Economy

Australians spend big in weight-loss industry: $6.6 billion forecast as Australians battle the bulge

Melinda Oliver /

Australians are predicted to spend $6.6 billion on the health and weight-loss industries in 2013 – 2014, according to new research by IBISWorld.

The industry analyst organisation found that boom businesses will be personal training, gym memberships, weight-loss products and weight-loss counselling services such as wellbeing and nutrition advice.

It forecast that spend on gym memberships in 2013 – 14 will be $858 million, increasing to over $1 billion in 2018-19.

IBISWorld senior analyst Emily Witham told SmartCompany this reflects the growing professionalisation of gym services, which appeal to clients.

“The gyms have changed the way they run operations, they have state-of-the-art facilities, with rock pools, saunas, spas, sleep pods and more,” she says.

Witham also says the rise of boutique gyms, and centres that focus on a primary activity such as Bikram Yoga, pilates, ballet yoga or spin classes are gaining popularity.

IBISWorld found that personal training is also set to build momentum, with the 2013-14 spend forecast at $390 million, rising to $501.3 million in 2018-19.

Witham says this reflects the perception that personal trainers can help people reach their fitness goals faster.

Other areas set to do well are sports clubs, training and club memberships, which are forecast to rise from $737.5 million in 2013-13, to $757 million in 2018-19.

Weight-loss counselling services spend in 2013-14 is forecast at $332.8 million, expected to rise to $385.8 million in $2018-19.

Weight-loss product businesses can also look forward to lots of improvement, with the current spend forecast at $280.7 million, expected to rise to $327.6 million in 2018-19.

Witham says that many consumers are confident that weight-loss products work, with protein shakes and bars popular.

Areas not expected to increase in spend are self-help books and athletic clothing and footwear. Witham says this reflects the growing interest in free Apps and eBooks, along with the decline in apparel costs, more online purchases from overseas.

However Witham says that niche providers of custom apparel, high-end compression wear and innovative footwear should improve.

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