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The Importance of Marketing to College Students in the Greater Denver Area

College is a time for students to take courses in new subjects, make new friends and start a new life that’s independent from their parents. It’s also a time for students to form healthy habits that they can keep throughout their lives. With the start of another school year, it’s a perfect opportunity for fitness businesses to remind students that they don’t have to stay on campus to get in a killer workout.

For a college town like Denver, there’s plenty of opportunity for fitness studios and gyms to market to students. Not only does Colorado boast the country’s second-most educated workforce, but it’s also brimming with students who are actively pursuing their education. The Greater Denver Area has 11 four-year colleges and universities, six two-year community colleges and over 300 private occupational and technical schools. With so much of the city’s residents engaged in academics, it would be a mistake to not make students a part of your business’s marketing efforts.

Students care about fitness and even work out more than non-students

Colleges and universities aren’t just filled with people who have given up on fitness. Enrolling in school is not the end of healthy lifestyles for every new student. Recent studies have even debunked the Freshman 15. In reality, many students are focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout their academic years:

  • Almost one-third (32%) of students prioritize fitness — as much as non-students (32%)
  • Only 10% of students rarely or never exercise compared to 17% of non-students
  • Over half (51%) of students exercise at least 3-4 times a week — only 46% of non-students exercise the same amount*

Students love group fitness

College is a time of intense socialization — from the dorm to the dining hall, students tend to run in packs. This extends to their workouts, too:

  • Students, on average, do group exercises like dance, yoga and boot camp three times a week
  • Yoga (18%), aerobics (18%) and HIIT (16%) are the most popular group exercises among students
  • The top three exercises students are most interested in trying next are swimming (22%), kickboxing (21%) and martial arts (19%)*

Group fitness is an important part of student health today. Of all types of fitness that students are most interested in trying next — both individual and group — two of the top three are group fitness, suggesting that the group fitness trend has staying power. For class-based fitness studios, this is great news!

Students don’t spend any less on fitness

While true that many students aren’t working full-time and have more limited funds, they’re still investing in their physical wellbeing. And yes, many have access to a fancy fitness center on campus. Despite both of these facts, it turns out that students spend about the same amount on fitness as their non-student counterparts.* That said, they do report that money constraints are a bigger obstacle than non-students. Nothing a student discount can’t help alleviate!

Students are a highly desirable demographic that your fitness business shouldn’t overlook. If you’re not sure how to start attracting Denver students to your studio or gym, read our guide for our favorite ways of bringing students into businesses. School’s back in session, and that’s a great thing for your business!

*Mindbody Wellness Index Survey July 2018

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About the author:

Katherine Wernet

Katherine Wernet

Senior Campaign Program Manager


Katherine leads the salon and spa marketing strategy at Mindbody and is part of the team behind the Mindbody Wellness Index. While she started her career in film and television, a passion for small businesses won out and led her to Mindbody. She earned her MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

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