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Hot Small Business Trend: Yoga Studios

14. January 2013 16:19

By Rieva Lesonsky

Physical and athletic trainers looking for new (or increased) opportunities should consider looking into the burgeoning field of yoga studios. At first glance, you might think the market is crowded with established competitors, but the truth is, according to market research firm IBISWorld, there’s plenty of room to grow in this multi-billion dollar industry.

While there are more than 25,000 yoga (and Pilates) studios open for business today, IBISWorldexpects the industry to see increasing profit margins and a five-year average annual revenue growth rate of five percent.

Previously, the industry was dominated by yoga fanatics (which isn’t a bad thing), but the market has recently undergone significant changes. One shift has been in the way the industry targets consumers. It’s not just about charging per class or private session. Today, it’s much more profitable to sell consumers a membership, charging by the month or year. Yes, the customer ends up paying less per class (which makes them happy), but most participate in many more sessions than they did before. And owners of the studios have an easier time planning for class size and anticipating instructor (or equipment) needs.

The yoga field in particular is also seeing a change in the customers it attracts. A recent “Yoga in America” study from Yoga Journal magazine shows that from 2008 to 2012, five million Americans started regularly participating in yoga, an increase of 29 percent. Yoga devotees spend more than $10 billion a year on classes and products.

Previously,female customers dominated the industry. And while about 82 percent of the country’s 20.4 million yoga practitioners are still female,more men have recently been embracing it. In addition, a number of yoga studios have started offering yoga classes for kids and ones for people and their pet dogs to work out together.

Proving there’s a lot of room for growth in the yoga industry, the “Yoga in America” study found that over 44 percent of Americans called themselves “aspirational yogis,” indicating a high interest in starting the practice.

The study also found that the top five reasons people practice yoga are…

Given the fact that as Americans age these factors become even more important, and that yoga is a relatively low-impact exercise, the number of practitioners could increase significantly as Baby Boomers hit retirement. The startup costs for a yoga studio are relatively low, but as with any business that requires physical activity, those who get into the field will want to make sure they have adequate insurance coverage for both themselves and their businesses.

Entrepreneurs in this field should supplement their studio's income by selling related products, like clothes, books, DVDs, lotions, and candles, as well as accessories like mats, weights, and stretch bands.

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Small Business | Small Business Risk Management

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