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The changing attitudes of members as they age have caused gyms to transform over recent years.

As a health conscious group of consumers, millennials are constantly looking for tougher and more goal orientated workouts – often they are prepared to pay a high price to achieve this.

Boutique gyms are the perfect avenue to get their fix of high-intensity workouts. But is the boutique bubble about to burst?

In this article, we delve into the rising trend of boutique fitness within millennials, how some clubs in New York City are experiencing a different side to this trend and what boutiques can do to keep fitness-savvy consumers engrossed at any age.


Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are seen as a segment with quirky tendencies; frequently connected to their peers via social media.

The spending behaviour of this generation is often under speculation. If you haven’t read up on this already, it’s been predicted that millennials earn 30% less than their parents did at their age despite a vast majority openly admitting to happily spending £5 on their daily kale and avocado smoothie.

To put it into numbers, out of the 80 million millennials in the United States (roughly), each year they spend approximately $600 billion.

Although, an estimated 70% of all disposable income in the U.S. is controlled by Baby Boomers; making them more able to put their money towards whatever’s trending. Might it be worth brands paying attention to this generation?


We recently read an interesting article in Athletic Business about millennials and their readiness to spend BIG on boutique fitness. The article introduces us to fitness nut Carla Zuniga who pays a whopping $250 for 10 classes within a 1,500-square-foot studio facility in the heart of Los Angeles.

Her experience suggests that this generation has grown bored of traditional gyms – turning to the trusty boutique to get their fitness fix. But what is it about the boutique gym that justifies these high prices? No joining fees? No contracts? No commitment?

Our experience tells us that millennials are ditching big-box gyms for the complimentary amenities, high-end equipment, personalised interactions with trainers and a stylish atmosphere to socialise with friends.

One satisfied fitness-savvy millennial commented online: “My birthday was last week, and the teacher brought cake pops to celebrate after class. I couldn’t imagine that at a big gym.”


But there are two sides to every story. While boutique fitness seems to go from strength to strength there have been reports of the trend witnessing a decline, partly due to mainstream clubs stepping up their game.

Pete McCall, an expert with the American Council on Exercise says: “Boutique studios have completely disrupted the health club market because they offer a unique, more upscale experience in terms of the classes offered.

“As a result some health clubs are redesigning their studios and programming, offering barre, yoga and group cycling options in a setting that rivals the independent studios.”

Because of this, there have been a noticeable amount of closings in the New York boutique market. Drill Fitness, The Movement, and The Run didn’t make it past the starting line, mainly due to insufficient numbers.

The trends in sought after fitness destinations are shifting back to the big box gyms– at least that’s what one study based on the United States have found. Although small studios and boutiques dominated the fitness market in 2015 and 2016, this year it seems that big-box gyms have been flexing their marketing muscles and fighting their way back to the top.

Some clubs are doing this by building additional smaller facilities, with the hope to attract the boutique crowd, as well as keeping their current members engaged. Take Colorado’s Miramont Lifestyle Fitness Club for example, who in a bid to compete with the boutique opened up REVE: a state-of-the-art studio that provides the ultimate experience in hot yoga, circuit training, barre, SPINPower and boot camps.

To sum up, the boutique fitness market needs to keep evolving in order to remain exciting for members. Offering something unique for consumers, old and young, is one of the key ingredients for success.

We suggest boutique studios build indestructible loyalty before the trend runs its course. Click here for four tried and tested ways boutique clubs can keep their members engaged no matter what their age.


Escape is fully committed to supporting clubs and boutiques on their journey to dominate the fitness scene. We have the training tools, trainer education programmes, group training programming and facility design expertise to help you create and implement fantastic new experiences for members.

Contact our sales team to discuss your situation and needs at, or call us on:

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