Each Fall, HSG undertakes an exhaustive analysis of a myriad of industry surveys and predictions for the upcoming year.
We include market data, as well as our own observations as Professional Managers and Consultants, to provide a valuable resource for fitness professionals and business owners/operators. This year, rather than looking for the next “best thing” in fitness, we chose to focus on the six fundamental forces that are driving today’s fitness trends.
Click the button below to download our full 50-page report. It provides further insights into these driving forces and will assist you in making strategic decisions for your fitness operation. We also identify program and equipment strategies you can use to make your business more competitive in 2019.
Through our research, we identified six significant consumer forces that are driving today’s fitness trends:
Today’s fitness consumer is part of an active generation that values experiences. The drive for adventure and excitement is pushing exercisers towards new forms of fitness instead of the traditional routine of going to the gym. Obstacle races, gamification, marathons and smartphone fitness apps have taken the market by storm. Furthermore, we are connecting with consumers through new forms of communication that have never been used before in the fitness industry.
Influenced by the Millennial generation, today’s fitness consumers are a fast-paced, well-informed group. They devour news and information as soon as it’s released and then share it with others, usually via social media. This quick turnover cycle has led to an “out with the old, in with the new” mentality in many aspects of life, and activities quickly become outdated. This generation is always seeking new ways to get fit and eat healthy, even if it means creating something unique to them.
Many gym-goers are feeling overwhelmed by their lifestyle obligations. Time-pressured consumers express strong preferences for quick, efficiency-driven workouts that allow them to feel more in control of their time, and return on (time) investment. This group of individuals will multi-task to compress more activities into less time, leading to broad behavioural implications.
For instance, time scarcity is a common reason for consumers failing to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including skipping meals, eating-on-the-go, cooking less often, getting less sleep and failing to exercise regularly. As a result, consumers are looking to simplify their routines and reduce time in the gym. This factor calls for creative programming and product solutions to help restore balance in the consumers’ life.
The ‘convenience’ factor also fuels a desire to create more leisure time. For instance, today’s consumers are seeking solutions that allow them to maximize their free time and disposable income dollars to spend more time doing the things they value.
Convenience and ease of access are vital to the success of any club or fitness business. It’s the key to making it easier for consumers to decide to join. The right location, proximity to retail, accessible parking, no-hassle access or scheduling, and frictionless buying are all factors to consider in your fitness business operations.
A ‘social tribe’ is simply two or more people who share common health goals, values, interests, behaviour, and support. Consequently, people will seek to team up with other like-minded individuals to engage in healthier behaviour, build habits, or achieve a fitness/wellness goal together. It’s not the number in your tribe that leads to more success; it’s the power of the support you get from them that counts.
People prefer to share their healthy food, fitness activities, and accomplishments with friends – online and off – because it’s more fun and more sustainable over time to be social vs. solo. Connecting people who have something in common and developing a sense of belonging is a critical approach to capitalizing on your programming and marketing efforts.
‘Betterment’ is a term that characterizes a more holistic approach to health to achieve a more balanced quality of life. For example, the mind/body connection has been a solid contributor to fitness participation for over two decades. This connection is evident by the sustained popularity of Yoga and Pilates.
For years, we’ve used exercise to enhance muscular performance, and we’re starting to see a surge in the use of training to increase brain strength. It won’t be long before fitness trackers, and wearables can monitor cognitive performance, as well as traditional physiological markers such as heart rate, calories burned, and effort. For many people, physical, mental and emotional peak performance is a fundamental part of self-actualization. That means these qualities are central to how they seek meaning in their lives.
A focus on achieving quality results is the return on investment from their fitness provider that consumers are seeking. Education, training and proper credentialing for trainers are investments becoming increasingly important to operators of health and fitness facilities. Specializations such as Health Coach, Older Adult Programming, Sports Specific Training or facilities that provide niche services are becoming more popular for those who are looking for quality results.
As the medical, therapeutic, holistic, athletic and technological worlds come together to improve services offered to the mainstream fitness industry, the winner will be your clients and members who are engaging in your professional fitness services.
Our Role (as Fitness Operators)
Understanding and anticipating consumer needs can position you at the forefront of providing innovative and higher quality fitness experiences for your members and participants. We encourage you to leverage this understanding and critical intel when making future business and program decisions in your fitness operation.