Guide to researching the personal fitness industry (NAICS 71394)

Your guide to understanding the fitness industry
Your guide to understanding the fitness industry


My friends in the Ohio University Business Cluster are researching the feasibility of opening a personal fitness center in the Indianapolis, Indiana metro area. The purpose of this guide is to point business researchers to some key resources when researching the personal fitness industry (NAICS 71394).  This guide lists  the most highly recommended resources when researching the industry and analyzing the market.  I have listed the databases and resources below, with recommendations on how to find the best information in the quickest fashion.

Chad’s research advice

A well-researched feasibility analysis will incorporate information from a majority of the tools below.  Some of the databases will be easier to use than others, and researchers are bound to pick a favorite tool to use more than the rest. However, I cannot stress enough how important it is to use SimplyMap, Bizminer, and Mediamark when attempting to understand the consumer market and industry in a specific market.  These three resources can be a bit difficult to use, so I have made a video for using each database specifically for this project, which you will find linked where the databases are mentioned below.  Please note that SimplyMap has a maximum of 5 simultaneous users, so you may need to get up earlier, stay up later, and not procrastinate.

1.  Find information about the larger industry and market

When you first get started, you’ll want to gather an understanding about the broader industry and market.  The resources in this section provide a broad overview of the personal fitness industry, fitness center, and health club market.


  • IbisWorld has a report for “Gym, Health & Fitness Clubs in the US – 71394.”

First Research

  • First Research has industry analyses of “Fitness Centers,”  “Spa Services,” and more.

Business Source Complete


  • Statista is a great place to look for a variety of fitness industry and health club statistics.

2.  Gather a deeper understanding about the consumer

After you get a good idea about the larger industry, you’ll want to research the consumers in your market.  Market research reports, data, and statistics found in the resources below are an excellent place to start.

Passport GMID

  • In  Passport GMID  search for “fitness” yields some good results.  You might also try looking at the Consumer Lifestyles Reports to get a broad understanding of how consumers spend their leisure time.

Mintel Oxygen

  • When using Mintel Oxygen for this topic, you will find market research reports on Exercise Trends, Health & Fitness Clubs, Healthy Living, and more.
  • Also look in the Lifestyles category for relevant reports about marketing to  specific group.


  • Use SBRNet to get demographic information and statistics about participation in various forms of exercise and sport.

MRI Mediamark Reporter


3.  Analyze your local market

After you research the consumer market for the fitness industry,  you will want to adapt that data down to the local level.  The resources below can help you find information about your local market to combine with national consumer market trends.

Census QuickFacts

  • Census QuickFacts provides easy access to some of the most-used economic and social statistics.
  • The QuickFacts are an easier way to get to census information than American Factfinder.
  • You will want to use census data to compare how your local market demographics align with the more general national demographics of a consumer market (like what you find in MediaMark, Mintel, and Passport,above).

Indiana Statistics

  • The Stats Indiana site is a great resource for demographic and economic information.
  • You will want to use the site to compare how the local market demographics align with the more general national demographics of a consumer market (like what you find in MediaMark, Mintel, and Passport,above).






Creative Commons image courtesy of redlionhoteldenver.

Related Topics: Business Cluster, personal fitness industry, Class Guides, Industry Guides