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A graph of how memberships are plummeting at Australian gym chain Viva Leisure

1 week ago by Matthew Broberg-Moffitt in Markets

One month ago, Australia's Viva Leisure ($ASX:VVA) was boasting blockbuster half-year results. Today, following the precipitous drop of memberships in the midst of the Coronavirus, its future is less certain. Gym memberships are one of our early indicators of economic recovery.

The gut-sucking hit of losing half of its net membership growth in a single day caused shares to take a similar swan dive. 

Viva Leisure, an Australian-headquartered health club and gymnasium, was founded in 2004. In December 2019, it continued its aggressive expansion model when it acquired Healthworks with 10 locations and 12,000 members. With a total of 97 facilities, it represents a solid test case for successfully operated health facilities.

The rise in yoga mats and resistance bands in Amazon best-sellers lists similarly reflects the influence of social distancing in a global pandemic. As home-based fitness and wellness options Peloton and Mirror sees a spike of sales and positive social media presence, it begins to shine a light on the oftentimes flagging ability of health clubs to satisfy the customer service needs of members.

Many consumers experienced difficulty in placing memberships on hold before "shelter in place" mandates were enacted, correspondingly customer satisfaction and fidelity were tested. When the world begins to return to normal following the Coronavirus, health clubs are going to need to step it up if they want to demonstrate that they deserve a share in the marketplace.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Matthew Broberg-Moffitt

Matthew Broberg-Moffitt is Thinknum's Contributing Writer. He also writes children's books and is a Sensitivity/Expert Reader.

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