Global fitness membership network ClassPass is cashing in on the boom in boutique fitness studios and independent gyms opening throughout Auckland.

The New York-headquartered subscription company, which allows users to access various fitness classes such as Pilates and yoga at different studios, made its New Zealand debut in Auckland in December - enticed by the booming fitness market.

ClassPass Australia and New Zealand general manager Sam Canavan said the uptake in people using the service had surpassed expectation, and Auckland was now one of the company's fastest-growing markets.

"Auckland, almost a month in, has hugely exceeded our expectations," Canavan said.

Advertisement

Auckland is ClassPass' fastest-growing city in Australasia, and third to Sydney and Melbourne in membership numbers.

Around 100 studios are signed to ClassPass - 75 per cent of which opened within the past five years.

There has been an influx of boutique fitness studios opening across Auckland in the past three years, and in the past year alone 40 independent studios opened in the country's largest city.

"The studio fitness market, if you look at the numbers, categorically it is booming - more than a lot of markets we've seen in Australia," Canavan said.

Canavan describes ClassPass as a "Netflix subscription for fitness" which gives users access to classes held around the world.

He could not say how many Aucklanders had signed up to ClassPass, but said the response had been 50 per cent ahead of forecasts.

"The perception coming in was maybe Auckland might be the only market in New Zealand ... but because of how amazing the response has been we will be exploring where else."

ClassPass will consolidate the Auckland market before expanding to other cities.

ClassPass operates on a credit system where a user can book classes with credits. For example, a popular class at a peak time will cost more credits whereas a less popular class booked at an off-peak time will cost less.

Sam Canavan, general manager for ClassPass in New Zealand and Australia. Photo / Supplied
Sam Canavan, general manager for ClassPass in New Zealand and Australia. Photo / Supplied

A $50 monthly subscription for ClassPass is the equivalent of 20 credits and up to four classes, $75 equates to 30 credits and up to seven classes and $120 subscription equates to 50 credits and up to 12 classes.

Angus Campbell, co-founder of Auckland barre and yoga fitness studios trading under the name of District Fitness, said ClassPass was essentially a marketing platform for his business, similar to what Uber Eats does for restaurants.

"The whole boutique industry now is class based, people want to do more than one type of exercise at more than one studio - they are no longer joining one gym anymore - they are trying different things, so ClassPass enables people to do that," Campbell said.

District Fitness opened its doors in October 2017, and in just over a year Campbell said he has noticed changes in the market.

District Fitness co-founders Angus and Leanne Campbell. Photo / Supplied
District Fitness co-founders Angus and Leanne Campbell. Photo / Supplied

"It has really evolved from discount, low-service, low-budget type clubs to high-end premium services," he said. "People who have either traditionally attended a traditional gym or maybe like a low-budget, 24/7 set up are now wanting more than just being able to do their own thing.

"The whole motivation factor of being class-based, where you have an instructor telling you what to do, is quite valuable for people ... it's more than just coming in and working out."

Campbell, who has been working in the fitness industry for 25 years, said he had seen a lot of different formats come and go.

"The boutique fitness industry is where the next wave is and it is here to stay."

ClassPass was founded in 2013, born from the idea of filling fitness studios during off-peak times - it emulates the model of hotels and airlines. It has more than 12,000 fitness studios in 60 cities worldwide signed on.