How price-sensitive are German gym members?

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Due to rising prices, many fitness studios feel compelled to increase membership prices. How price-sensitive German members really are and whether they would support price increases was investigated in a survey of around 400 members throughout Germany.

As part of a study on the price sensitivity of gym members in the UK (Allen, J. (2022): Price Rise Sensitivity Report), it was worked out how gym members might react to possible price increases, e.g., due to rising energy prices. However, the results of the British study are not very meaningful, especially for the German market.

Large proportion of male members

For this reason, a survey was developed for the German market. This not only asks up to what level members would tolerate a price adjustment, but also a change in usage behavior as well as foregoing some of the usual services such as sauna, swimming pool or solarium in order to help the gym save on energy costs. A total of around 400 gym members from 26 cities in Germany took part.

A large proportion of the respondents (72%) were male, while the proportion of female participants was 28%. In terms of age, on the other hand, there was a much broader distribution. For example, respondents aged 30-39 made up the largest proportion at 27%, followed by those aged 40-49 (22%) and 50-59 (21%). 78% of participants have been members of a gym for more than 2 years, and only 8% are not enrolled in a gym. On average, participants exercise two (33%) or three (29%) times per week. 19% work out four times per week, 6% five times per week. 7% of members work out less than once a week.

The main focus of training for 74% of respondents is strength training on the training surface, 5% mainly use the course offering and 17% combine surface and courses. 5 % train mainly in the cardio area and 12 % at a training circuit. Similar to the age structure, there is a broad distribution of paid monthly fees. 27% of members pay up to €50 per month, 22% up to €40, 10% up to €60 and 15% over €60.

Fitnessstudio Preise

Agreement to price increase at 50%

When asked whether members would agree to a (moderate) price adjustment of the membership fee due to increased costs, 51% answered "Yes" and 35% "No". In terms of the amount of the monthly adjustment, 34% would agree to up to a 5% increase, 49% of respondents would agree to up to a 10% increase, and 7% each would agree to up to a 15% increase or up to a 20% increase. Only 3% of members would accept an increase above 20%.

It is interesting to note that 83% of those surveyed who pay less than €20 a month are prepared to accept a price adjustment, whereas only 30% are prepared to do so for contributions up to €30 and 44% up to €40. Only in the case of higher contributions does the willingness increase again to 65% (over €60 monthly contribution).

Male members tend to be more willing (58%), while female members are more cautious (32% agreement). A large proportion of respondents would agree to a 10% increase - regardless of the level of contribution. The less expensive the studio, the greater the willingness to pay a little more.

Reasons for not accepting a price increase

The reason why members would not accept a price increase was also asked. The 35% who answered "No" to the question about a moderate increase gave the following reasons (multiple answers possible, therefore sum > 100%):

  • 44 %: The gym is expensive enough as it is; 30%: I don't have enough money to pay more; 51%: I am not willing to spend more money on a gym
  • 16 %: A price adjustment is ok if more additional services are offered
  • 12 %: Other reasons

For the "other" reasons, participants could fill out a text box. These were the most frequently mentioned answers: "Equipment would have to be increased", "We just had an increase", "The quality of the studio does not justify more", "Costs have also increased in other areas".

The last question was aimed at the willingness to give up some additional services at the gym over a period of time to help with cost-saving measures: For example, 30% of respondents would be willing to give up the use of showers, 34% would be willing to give up the sauna, 21% would be willing to give up the swimming pool (if available), 23% would be willing to give up the solarium, and 2% would be willing to give up massages and trainers. However, 23% of respondents are also not willing to give up services.


The survey has shown that there is definitely a willingness among members to go along with a price adjustment. This survey took place during the energy crisis, so the respondents are aware that their own cost of living is also rising. Price adjustments should be moderate, well justified and not across-the-board. An individual cover letter should ask for understanding, and various ways of implementation by fitness chains have shown how it is better not to do it: silence is not always consent. For this reason, it is important to see the member as a partner and bring him or her on board.

Want to know how to legally increase your membership fees? Just read up:

Fitness studio contributions increase, so geht`s.


Image Source: #465835498 luismolinero /

Published on: 17 January 2023

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