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What you need to know about health and fitness in Latin America

Self-improvement has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Gone are the days when health and fitness were only given thought in preparation for so-called summer bodies. As a result, more people are purchasing gym memberships and looking for ways to stay physically and mentally fit. Latin America is no exception, with revenue in the fitness segment forecasted to have an annual growth rate of 1.3%. If that happens, the market volume will reach USD $762 million by 2024.

In this Pacific Prime Latin America article, we dive into what you need to know about health and fitness in Latin America.

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Fitness in Latin America: the countries that are taking the lead

The majority of Latin America’s fitness market revenue is generated from Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Brazil takes the lead with over 34,500 fitness clubs and nine million active gym members. The country’s fitness industry started to grow between 2009 and 2011, when four fitness companies showed up on the scene:

  • BodyTech
  • Runner
  • Companhia Atletica
  • BioRitmo

BioRitmo’s objective was to make fitness services more easily accessible to people. This led to the launch of a gym chain called SmartFit, which offers the same standard and quality as premium gyms at an affordable cost. However, SmartFit did more than just change how people exercise in Brazil by expanding to other Latin American countries such as Mexico, Columbia, and Chile.

As of September 2020, SmartFit has over 850 facilities in Latin America – 500 of which are in Brazil. The International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) ranks SmartFit as the third biggest gym brand globally in terms of the number of open units.

The country with the second-largest fitness market in Latin America is Mexico, with around 4 million clients at 12,000 centers. Third place belongs to Argentina, with just under 8,000 sports and fitness facilities. According to a Global GfK survey, Argentina is one of the top five countries with the highest amount of physical activity. E-Fitness, which uses electrodes to stimulate muscles, is one of the country’s most relevant trends.

Launched in 2015, Fitpal is one of the leading fitness apps in Columbia. The fitness platform allows users to access over 500 fitness studios and centers in the country with a single subscription. The system not only empowers users, but offers flexibility as well. In fact, users can select the time, exercise type, and the number of classes per day. With over 82,000 classes and 45 types of training in Columbia alone, the business plans to expand to other countries in the future.

The challenges that fitness companies in Latin America face

A Fitco report found that companies involved in the fitness industry in Latin America face the following challenges:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Tracking the number of people using their facilities
  • Finding more effective payment methods for fitness service users

Fitco sent out surveys to find out whether CEOs and managers of fitness establishments like big box gyms, CrossFit centers, and boutique centers were using enterprise management software for business. While over half said they don’t use management software, most of them plan to invest in the technology within the next six months. What’s more, only around a quarter of fitness centers have a mobile fitness app for their services and products. Boutique and CrossFit centers make up the highest percentage of those that do.

Peruvian startup Fitco provides various management tools to help gyms and fitness centers run smoothly. By using its software, owners and managers can easily keep records, manage classes, develop relationships with clients, and more. Fitco’s online store and fitness app makes it possible for customers to schedule classes, purchase products, and monitor their progress. It can be used for any fitness center, regardless of the type of training on offer.

Technology and fitness in Latin America: Wearables

The market’s largest segment belongs to wearables. In 2020, the fitness wearable market has an estimated worth of USD $637 million. The most popular type are wrist-worn wearables, which use sensors to track body activity. As arguably one of the best fitness gadgets in 2020, Fitbit can track the number of calories consumed and burned, monitor heart rate and sleep quality, and motivate the wearer with challenges and rewards.

Fit3D body scanners are also making their mark on the industry. The non-invasive device uses a scanner to capture a 360-degree body scan. Following the 40-second scan, users can access an interactive report to see how exercise changes their body over time.

Smart clothes with sensors and nutrition and fitness apps are other technologies with a huge influence on the sector. With the rise of popular fitness apps like MyFitnessPal and Strava, the number of users is predicted to amount to 52.6 million by 2024.

Fitness wearables fall under the wearable medical device market. Latin America’s wearable medical devices market is worth USD $664.61 million in 2020. It’s predicted to grow at a CAGR of 16.95%, which means it’s poised to reach USD $1454.01 million by 2025. Thanks to wearables, customers can better manage their health.

Whether you’re looking to join Latin America’s fitness industry or want to improve your health and fitness, remember that countries in the region are likely to be part of one of the largest and most influential fitness industries and now’s the right time for technology to stir up the sector.

Put your health first with Pacific Prime Latin America

Take control of your health by securing health insurance. If you’re looking to purchase medical insurance in Latin America or are interested in customizing your benefits, Pacific Prime is here to help. As a reputable global insurance broker, our team of experts can help you find the best retiree health insurance, travel insurance, or expat health insurance in Latin America – and everything in between! Contact us to receive impartial advice and a no-obligation quote or plan comparison today.

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Jantra

Content Creator at Pacific Prime Latin America
Jantra Jacobs is a content writer at Pacific Prime. On a typical work day, she writes and edits articles, guides and anything else word-related. She aims to produce content that is easy for readers to understand and enjoyable at the same time.

When she’s not writing, she’s likely searching for a new restaurant or cafe to try, reading or doing yoga.
Jantra