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Fitness industry in Japan - statistics & facts

In our present times in which a sedentary lifestyle is the norm, rather than the exception for most people living in wealthy societies, physical exercise has moved further into the spotlight. Japan is no exception to this social phenomenon in which individuals seek to attain health and wellbeing through sports. The majority of Japanese adults engage in sports at least once a week and their biggest motivation to do so is for health reasons. The high participation rate in sports fuels the industry’s sports apparel and equipment markets, turning it into the leading segment. Despite the high sports participation rate in the country, the market surrounding fitness centers has yet to make a breakthrough. Compared to figures in leading countries, gym membership numbers were low even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic but further declined as a result of the pandemic’s impact. The industry has reacted to the crisis through innovations such as online courses and on-demand video materials. The crisis has also amplified the development of relatively new segments of the industry: wearables and apps are up-and-coming products, harboring great potential for consumers and businesses alike, as people may acquire the inspiration and motivation to lead healthier lifestyles, and businesses can gain new opportunities to make a profit.

 Gym industry in Japan 

The generally high participation rates in physical exercise have not led to a flourishing gym culture in Japan. The gym industry suffers from relatively low membership penetration rates, but scores high in international comparison in terms of revenue per customer. There might be several reasons for lackluster gym participation in Japan. One might be that wearables and apps enable people to work out by themselves, rendering the visit to the gym obsolete, which might be an especially attractive alternative during COVID-19. On a different note, compared to the U.S. and other leading countries, Japan lags behind in terms of affordable and convenient gym infrastructure and services. Gym membership in Japan typically costs considerably more than in Germany or the U.S., while the number of facilities available is significantly lower. Lastly, the element of swagger often existent in American-style marketing endeavors of fitness centers and fitness activity might be culturally incompatible with typical Japanese customs of humbleness and self-deprecation. For instance, the leading opinion about online Yoga in Japan was that it allows for more care-free participation compared to going to the gym.

 New opportunities offered by technology 

Technology presents new avenues for the fitness industry to expand. Wearables, as well as health and fitness apps, are new ways to provide consumers with highly personalized fitness and health experiences. The penetration rate of wearables in Japan is still in the single-digit area, but figures were increasing in the past few years significantly. Services provided through apps on smartphones form an emerging segment of the fitness market. Fitness and health apps typically provide free or low-cost services that might be appealing to a broader consumer segment. Health and fitness apps, such as Luna Luna, or Asken Diet and FiNC Diet & Fitness App were successfully monetized, generating millions in revenue. The future of apps seems bright and shiny in the light of increasing internet and smartphone penetration, growing awareness regarding health, and especially under current COVID-19 induced lockdown-prone circumstances in Japan and around the world.

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Sports brands

Yoga

Wearables

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Fitness industry in Japan

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Fitness industry in Japan - statistics & facts

In our present times in which a sedentary lifestyle is the norm, rather than the exception for most people living in wealthy societies, physical exercise has moved further into the spotlight. Japan is no exception to this social phenomenon in which individuals seek to attain health and wellbeing through sports. The majority of Japanese adults engage in sports at least once a week and their biggest motivation to do so is for health reasons. The high participation rate in sports fuels the industry’s sports apparel and equipment markets, turning it into the leading segment. Despite the high sports participation rate in the country, the market surrounding fitness centers has yet to make a breakthrough. Compared to figures in leading countries, gym membership numbers were low even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic but further declined as a result of the pandemic’s impact. The industry has reacted to the crisis through innovations such as online courses and on-demand video materials. The crisis has also amplified the development of relatively new segments of the industry: wearables and apps are up-and-coming products, harboring great potential for consumers and businesses alike, as people may acquire the inspiration and motivation to lead healthier lifestyles, and businesses can gain new opportunities to make a profit.

 Gym industry in Japan 

The generally high participation rates in physical exercise have not led to a flourishing gym culture in Japan. The gym industry suffers from relatively low membership penetration rates, but scores high in international comparison in terms of revenue per customer. There might be several reasons for lackluster gym participation in Japan. One might be that wearables and apps enable people to work out by themselves, rendering the visit to the gym obsolete, which might be an especially attractive alternative during COVID-19. On a different note, compared to the U.S. and other leading countries, Japan lags behind in terms of affordable and convenient gym infrastructure and services. Gym membership in Japan typically costs considerably more than in Germany or the U.S., while the number of facilities available is significantly lower. Lastly, the element of swagger often existent in American-style marketing endeavors of fitness centers and fitness activity might be culturally incompatible with typical Japanese customs of humbleness and self-deprecation. For instance, the leading opinion about online Yoga in Japan was that it allows for more care-free participation compared to going to the gym.

 New opportunities offered by technology 

Technology presents new avenues for the fitness industry to expand. Wearables, as well as health and fitness apps, are new ways to provide consumers with highly personalized fitness and health experiences. The penetration rate of wearables in Japan is still in the single-digit area, but figures were increasing in the past few years significantly. Services provided through apps on smartphones form an emerging segment of the fitness market. Fitness and health apps typically provide free or low-cost services that might be appealing to a broader consumer segment. Health and fitness apps, such as Luna Luna, or Asken Diet and FiNC Diet & Fitness App were successfully monetized, generating millions in revenue. The future of apps seems bright and shiny in the light of increasing internet and smartphone penetration, growing awareness regarding health, and especially under current COVID-19 induced lockdown-prone circumstances in Japan and around the world.

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