The fitness industry in South Africa is bigger than you think

According to Statiska (The Statistics Portal)1 and The Economist2 South Africa has the world’s highest fitness club revenue, generating over $900 million annually. What this translates to is that a lot of South African consumers are using gyms in various sizes, shapes and formats to get fit, stay active and be healthy, but some brands are missing the boat.

“The health and fitness industry is thriving and vibrant consisting of a clientele that spends long periods of time training in a closed environment,” says Greg Bruwer, TLC’s Managing Director. “Being able to target this audience and communicate to this large, affluent segment of the population in a captive environment is priceless.”


As part of the innovative advertising solutions that Primedia Unlimited’s TLC offers in lifestyle environments, the gym environment has certainly become a great space to target these active, image-conscious consumers.

Our focus has always been to attain the spot as one of the most progressive media suppliers in the out-of-home advertising space and gym advertising offers the opportunity to brand various elements within the gym space and create ownership,” explains Bruwer. “We have exclusive access to 21 Planet Fitness gyms across the country which equates to over 150 000 monthly gym goers.

We are growing the ad space outside of the washroom, for example, internal billboards in the common areas which have in fact been sold out by the same advertisers for the last 18 months.

It’s not only the traditional brands that utilise this advertising space. Ford, for example, created an exceptionally innovative campaign for its ‘Eco Boost’ campaign, while SlowMag achieved great success through activations by offering effervescent samples.”

Additional advertising properties include traditional A4 washroom frames, branded water cooler stations and treadmills, in-gym activations and the various sized internal billboards around the gym. Advertisers are offered multiple options to own the environment with specific gender targeting to a captive audience through innovative and cost effective communication including social media interaction.

Active research into the Planet Fitness market offers key insights. 76.6% of these gym members classify themselves as the ‘main shopper’ while 61% have confirmed that ‘advertising helps me choose what to buy’. 60% have children, 60% are married and six out of ten are permanently employed. 54% are early adopters and like to try new products. “Membership is slightly skewed towards women which probably explains the 51% that ‘enjoy shopping’,” jokes Bruwer.

“Shedding the kilos, growing muscles and getting fitter has become a daily routine for many South Africans. The numbers prove it. It’s time for more brands to become part of this almost billion dollar a year industry,” concludes Bruwer.

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