CWA 2019 Report Offers New Insights Into Climbing Gym Businesses

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CWA Industry Report 2019
“Our goal is to provide reliable data and business metrics for industry stakeholders that dig into the realities of operating a climbing facility,” reads the CWA announcement introducing the 2019 Indoor Climbing Industry Report. (Image courtesy of CWA)

Last week, the Climbing Wall Association (CWA) released its latest Indoor Climbing Industry Report, for the year 2019. The 74-page report, which is based on a survey conducted in partnership with Dr. Bob Brookover of Clemson University, offers new insights on several factors impacting climbing gym businesses in North America. Altogether, 96 gym operators responded to the survey (73 single-gym and 23 multi-gym operators), spanning 142 facility locations.

Topics addressed in the survey range from climbing facility financial metrics to more operational questions related to facility services. Based on revenue-related answers, for instance, it was estimated that total climbing gym revenue in the North American industry is $646,870,410.

The survey also included questions regarding business challenges and growth areas for gym operators, as well as wider market activity. 56% of respondents operating full-service gyms, for example, answered at the time of the survey that they believed the level of saturation in their climbing gym market was “about right.” That percentage was even higher among bouldering-only gyms (64%).

 

Of note is that this survey was conducted in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the economic landscape and significantly impacted climbing gyms worldwide. The CWA announcement introducing the report acknowledged that “there is still room to grow” and encouraged gym operators to get involved by applying to join its Research Advisory Committee and participating in future surveys. (In addition to improving survey accuracy, participants also receive a free copy of the report.)

According to the same announcement, the industry’s trade association has been developing information for climbing gym operators since establishing its industry research program in 2017. The CWA conducted monthly industry surveys throughout the pandemic, providing a snapshot of the effects on gyms and their staff. Other reports available from the CWA store include the 2019 Indoor Climber Survey Summary Report and the 2018 Indoor Climbing Industry Report.

The CWA’s 2019 Indoor Climbing Industry report can be previewed and downloaded here.