every day for 30 days and was open to people of all ages. Furthermore, “You make the Change Campaign” was launched by the Ministry of Health and Prevention to reduce the obesity and spread awareness about the risks it poses to human health.
- Huge demand for fitness centers in the UAE is mostly driven by rising disposable income & increasing health concerns.
Huge demand for fitness centers in the UAE is mostly driven by rising disposable income & increasing health concerns resulting in addition of number of health clubs & gyms in the country. Population growth along with increase in consumer spending has significantly led to increase in average number of members per fitness centers. Additionally, increase in membership rate in UAE fitness centers due to the prevalence of high obese population and obesity rate (Adult obesity in the UAE stood at 27.8% in 2019) has positively affected the market. Furthermore, opening up of ladies dedicated gyms such as Fitness terminal with female professional trainers to guide women’s pursuing exercises has created new segment and increased the female memberships in the country.
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- Millennials and Gen Z make up the larger proportion of the population doing fitness class activities.
Millennials and Gen Z make up the larger proportion of doing fitness class activities and are motivated by workout experiences that deliver on Balance, Routine and Prevention. According to the research, 18-35 years population invest 5-10 hours/week doing rigorous exercises such as HIIT, Running, Strength Training and Muscle Building to get in shape. Additionally, 18-55 years, especially the working population invest 3-5 hours/week doing Running, Yoga and Exercises at home to remain fit. But people above 65 years are usually inactive and invest only about an hour per week doing Walking, Yoga and Meditation. This helps the fitness market to choose their target population and invest accordingly.