The fitness and health industry has proven to be durable, adaptable and innovative. And given the current and future challenges posed by the global economic crisis, it will need to continue to demonstrate these attributes in 2023.
The key points in a nutshell:
- Digitalization is an integral part of all fitness trends in the coming year.
- Gamified fitness experiences are predicted to continue to grow in 2023.
- The value of securely collected data for fitness clubs is becoming increasingly important and may serve as the basis for business decisions in the future.
- The relationship between online and offline fitness will also evolve, with fitness clubs at the center of this synergy between physical and digital services.
I believe our digitally transformed industry is well positioned to overcome these hurdles and grow. With a customer pool that has the potential to be deeper and more diverse than ever before. With more and more products and innovations coming to market, fitness club operators have the opportunity to leverage cost- and time-efficient solutions to manage their business and engage their customers both outside and inside the four walls of their facilities. With that in mind, in this article I'll address the three biggest trends I expect to see in health and fitness in 2023.
Trend 1: Further increase in the gamification of fitness.
The realization that fitness consumers are increasingly looking for 24/7 offerings tailored to their individual needs has opened our industry's eyes to the different ways to appeal to, motivate and engage them. Concepts that were once just ideas have quickly moved from the periphery to the center of the fitness experience.
Gamification is a clear example. The primary motivation for exercising is changing. It is no longer just a means to an end, but also a way to have fun. Fitness becomes a shared experience with others, where physical gain is just one of the many benefits. What would it be like, then, if most people didn't exercise out of a need, but because they enjoy it?
In 2023, I predict a further increase in gamified fitness experiences. Mobile technologies and embeddable wearable devices can be used to create powerful group experiences where gyms and trainers bring clients together to motivate each other no matter where they are. They can track their performance in real time and compete together in a fun environment to achieve personal or shared fitness goals. This fosters community and brand loyalty.
This rise is fueled by the increasing development and accessibility of cutting-edge gamification technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), which I believe will have a particularly strong impact on the future of fitness. A recent study by global market research firm Technavio found that the AR/VR market is expected to grow by $162.7 billion by 2025, largely due to demand.
Earlier this year, for example, Basic-Fit launched a new AR product using Snapchat to play short workouts with a lens that tracks body movements and repetitions of certain exercises. The use of this technology may be at a more experimental stage right now, but I expect it to become a force to be reckoned with and a core component of the integrated modern fitness experience.
Trend 2: Collecting data as a competitive advantage.
The value of securely collected data to fitness clubs is now well understood. So is awareness of the importance of fitness apps to gyms and the fact that the trend toward performance measurement continues unabated.
A 2022 fitness app report found, among other things, that health awareness and increasing digitization will drive the global fitness app market to grow 21% annually into 2028, while a 2022 German consumer electronics survey found that sales of wearables grew 9% in 2021 and have nearly doubled since 2017.
Growth in these areas, combined with advances in automated club management solutions - from access control to AI-driven exercise equipment - offers more actionable data than ever before that can inform business decisions. This, in turn, makes it even more important for gyms and trainers to know how to most securely collect and use this data.
Being able to effectively provide personalized experiences to support individual and group needs could be the difference between customers staying or leaving in the extremely competitive fitness market.
I expect that in 2023, the data-driven technology available to us and how we use it will continue to improve and become more accessible. This means helping customers achieve their goals faster and more sustainably and develop healthy habits. For example, by tracking, measuring and aggregating data to create training plans and content. I expect we'll see more innovation here.
The value of this pursuit of data also extends to supporting marketing campaigns and contests, communicating with the community, and generating other revenue streams, such as through flexible membership options, web stores, and upselling offers. Understanding motivations, behaviors and preferences has never been more important for fitness providers. With the right technology solutions, this task can be made much easier - and the benefits are even greater.
Trend 3: The synergy between physical and digital is increasing.
There used to be concerns about the impact technology could have on the fitness industry. However, recent evidence shows that these concerns are unfounded. In fact, I believe that technology has helped improve the fitness experience, not worsen it, and that this positive trend will intensify in 2023 as more clubs embrace hybrid online and offline business models.
A gym will always be at the center of the fitness experience for a large portion of our fitness community, and I'm confident that the importance of physical training and social interaction will remain. The difference? Customers will have significantly more options for how they want to stay physically and mentally fit and healthy and connect with like-minded people, such as balancing video workouts at home with personal training sessions in the gym.
A 2022 study of the German fitness market by Deloitte found that 20% of people now follow hybrid workout routines, where they work out at home and in the gym.
We are seeing how technology can be an integral part of the club offering, complementing the workout and enhancing the way it is managed, rather than just being a "nice to have." Over the next year, the relationship between online and offline fitness will evolve and grow, with studios at the center of this synergy between physical and digital services.
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Published on: 13 January 2023