Better Digital Platforms, Slicker Omnichannel Experiences, More Community-Focused

How consumer behaviours will change the world of fitness

Our world is changing in ways we have yet fully to realise, from how governments work to how consumers behave. At The Value Engineers, we’re observing behaviour changes in our own lives and considering the impact they may have long term. Here’s one observation from us. What’s changing in your life? 

What I used to do:

I had a monthly gym membership (£35 p/m), which I aimed to visit 3-4 times a week for weight training. I wasn’t much of a class-goer, but was starting to get into boxing, going twice a week (£15 per class). My gym membership forced me to exercise; the financial cost ensures I go regularly, and the gym space itself is “my space” to work out. I’d spend a reasonable amount on gym clothing (£100 every few months). I’m a fan of Gymshark but also buy Nike. I’d buy vegan protein powder (£25) roughly once every six months.

What I now do:

The world has changed! All gyms are closed, no boxing classes are allowed (they were the first to go owing to being close contact), so my exercise sanctuaries are gone. Currently I’m finding it much harder to motivate myself, since the space between my desk/bed/workout space is virtually non-existent! However, the home workouts I’m doing prove I don’t need to use a gym to keep active. I don’t think I’ve found exactly the routine that works for me quite yet, but I’ll figure it out. I need to exercise; it is important for my mental health as much as my physical health.

How could the category change in the future:

The current situation has brought into sharp relief the cost of gym memberships and their associated benefits. We anticipate the following three shifts in the category:

Digital-first platforms will become genuine competitors:

Digital-first fitness brands like Peloton or Chris Hemsworth-backed Centr are already offering free trials for their services; they will likely continue to demonstrate the value of swapping an expensive gym membership for the flexibility of an online platform. Check our fellow Engineer Lucinda’s recent blog on her experience with digital platforms.

Omnichannel will become the expectation:

Gym brands are temporarily shifting their services online, using their network of personal trainers to run home workouts for their members. It’s likely these will continue after gyms reopen. An omnichannel experience, where your exercise routine can be consistent both in and out of the gym, will surely deliver a significant benefit. Anyone who knows the challenges of the business hotel gym would love to access their regular gym class online, one suspects. And why not have the option to pay for remote access to a class you loved from a gym you no longer visit?

Community-focused propositions will thrive:

Brands that galvanise and motivate their customers under the common goal of fitness, will also see members return. There will be a shift towards brands demonstrating value beyond the motivational speeches from personal trainers (which can be delivered virtually) the free towels (you can use your own at home), and fancy soaps in the shower (ditto).

By: The Value Engineers

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