Australians Spend Big On Fitness

8 January 2015

Australians spend $8.5 billion each year on gym memberships, sports equipment and the latest fitness trends, yet 2.9 million Australian households fail to incorporate the expense into their budgets, according to research released today from Suncorp Bank. 

The Suncorp Bank Cost of Being Fit Report, the latest in Suncorp Bank’s Cost of Living Series, found 56 per cent of Australian households are unaware they contribute $2,340 each year to the nation’s billion dollar fitness industry. 

The revelation comes at a time when more than six million Australians revealed they have made a 2015 resolution to make fitness top of mind, with one in four committed to spending more in the New Year to achieve their fitness goals. 

Suncorp Bank Regional Manager, Michelle Bagnall, said the average Australian is spending close to $1,000, or $75 a month on fitness activities, yet many fail to incorporate the expense into their budget. 

“It is great to see Australians understand the importance of fitness, with 94 per cent of the country participating in some form of physical activity,” Ms Bagnall said. 

“Planning and budgeting for fitness expenses will not only assist with budget oversights, but it will help people remain committed to their fitness goals.” 

The report revealed more than 4.6 million Australians are members of a gym with almost 1 million spending in excess of $100 per month on membership fees. 

“Membership expenses, coupled with sports equipment, running shoes and fitness attire can really add up when not budgeted for correctly,” Ms Bagnall said. 

“Australian men are more inclined to join a gym or sporting club, while women are more likely to enlist the support of a personal trainer. 

“The report also revealed walking is the country’s most popular exercise, followed by running and the gym. Cycling is more popular than swimming, while new age fitness activities such as cross-fit and yoga also made the top ten.” 

South Australia is the most active state, with almost half of all residents taking part in some form of daily physical activity, while Northern Territory residents were the nation’s least active (30 per cent). 

Surprisingly, the most time poor Australians (Generation X) are the most physically active, while teenagers and those in their early twenties (Generation Z) are the nation’s least sporty, with only one in four doing some form of exercise on a daily basis.


Key findings: 

  • 94 per cent of Australians perform some form of physical activity, which equates to 17 million1
  • Australian men are more likely to exercise daily (40%) compared to women (34%) 
  • Men are more likely to join a gym, while women are more likely to employ a personal trainer 
  • NSW is the gym junkie state, while Generation Y is the gym junkie generation 
  • Victorians are most likely to play team based sports such as football, netball and soccer assuming that they prefer the social nature over solo pursuits 
  • ACT residents will spend more in 2015 on their fitness than any other state, while Queenslanders will spend the least 
  • Western Australians are the least likely to incorporate fitness expenses in their household budget 

Australia’s 10 most popular fitness activities2


1Walking5.9 million
2Running4.3 million
3Gym4.1 million
4Cycling2.9 million
5Swimming2.5 million
6Yoga/Pilates1.8 million
7Team Sports (Rugby, Soccer, Netball, Cricket)1.1 million
8Tennis1.1 million
10Cross-Fit / Boot Camps560,000


Spending tips for the fitness fanatic 

  1. A realistic budget is key - carefully work out how much you can afford to spend and then stick to it. Stay in control and don’t be tempted to buy new runners just because this season has a new colour palate 
  2. Wait for sales – take advantage of sales especially as most sporting equipment and sporting apparel lines release new gear every twelve months 
  3. Health insurance benefits – some health insurance providers give allowances for some fitness related gear as well as any sports medicine services related to injuries. 

Media Inquiries: Ashleigh Paterson 07 3135 2562 or 0407 925 665 
About Suncorp: 
Suncorp Group includes leading general insurance, banking, life insurance and superannuation brands in Australia and New Zealand. The Group has 14,500 employees and relationships with nine million customers. Suncorp Group Limited is a Top 15 ASX-listed company with $94 billion in assets. Suncorp Bank is Australia’s leading regional bank servicing more than one million personal, SME and agribusiness customers. 
Referenced from the estimate resident population as at 31 March 2014 
2 Referenced from the estimate resident population as at 31 March 2014