As gyms and fitness studios reopen amidst the pandemic, an air of uncertainty looms around. This is a tricky time for fitness entrepreneurs who need to make tough decisions and take a deep look into their finances.
Customer preferences and habits have changed and gym entrepreneurs should factor this in when taking future steps. Factors like being confined at home, spending more time online, and worrying about possible infection have made people more conscious of their choices. From sticking to some form of indoor workout routine to cooking healthy meals at home, COVID-19 has forced many to reconsider their life priorities.
Furthermore, the pandemic has also brought with it a new set of challenges for gyms and fitness centres across the globe. This chart from a recent McKinsey study reveals people’s reluctance to pursue outdoor activities, especially in the case of public gyms and fitness centres.
For that reason, gyms will have to get creative in the way they promote their services and employ advanced sanitation methods if they’re to retain their share of customers. Knowing what trends lie ahead can help fitness entrepreneurs evaluate their options and come up with a fitting strategy to take their business to the next level. This post shares the upcoming fitness trends as we adjust to the new normal.
- Increased Popularity of Virtual Fitness Programmes
Given that people today are especially concerned about their safety, live and on-demand online fitness programmes seem to be way forward. According to Allied Market Research, the global virtual fitness market, valued at USD 6,046 million in 2019, is projected to reach a staggering USD 59,231 million by 2027. Simply put, virtual fitness programmes are here to stay!
In the past couple of months, an increasing number of gyms and fitness centres have introduced such convenience-based fitness services as Zoom-led workouts, which allow people to stay fit while staying safe. Going virtual can help gyms maintain their customer base, engage them, and attract new customers. Even when restrictions are lifted, virtual fitness programmes will continue to complement the existing fitness programmes.
And it’s not just the gyms that are paying attention, fitness brands are jumping on the virtual fitness bandwagon too! For instance, firms like Virtual Racing UK (VRUK) are hosting virtual fitness challenges online to encourage people to stay active. Similarly, brands like Peloton, Holodia, BigRingVR, and VirZOOM are leading the way in virtual fitness classes and VR fitness sports. In the years to come, we will see many fitness brands adopting innovative technologies and strategies to satisfy the increasing demand for virtual fitness programmes.
- Group Training via Social Media Channels Is Growing in Demand
The GWI Coronavirus Research 2020 by Global Web Index reveals that almost 45% of people around the world are devoting more time to social media. That’s a trend most fitness influencers are catching up on. Chris Davis, the Head of Brand Partnerships at talent agency Gleam Solutions, shared that as the social trend continues to spread, people can expect an increasing number of influencers to share wellbeing and self-care tips on their social channels.
Gym entrepreneurs looking to scale their business in these times of uncertainty should recognise and embrace the social fitness trend. This will improve their exposure and secure their customer base.
A few fitness brands Nike, Spartan, 8fit, GymShark, and Crunch Gym have already been engaging their audiences on social media for quite some time. Simply put, if you’re not harnessing all the opportunities availed to you via social media, you’re going to find it increasingly difficult to find success in this social media-driven world.
- HIIT Is Changing the Way People Workout
A global American College of Sports Medicine survey has identified HIIT to be one of the top fitness trends for 2020. An intense form of exercise that burns calories quickly (20 minutes of HIIT is comparable to 40-50 minutes of jogging) and boasts numerous health benefits, it’s a trend that’s proved incredibly popular in gyms (and now living rooms) all over the world.
What’s more? HIIT-specific apps like Seven, Workout for Women, and Workout trainer have experienced a serious increase in the number of downloads in recent months. This is likely down to the fact that unlike other forms of fitness, HIIT can be done virtually anywhere, at any time, which means you really have no excuse to miss a workout!
- In-Home Workouts Are Gaining Popularity
A study by Boston Consulting Group about the impact of COVID-19 on consumer sentiments suggests that people are increasingly spending time on in-home entertainment and have plans to increase their online purchases. Simply put, they are finding indoor alternatives to most of their outdoor activities. And that includes catering to their fitness needs!
Check out this data by the Washington Post, shared in an infographic by Rubcorp.
Most online retail chains are experiencing a surge in the purchase of home fitness and exercise equipment. This indicates that more and more people are working out at home to stay fit and active. In fact, at-home workout-related keywords saw a marked increase during the lockdown period.
As we settle in the post-COVID era, you can expect fitness enthusiasts to continue investing in home gym necessities like at-home exercise equipment, installation of rubber surfacing, and safety gear that allows them to stay fit while reducing the risk of workout injuries.
- Boutique Fitness Studios Are on the Rise
Another interesting trend that’s emerging in this era of social distancing is the increasing popularity of boutique fitness studios. A study by Mindbody reveals that 58% of consumers believe that boutique fitness studios offer a more controlled environment as opposed to health clubs and multiplex gyms.
No wonder, several upscale malls are becoming a popular destination for boutique studios alongside other wellness brands. Though the pandemic has brought in several restrictions, fitness entrepreneurs and influencers are coming up with innovative ways to help people achieve their fitness goals.
The fitness industry is going through a major makeover. COVID-19 has dictated a lot of consumer preferences and habits and changed them for good. However, these changing trends aren’t necessarily bad for those in the fitness industry. These unpredictable times bring with them several opportunities for gym and fitness entrepreneurs, provided they keep an eye out for these upcoming trends and take proactive measures to work with them.