Advances in Physical Education
2013. Vol.3, No.2, 80-83
Published Online May 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Empirical Study of Fitness Industry Cases-Based on SWOT
Jin-Dong Chang, Ming Yang
Physical Education of Sout h west University, Chongqing, China
Received February 13th, 2013; revised March 15th, 20 13; acce pted March 28th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Jin-Dong Chang, Ming Yang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative
Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the origina l w o rk is properly cited.
This paper aims to understand both the internal and external conditions of Qingdao Impulse Fitness Club,
through the questionnaire survey, field visit, individual interviews and other methods, and to carry out re-
search into the Club basing on SWOT analysis perspective. Then reveal the superiority and inferiority in
macroenvironment and microenvironment of Qingdao Impulse Fitness Club by means of building Matrix,
and formulate appropriate marketing programs for the Club.
Keywords: Sports Industry; Fitness Club; SWOT Analysis
The proposals about further strengthening and improving the
physical work in new period (August 2000) clear that, “vigor-
ously develop the sports industry, actively cultivate the sports
market for the expansion of domestic demand, promote em-
ployment, stimulate economic growth and achieve the devel-
opment objectives of modernization”. Accelerating the devel-
opment of sports industry is a specific embodiment of firmly
establishing and completely implementing the scientific con-
cept of development, and an urgent demand for promoting
economic development and spiritual civilization under the so-
cialist market economy. Qingdao, on the coast of Yellow Sea,
lies in the southern tip of Shandong Peninsula, rapid economic
development, is one of China’s 15 sub-provincial cities and a
host city for the sailing event of the 2008 Olympic Games.
With the holding of the Beijing Olympic Games, more and
more attention on fitness are paid by majority of people, the
concept—“spend money on health” has been accepted by more
and more people (López- Sintas & García-Álvarez, 2006)
Under this circumstance, this paper applies SWOT analysis
in management to the study of Qingdao Impulse fitness club,
conduct scientific and comprehensive analysis on the advan-
tages and disadvantages that existed in the macroenvironment
and microenvironment, the opportunities and challenges that
the fitness industry faced as well, obtain objective and accurate
basis, formulate marketing strategies to promote the develop-
ment of the fitness industry, so as to stimulate the development
of the whole fitness club.
Qingdao Impulse Fitness Club.
Through documentary research, interviews, questionnaire
and other methods, and focus on the use of SWOT situation
analysis to analyze the Qingdao Impulse Fitness Club. The
so-called “SWOT analysis” refers to the subjects related with
the competitive advantage (strength), competitive disadvantage
(weakness), opportunity and threat, by means of investigation,
and arranged together according to the matrix form, finally
match each factor to each other for the purpose of analyzing
and drawing a series of correspondent and policy-making con-
clusion (Kahn & Wansink, 2004; Luo, 2008; CO, 2005; Zhang,
Both main tasks are building matrix and formulating the
plans that conduct SWOT analysis.
Results and Analysis
Analyse the Develop ment S (Stre ng ths) of the
Qingdao Impulse Fitness Club
The External Environment Advantages
Qingdao is one of the 15 sub-provincial cities, the largest
industrial city in Shandong province, the five counties and cites
under the jurisdiction of Qingdao all entered to the 2009 Na-
tional Top Hundred Counties, the average annual growth of
GDP was more than 12%, the per capita disposable income of
the urban residents increased obviously, the Engel coefficients
were 0.445 and 0.450 respectively. That provides a solid eco-
nomic base for the sports development in Qingdao, and be-
comes a major advantage for the development of the fitness
club. Meanwhile, after the implement of weekends and the
national holiday, the residents’ leisure time will increase to 115
days the whole year, and they can freely dispose nearly one
third time of the year, which creates necessary conditions for
developing the sports industry.
The Internal Environment Advantages
In Qingdao all variety of fitness clubs are flourishing, the
number of club members increases every year, and the resi-
dents’ consumption awareness on sports increases as well. Af-
ter Qingdao became the host city for the sailing event of the
2008 Beijing Olympic Games, pace of development was accel-
erated, owing to the special geographical location, which has
shown a good momentum of development in all types of fitness
clubs and entertainment places, and becomes a new stage for
integrating fitness industry into the recycling of the economic
development. Fitness service places play a unique role in the
heat of restoring mental health and fitness with its fashionable,
trendy business items and modern, flexible service. According
to the preliminary investigation in 2009: many fitness centers
have been developed in form of hotels in Qingdao with a
growing number, gradual expansion of the scale, gradual in-
creasing of grade, and expansion of the business field.
There are four Qingdao Impulse Fitness clubs in urban areas
and four in the county-level cities. The clubs in urban areas are
mainly located in the center of the city, and the surrounded
residential apartments, supermarkets and entertainment center,
governments, office buildings and commerce centers, which
provide a good population environment for the expansion of the
fitness club members.
Seen from the survey of the new and old members in the
Impulse Fitness club (Figure 1), the urban population in Qing-
dao is supposed to be 242 million, then according to a rough
calculation, the club members made up 0.202 percent of the
total population in 2007; 0.345 percent in 2008; and 0.574 per-
cent in 2009.
The statistics shows that the club members increased rapidly
in the year 2008, which was inseparable from the fifth anniver-
sary of the clubs, economic consumption level and the sports
fever that brought by the Olympic Games. The concept “spend
money on health” is becoming maturer. The growth of the club
members reflects the recovery of the sports consumption.
Table 2 shows the survey results of the consumer motivation:
physical fitness, entertainment and spirit relief are the main
consumer motivation, which take up 37.3% and 27.4% respec-
tively. Most people go to the fitness club for the purpose of
relaxing themselves and enjoying the excitement. At the same
time, fitness club is also a helpful place to communicate with
each other and reach commercial agreement.
This part of people are highly agree with the paid sports
consumption, which indicates that the concept “spend money
on health” has been established as the residents have substantial
income, the potential consumer group laid a foundation for
exploring the fitness entertainment market in Qingdao.
Analyz e the Weakness of Qingda o Fitness Clu b
Low Market Share, Obvious Occupational Characteristics
of the Members
Table 1 show that the club members took up only 0.574% of
the total population in 2009, which means the market share, is
not high.
Figure 1 indicates: occupational distribution of the consum-
ers in the club is significant, commerce and service workers
take up 22.2%; political and administrative workers take up
18.1%; economic management workers 17.3%; workers in
education and science take up 13.7%; students take up 12.1%;
individual businessmen take up 10.9%; production and trans-
portation workers only take up 2.3%.
It is understood that the fitness card delivered from the en-
terprise and public institution is one of the sources of the mem-
bers. This shows that spontaneous awareness of participating in
physical fitness is not high, which is inseparable from the gov-
ernment’s efforts in promoting the physical exercise. People are
still in pursuit of the economic interests, and the paid consump-
tion only exists in a small part of people.
Small-Sized Club, Limitation of Space Development
The club on Hong Kong Road is the latest and most luxuri-
ous gym among all the Impulse Fitness clubs, with the area of
3600 square meters. There is e-coach, “sky garden” and other
Table 1.
Annual statistics of the members in the impulse fitness club (perso n).
YearTotal members number Per centage of t he total population
in the city (%)
20074887 0.202
20088349 0.345
200913,896 0.574
Table 2.
Consumer motivation of the members in the club.
Social communication Fitness Seek excitement Sports aesthetic Entertainment Hobbies & interest
% 7.6 40.5 2.7 8.2 27.4 14.6
0510 15 20 25 30
workers in science,education and health
workers in economic management
workers in the goverment
workers in commercial and service field
production and transportation workers
Private industry and commerce workers
Figure 1.
Consumers occupat i o nal distribution of Qingdao impulse fitness club.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 81
special programs, and the swimming pool, squash and will
provide the consumers with more choice of fitness programs.
What’s more, the following services also are available in the
gym: business center, fitness packages, stored value bank, and
fitness supplies. The real fitness area is only 2000 square me-
ters, which would hinder the development of the club. Com-
pared with the 5000 square meters of the Hangzhou Intensity
International Fitness Club, the Impulse Fitness clubs only pro-
vide a fitness place for the members which limit the develop-
ment of the club.
Single Fitness Programs, Unreasonable Curriculum in
Amount and Time
Table 3 indicates: there is no exercise curriculum at daytime
at weekends, the programs are relatively simple which couldn’t
attract members’ interest. If the club can’t fully meet the di-
verse needs of the members, let alone service marketing, build
their own brand, and promote the development of the club.
The Overall Evaluation for the Club Service Is Not High
From the interview to the person in charge of the Club, the
club set individual files and records for the members, however,
it is found from the service evaluation survey: very satisfied
take up 0.03%, satisfied take up 0.33%, the overall evaluation is
not high (Table 4).
Analysis of the Opportunity that the Impulse Fitness
Club Faced
The 16th National People’s Congress of the CPC proposed
the magnificent goal for the achievement of a “all-round well-
off society” until 2020 and the successful holding of the 2008
Beijing Olympic Games provides an unprecedented opportunity
for the sports fitness industry, and brings excellent developing
opportunities for the sports industry as well. From an economic
point of view, the national fitness will bring enormous business
opportunities for the sports fitness market, attracting a large
number of private capital investments in the fitness industry.
Qingdao Impulse Fitness Club follows the trend of develop-
ment. If they can seize the opportunity, these will certainly
bring benefits to the club.
Analysis of the Threats that the Impulse Fitness Club
Lack of Professionals in Sports Fitness
The data in Table 5 indicates that totally there are 39 in-
structors in the four branch clubs which are respectively located
on Hong Kong Road, Guizhou Road, Fuzhou Road and the
Development Zone, which means the average number of each
club is less than 10. Serious shortage of professional fitness
instructors, what make the situation worse is the lack of nutria-
tionist and masseurs. Lack of management professionals and
coaches and low-level management have impeded the devel-
opment of the club and the improvement of the operation qual-
The Disorderly Price Competition
In order to occupy the market, the disorderly “price war” is
inevitable, which would surely hinder the development of the
fitness industry. Meanwhile, influenced by the financial crisis,
the consumption on sports decreased to some extent, the club
must make new marketing plans cater to the current develop-
ment, to avoid disorder price war (Table 6).
As shown in Figure 2: the analysis of the S (strengths) of the
Qingdao Impulse Fitness Club shows that the rapid economic
development, good social and cultural environment, and envi-
ronmental characteristics of the population all provide objective
conditions for the carry-out of the fitness club.
The analysis of the W (weaknesses) of the Qingdao Impulse
Fitness Club indicates that the market share of the club is not
high according to an annual membership statistics, members are
with obvious occupational characteristics, and voluntary par-
ticipation of consumer awareness is not high. Small club and
simple fitness programs will impede the development of the
club. Lack of deep investigation and service tracking to the club
members, and fuzzy target market are the stumbling blocks for
the long-term development of the club.
The analysis of the O (opportunity) of the Qingdao Impulse
Fitness Club shows that the two main advantages are: 1) the
Table 3.
March 2010 curriculum of Qingdao impulse total fitness club (Hong Kong Road Branch).
10:30-11:30 Aerobic dance Fit-dance Fit yoga Aero-B.D Fit-Pilates
16:00-17:00 Super spins Body balan ce Super spins Fit yoga Super spins Body balance Supe r spins
17:15-18:15 Aero-steps Super spins Fit yoga Super spins Muscle conditioning Fit ball Fit yoga
18:30-19:30 Super spins Body attac k Super spins B ody balance Super spins
19:45-20:30 Fit yoga Muscle condition Fit-Pilates Aero-Hi/lo
Table 4.
Overall evaluations to the service quality of the club.
Very satisfied Satisfied Ok Dissatisfied Very dissatisfied
Number 1 10 15 2 2
% 0.03 0.33 0.5 0.07 0.07
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Table 5.
Statistics of the professionals in Qingdao impulse fitness club.
Name of the professional certificate Number
Asian Senior Private Coac h Certificate 8
National Fitness Instr u ctor 12
National Fitness Instr u ctor (Level 1) 12
Australia and I nternational Private Coach Certificate 1
US AFAA group fitness certification 1
International redistricted senior nutritionist 1
Psychology counselor 1
Nutritionist 2
Masseur 1
Table 6.
Qingdao impulse fitness (urban clubs) 2007-2009 price.
Year Common card (Yuan) Luxurious card (Y uan)
2007 2280 5880
2008 2000 4880
2009 1250 4000
Development strategies of Qin gdao impul se fitness club
Combination one: SO—Rely
on advantages, use the oppor-
Implement the marketing strat-
egy in membership growth:
Build a Qingdao fitness brand,
set up brand effect.
Combination two: WO—Use the op-
portunity, overcome the disadvan-
Implement reversed marketing strat-
egy in sports industry, make use of the
great potential advantages of the
Olympic Games and the fitness mar-
ket, expand the scale of the club,
optimize the product strategy, and
alter the service from undifferentiated
market to differentiate.
Combination three: ST—Rely
on advantages, avoid threats
Implement defensive marketing
strategy: im
lement effective
price marketing, adjust reason-
able industrial structure in fit-
ness club.
Combination four: WT—Reduce
the weakness, avoid threats
Implement diversified marketing strat-
egy: focus on the introduction and
cultivation of the professionals, opti-
mize the industrial structure, and
diversify the fitness service.
Figure 2.
Qingdao impulse total fi tne ss club SWOT strategy matrix.
opportunities of the “all-round well-off society” which is pro-
posed during the 16th National People’s Congress of the CPC;
2) the opportunities that brought by the Beijing Olympic
The analysis of the T (threats) of the Qingdao Impulse Fit-
ness Club indicates that the club must overcome the threats
while in the process of advantageous development. The threats
the club faced are: lack of professionals, disorderly price com-
petition among clubs, and the simple management programs
could not attract consumer enthusiasm.
Change the sports marketing concept of the physical fitness
in differentiating service, which is the pre-condition of building
a good sports fitness market.
The core task of the fitness club is to improve the quality of
the service, which is the foundation of the marketing campaign.
Pay attention to the image-building, which is the base of
building fitness brand.
Take note of the flexibility and associability when formulate
the marketing strategies.
This research was supported by the Humanities and Social
Science Research Youth Foundation of the Ministry of Educa-
tion in China (Grant No. 12YJC880005) and “the Fundamental
Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No.
SWU1309230)” and “the Fundamental Research Funds for the
Central Universities (Grant No. SWU1309231)”.
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consumption: The reflection of objective divisions in class structure.
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