Sweaty January and how gyms make money

  • The retail shop has more people per square foot, doesn’t it, even in a snapshot?
  • Now here comes the real killer — the people in the gym are likely to be staying for at least an hour per visit, while the majority of the people in the shop will wander in, buy something and leave over a period of no more than twenty minutes. The footfall has to be measured on a per hour basis, and, on this basis, gymnasia are amazingly inefficient in terms of the usage of space.

But they are so inefficient in terms of generating the customer turnover that it’s really difficult to make the fixed cost economics work, because the amount you’d need to charge per ‘sale’ would end up being beyond the means of most of the users. Unless … unless you could push the purchases per visit much higher than 100 per cent, by having people paying for the gymnasium services while not actually using them. Hence, Sweaty January.