In 2016, the fitness industry will see consumer trends affect the industry in several ways. Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson of ClubIntel have released the company's 10 fitness industry predictions for 2016. The white paper, "An Enlightened Prophesy for the Health/Fitness Industry in 2016," shares these predictions with the intent of helping the industry better understand how today's consumer trends will affect the fitness industry. For a quick overview of the 10 predictions, click through this photo gallery. For a deeper dive into the predictions, read the full white paper.
Boutique studios will continue to flourish and further alter the industry landscape. The Millennials and their pursuit of experiences will continue to push the growth of consumers who frequent boutique studios beyond the 42 percent who did so in 2014.
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Budget club wars will heat up as the growth in number of budget club brands and locations grow. This growth may lead to an oversaturation of high-volume, low-price clubs, causing some budget clubs to fail to get the return on investment they seek.
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Digital middlemen will forever change the fitness industry just like they have in lodging, ride sharing and eating out. Companies such as ClassPass, FitReserve and Wildfire have opened a new way for consumers to purchase access to fitness, which likely will lead traditional fitness clubs and studios to reconsider how they do business.
Technology will emerge as an essential attribute of the fitness club value proposition. Technology such as mobile applications, social media presence, online purchasing options and online scheduling will become as important for health clubs as the type of equipment they offer.
Consumers’ preference for paying for what they want, how they want it and when they want it will have a profound influence on the industry’s traditional approach to membership. Today’s consumers don’t like contracts and only want to buy what they plan to use.
Group fitness programming (traditional and non-traditional) will evolve as the primary way of delivering the fitness experiences consumers want. Instead of a self-directed approach to exercise, consumers now want a caring coaching experience through group programs that offer communal support and accountability.
Traditional fitness equipment usage will continue to decline as fitness consumers move to bodyweight and accessories, such as medicine balls, stability balls, kettlebells, ropes and suspension apparatus.
Clubs that offer everything to everyone will begin evolving from being the norm to being one of many niche offerings in the industry. Fewer consumers today want to pay more at a club to have everything under one roof, especially if they are not going to use everything. Today’s consumers want their clubs to align with their lifestyle, which will increase the specialization seen in a growing number of clubs.
The era of the salesperson is giving way to the cloud and the experience concierge. Today’s consumers now want to purchase online in a transparent environment, which means they want to see a club's offerings, the cost for those offerings and what others say about the club without sitting through a pitch. After they’ve made their purchase, they want club operators to help them get the most out of it, which may mean a move away from salespeople to concierges who ensure members get the most of their memberships.
Franchising is becoming the preferred pathway to entrepreneurship in the fitness industry. Franchises that have proven that their business model can be a profitable venture are a more attractive prospect for entrepreneurs than establishing a brand from scratch, as can be seen in the growth of franchisors such as Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Snap Fitness, Barry’s Bootcamp, Orangetheory and Title Boxing Club.
A forecast of the top 10 fitness industry trends for 2016 from boutique studio growth to franchising. To read more about these predictions, read the full white paper by ClubIntel.
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