The Rise of the Boutique Fitness Industry

By July 30, 2019 No Comments

If you’ve walked down a city street recently or scrolled through your social media pages, chances are that you have seen the boutique fitness industry on display in some capacity. So how did the boutique fitness industry grow from something you may have only encountered every once in a while to something you see all the time? The boutique fitness industry has experienced significant growth in recent years due to a number of different contributing factors. The world is constantly changing and recent years have brought individuals more information than ever about the impact of various exercises on their overall health and wellness, the importance of placing a continued emphasis on physical exercise, and more. 

Boutique studio fitness is an ideal way to exercise for many people. It provides instruction by qualified fitness instructors designed to achieve results, a group fitness atmosphere that fosters a sense of community, and physical exertion that provides a challenge for your muscles and mental fortitude. What’s not to like? The boutique fitness industry isn’t going anywhere soon; in fact, it is expected to continue to grow and remain one of the most popular fitness trends in the future. Rush Cycle provides the opportunity for you to capitalize on this growth in the boutique fitness industry by franchising. There is a limitless opportunity for individuals looking to grow with Rush Cycle, which is one of the fastest-growing indoor cycling franchises in the country. If you’re curious about this potential franchising opportunity but are looking for more information on the boutique fitness industry, look no further. The guide below will provide you with an introduction to what boutique fitness is, the factors that have contributed to its massive growth in the past several years, and how this niche industry is expected to continue growing in the future.  

What is Boutique Fitness? 

Before diving into what has caused the recent boom in boutique studio fitness, it’s vital to understand exactly what boutique fitness is. At its core, boutique fitness is a niche part of the fitness industry, but recently it has also become one of the fastest growing portions of the fitness industry. So what caused boutique fitness to begin climbing the ranks of popularity and becoming a powerhouse in the fitness industry? 

Boutique fitness is inherently different than big-box gyms and that is a huge part of its draw to today’s population. Boutique fitness studios are often smaller and more intimate, typically ranging between eight hundred and thirty-five hundred square feet in size. Instead of being a huge building filled with machines where people wander around aimlessly trying to figure out what to do, boutique fitness provides community and direction, adding to a more productive fitness experience. Boutique fitness studios typically are centered around offering group fitness classes that are specialized in particular types of exercises, such as cycling, yoga, pilates, boxing, boot camp, high-intensity interval training, and more1. 

At Rush Cycle, our boutique fitness studios are centered around providing cycling classes that are designed to be efficient and fun. We pride ourselves on making our cycling studios an inspiring and comfortable atmosphere that fosters a killer and convenient workout. We believe that working out should be enjoyable instead of intimidating and have crafted our classes so that you can burn calories while enjoying your time spent on the bike and fostering a sense of community in the class. Because they are more specialized and intimate, classes at a boutique fitness studio can be more expensive than a big box gym membership, but the benefits they provide in return outweigh the additional cost for many people2. In fact, a 2014 Nielsen and Les Mils survey found that “Small boutique gyms with a single activity are now the 2nd most popular venue for; fitness classes to music indoors, group training indoors and working out with a personal trainer.”3

With this understanding of what boutique fitness is, it’s possible to take a more in-depth look at what factors have contributed to the rapid rise in popularity of boutique fitness studios.

Contributing Factors to the Massive Growth of Boutique Fitness

If you’ve noticed the recent boom in growth in the boutique fitness industry, you may be wondering what has led this niche area of the fitness industry to become a popular fitness medium. Below are a handful of contributing factors and reasons why boutique fitness is experiencing massive growth in the world of health and wellness. 

    • The target demographic for the boutique fitness industry is the younger generation. Part of what boutique fitness has tapped into is the characteristics that appeal to Gen Z and Millenials. According to the IHRSA, eighteen to twenty-five-year-olds are more likely to be a customer of fitness studios while thirty-five to fifty-four-year-olds are more likely to be members of traditional fitness facilities4. The demographic for boutique fitness is different than a traditional big box gym and its growth is linked to its appeal to this younger generation. The popularity and growth in the boutique fitness industry is also linked to social media, of which the younger generation are the primary targets. Many boutique fitness studios have harnessed the power of social media influencers and a strong social media presence to attract new clients into their studios. Despite having a higher price tag, many individuals find the value and community offered by boutique fitness to be worth the extra cost5.   
    • Boutique fitness classes can foster a sense of community. Exercising can be an alienating experience for some individuals and boutique fitness addresses those people who are searching for a sense of community with their daily dose of sweat. Instead of being left to search for the right tools to transform their health alone, a boutique fitness studio offers participants a way to join a group of other people that are also working towards improving their fitness. Boutique fitness classes foster a community experience for the individuals in the class, which can motivate participants to work harder to push themselves. In addition to boosting the effort exerted in the class because of the community atmosphere, having a group of people around during the exercise to joke and experience the class with can make it more fun and enjoyable. Because many boutique fitness studios offer relatively small classes, participants will often get to know each other and their instructors over the course of their classes, which can cultivate friendships that extend outside of the studio. The strong sense of community that some boutique fitnesses classes promote is one of the qualities that have drawn more and more people into boutique fitness studios.6 
    • The limited availability and higher cost of classes at boutique fitness studios promote accountability. Because boutique fitness studios are often much smaller than their big-box counterparts, they offer a more limited class schedule, which means that there are limited places available to participate in the classes. If the boutique fitness studio is particularly popular, it may also have an advance registration system and a waiting list for classes. In addition to these practices, the limited availability for the classes often drives boutique fitness studios to have strict guidelines around attendance. Common attendance policies include an associated fee if an individual signs up for a class and does not show up or a required timeline for cancellation before forfeiting the cost of the class. The limited availability of boutique fitness classes and their average higher cost than going to big box gyms makes individuals more likely to commit and be accountable for going to the classes that they sign up for.7
    • Boutique fitness studios can be an effective and refreshing departure from the monotony of traditional gyms. Many individuals view the higher cost for a class at a boutique fitness studio to have an associated higher value since it is in a smaller group setting and provides direct instruction by a fitness instructor that has often received specialized training or certification in that particular fitness area. Instead of paying less to go to a big box gym and be confronted with a lack of knowledge about how to achieve the results they want, participants in boutique fitness classes are invited to show up and expend the effort, the instructor will provide all of the direction and guidance needed to help them achieve their personal goals. Removing the guesswork and confusion can be a huge draw for many individuals looking for guidance without taking on the additional cost of having a personal trainer. Boutique fitness studios are appealing and accessible options for individuals looking for targeted, specific types of exercise in a fun environment. Boutique fitness studios offer a stark change from the days of endless solo cardio. Many individuals, particularly in the younger generation, would rather ditch their treadmills to join a boutique fitness class that offers a refreshing change from boring trips to the gym.8

These are just a few of the contributing factors that have led to a rise in the boutique fitness industry, but what does the future growth of this niche area of the fitness industry look like? 

Continued Growth Expectations for Boutique Fitness 

One of the main factors that has contributed to the rapid rise of boutique fitness compared to fitness industry growth, in general, is its domination of a niche area of the industry that has since expanded to overtake many of the prior traditional models, but will this trend hold? The boutique fitness industry is anticipated to continue to rise in popularity and grow because of what it uniquely offers to its participants. Boutique fitness offers consumers an experience that is highly unique and designed to create results that improve their health in a community atmosphere.9 Boutique fitness studios are more than just a place people go to exercise, they can imbue purpose in their participants, and that’s a huge appeal for the younger generation of consumers. Participants can find a studio and a type of fitness that they enjoy and become a part of a tight-knit community that provides joy and support. The boutique fitness industry is expected to continue expanding, so how can you become involved and capitalize on this opportunity for growth?10 

How You Can Capitalize on This Growth With Rush Cycle

Now that you know a bit more about the boutique fitness industry, you may be wondering how you can join in on the growth of boutique fitness. Cycling studios are among the most popular types of boutique fitness studios and cycling franchises often experience quick growth that offers the individuals who have chosen to franchise increased potential to achieve profitability. Community is key for a boutique fitness studio and will allow a franchise owner to build a strong customer base which will become loyal. If you think creating a unique culture and community around fitness is an ideal opportunity, consider capitalizing on the growth of the boutique fitness industry by franchising with Rush Cycle. 

Unlike opening a full-size gym, which can cost anywhere from $500,000 to several million dollars, opening a boutique fitness studio can offer you the opportunity to start your own franchise for much lower startup costs. At Rush Cycle, our entry point is between $350,000 to $400,000, making it much more affordable and reducing the overhead from the outset. If you’re interested in becoming a fitness franchisee, there is a significant opportunity for growth. Rush Cycle offers you the ability to open an indoor cycling studio that you can make your own and to foster a strong sense of culture and community in your area. Rush Cycle is positioned for major growth in the next several years as the boutique fitness industry continues to grow and currently is one of the fastest-growing indoor cycling franchises in the country. Rush Cycle has twenty locations across the country and another thirty locations in progress. You could be a part of this fitness industry growth by franchising with Rush Cycle. If you’re interested in starting a fitness franchise with Rush Cycle, get in touch to start the conversation now.11













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