There are two types of people in this world, those who look forward to exercising and those who run away from it. No matter what side you fall on, nearly everyone is bound to work out at some point in their lives whether it is to stay fit or just to have a healthy activity. Planet Fitness is one such place that gives people the opportunity to stay in shape. Let’s see how strong this brand truly is in this Planet Fitness SWOT Analysis.
You probably are a member yourself but you surely have heard of the place because it is one of the largest fitness club franchises on the planet! As of 2020, they have 2,039 fitness clubs located across many countries.
The brand started its business in 1992 when owners Michael and Marc Grondahl came across a struggling gymnasium in Dover, New Hampshire. They decided to revamp it and they got a third person on board, Chris Rondeau who is still the CEO. Although the brand isn’t even very old yet, they have successfully managed to carve out a decent share for themselves in the fitness market.
The company is based in Hampton, New Hampshire and they sell franchises in many countries including Canada, Dominican Republic, Panama, Australia, and Mexico. They famously brand themselves as providing a “judgment-free zone” for people who are not experts in the gym. It is their way to include anyone wanting to commit to a fitness journey even if that means they won’t be regular at the gym.
Now, in the SWOT analysis that will follow, we will be talking about four categories of factors that will help us in understanding the brand in better detail. All factors which give the brand advantages, competencies, and prosperity will be its strengths and consequently, all factors which do the opposite will be weaknesses.
Similarly, all factors which will give the brand a chance to act on them in hopes of certain future benefits will be counted as opportunities, and all factors which will potentially be dangerous to the well-being of Planet Fitness will be threats.
Before we finally begin with the analysis, it is important that you understand why two of these factors are internal in nature and the other two are external. Factors that are taking place in the insides of an organization and can be influenced by the actions of the employees of the said organization are internal; strengths and weaknesses.
If the factors are well out of the bounds of the organization and cannot be controlled or even influenced by the company people, they are external factors; threats and opportunities.
Let’s see this with an example; if Planet Fitness has good pricing it will be a strength because the company controls this decision. However, if customers leave because they like some other gymnasium, this will be a threat because Planet Fitness cannot get rid of the competition.
Right, now that we have all of this out of the way, we can finally get to the SWOT.
What are the major strengths of Planet Fitness?
The brand has much to be praised for but to keep the discussion precise we will focus on some of the most prominent reasons.
● No Scale
They don’t have a single weighing machine at any of their clubs, it is against the company policy. The reason is to get the people who are extremely weight conscious to come into the gym without feeling any pressure.
Many people skip working out because of the confrontation with their weight. Getting them in a fitness facility is important and this company has come up with an interesting way to do so. This is why they are so popular with the masses.
Most gyms and exercise facilities are very expensive. Some even require an additional sign-up fee along with the monthly subscription fee for people to become members. Planet Fitness on the other hand offers a membership for only $10 per month, that too without any sign-up fee.
This makes it possible for more and more people to be a part of the fitness club thereby giving them a huge share of the market.
The brand has managed to develop a great following for themselves in many parts of the world. Their message of inclusivity and their tactics to make working out seem a more approachable lifestyle for people has paid off.
Having influence is very important for the vitality of a brand and Planet Fitness surely has this ball in their court.
Franchising has proven to be a very fruitful business model for Planet Fitness as can be seen from their wide reach around the world.
They have successfully made the prospects of owning a franchise of their business desirable for potential investors.
What are Planet Fitness’s major weaknesses?
Though the brand seems to be going great, they still are owned by humans and humans can’t design perfection. Let’s see some of their weaknesses.
● Lack of Equipment
Planet Fitness caters to people who are not into the idea of bodybuilding or who are not serious athletes. This is why the gyms are found to be lacking some heavy-duty equipment commonly found in other gyms.
This makes it restricting for some people to become customers. It does kind of drive them away when they are looking to be working out with certain ferocity.
● No Noise
They have a very strict policy about making noises when using their facilities. It is common for people to grunt and make other exasperated noises when working hard at the gym. Burning calories isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
Because this gym is for people who are not hardcore gym-goers, they are required to keep the noises to themselves so much so that they aren’t even allowed to drop weights down and not to mention that the maximum amount on the weights is 80 pounds.
Even if some poor soul ends up making some noise, a loud alarm will blare to warn them off. It is off-putting, to say the least.
● Inexperienced Staff
As the gym is not targeting serious athletic people, the staff that does work at the franchises is not very well trained in terms of exercises and workout routines. Some people need expert trainers to work out.
What opportunities can Planet Fitness explore?
There are always amazing opportunities for businesses to take up for grabs no matter the time and place of their life cycle. Let’s see what Planet Fitness can do.
● Online Classes
With the Covid-19 pandemic hitting the world in 2019, the world saw turmoil. Many businesses were severely hit including gymnasiums. The fitness industry saw a very dry phase because people were in lockdown and being in a closed space with shared equipment was out of the question.
The pandemic still is an issue, but more than that it has shown the world a huge potential market for online work. Planet Fitness should also adapt to this trend and hire a few good trainers to host online classes for willing people.
This way they will be able to grasp the attention of even newer customers who might not even be located in the vicinity of their franchises.
● Expansion of Equipment
They can easily grow their market by welcoming serious athletes to the gyms. They don’t even have to compromise on their motto of inclusivity, in fact, they can build on it. Inclusivity means it is for everyone, no? So why limit the target to a particular group of people and not others?
Having better trainers and equipment will bring more people to the gym without disturbing their main target market.
What threats are facing Planet Fitness?
Threats are perhaps the least pleasant of all the four factors because if not taken into account in time, they cause irreversible damage. Here are the threats Planet Fitness is currently facing.
Some of the direct competitors of the business include Rite Aid, ClassPass, LA Fitness, and ANYTIME. Competition is one of the most common yet persistent threats in almost every industry on the planet and fitness is no exception.
If the company does not remain cautious at all times, they will lose their clientele to others who do it better.
The pandemic has not been kind to anyone but gyms have had it considerably worse in terms of business. People have stopped altogether to go because of the serious lockdown policies in different countries.
Although the pandemic has changed in terms of danger because many people are vaccinated, it still has reduced the population in gyms from the pre-pandemic era because Covid-19 is still possible to contract despite being vaccinated.
● Evolving Trends
People have learned to rely on online resources as an alternative for pretty much everything in today’s world. This has led many fitness club customers to start working out at home.
The target market of this company consists of people who aren’t all that dedicated to working out as it is, now they know they can exercise at home using online tutorials to keep safe and to avoid unnecessary trips to the gym.
This means that gyms could be looking at a future where more and more people choose to invest in some basic equipment for their working out at home, especially gyms like Planet Fitness that aren’t looking for serious trainers.
Planet Fitness SWOT Analysis: Final Word
If you have stuck by the article for this long I’m going to make the bold assumption that you either love Planet Fitness or you genuinely enjoyed this SWOT analysis.
Whatever the case, even if it was by sheer coincidence, you read it and no you know so much more about the company. It is indeed a win-win situation!
We have had some interesting insights into the brand, they have a pretty solid status. Their biggest strength is their branding of acceptance which enables people to walk in through their doors when they won’t do the same at other hardcore gyms.
Their pricing also gives a lot of people the chance to work out at great facilities when they are on a budget.
Even the threats they currently face are not very monumental and can be curbed if they take advantage of the opportunities identified here such as the expansion of the equipment to get a hold of a wider market.
The most annoying weakness they currently have is perhaps their absurd noise cancellation policy which kind of takes away from the experience of working out and sweating out at a gym.
If they reconsider this clause, many people would feel even more free than they already do at their facilities to have an enjoyable exercising session.
Sure they have a few tweaks to take care of, but overall they have a good scene cut out for them!
A SWOT analysis is basically a tool that allows one to study and to learn about a brand, an organization, an industry, or even a country as a whole in terms of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Knowing how to conduct a SWOT analysis is of paramount importance because it enables people to make important investment decisions and it gives important insight for other research purposes.
If you are not sure about where to begin, we recommend that you should try your hand at it by using a SWOT analysis template. Another excellent learning mechanism is to look at a few more SWOT examples before you work on one of your own.
You should also try and work on an analysis yourself when you feel ready to do so. To make things easier, there is a SWOT analysis table you can bring to good use when you work on it because it makes it possible for you to list things down in a very clean and precise manner. Make your own life easy. This knowledge will be helpful to you one day either as a student or as a professional. Good luck!
Feautred image “Planet Fitness” by Mike Mozart is licensed under CC BY 2.0