The new generations GenZ and GenAlpha will have a huge impact on the future of the fitness business. Based on their habits and traits we briefly discuss ten potential trends in fitness that could become important.
The habits of GenZ and GenAlpha are important catalysts for the future of fitness
In the coming few months I will regularly discuss the future of several different sports.
In this blogpost we will discuss the trends within the fitness industry, which is a enormous market. The clubmarket alone already exceeds the USD 85 bln level. In this analysis we will look at trends, that are likely to become increasingly important going forward. These trends are particularly based on the habits of GenZ and Gen Alpha, which as a group are already accounting for 32% of the total population. As this number only will get bigger in time, these generations should be seen as the biggest catalyst behind these trends.
The main characteristics of GenZ
Before discussing the different trends, let’s just briefly remind you on what the main traits are of GenZ.
GenZ is the group that has been born in the period 1996-2010, whilst Gen Alpha has been born after 2010. As said GenZ is already the biggest generation right now and is entirely different from the ones before. Yes, that includes you Millenials! As the first borns are 24 years old by now, some of them have already entered the fitness arena and gyms and their numbers will only grow going forward. In case you are in the Fitness and wellness business, it is hence extremely important to acknowledge this and brace yourself for this generation and their demands.
10 very important trends in the fitness business going forward
Ok, as said, let’s just remind you first on what the most important traits are of this generation.
A. GenZ likes sports and is health conscious!
GenZ (and Alpha) likes sports and is health conscious, as they have been taught by their millennial parents. That’s clearly good news for fitness! However, Gen Z is not into traditional sports. They regard many of these sports as boring and taking up too much of their time! Traditional sports are for a different generation, they argue! GenZ is much more into alternative and adventure sports as well as into e-sports. Sports should be fast and furious and most of all, should be fun! Clearly something to take into account, you gymowners!
B. GenZ just loves tech!
They eat, sleep and breathe it! They are 24/7 connected. Gen Z can be active on different screens at the same time. They switch without any hesitancy and have a very, very short attention span! If not interesting, you are out! Social media, computers, video games, smartphones and the internet offer no major secrets to them. Without tech, they are gone! Hence you fitness entrepreneurs, you know what you’ve got to do! It’s all about interactivity, wearables, sensors and mobiles.
C. GenZ is the E-game generation.
They regard e-sports as a sport. Game platforms offer no secrets to them. They love games and spend a lot of time on it together with their friends.
D. A GenZ is independent and likes to have his or her own identity.
They value individuality. They do like to stand out and are no followers! They can do things alone but simultaneously like to chill out with their friends either on- or offline.
E. GenZ’ers are very much global citizens.
After all, they have a huge network that spans accross the globe and have all the information at their fingertips. They know a lot at a young age.
F. Social media and influencers play a very important role in the lifes of GenZ.
Insta, Snapchat, Youtube and TikTok are their way of communicating. They trust their digital counterparts. Hence online influencers are important to them.
G. GenZ likes to be entertained and to have fun at a decent price
They are likely to try out new things. They want value for their money as they are value conscious consumers.
For a more extensive explanation, you can read my article: How GenZ will change the world of sports
10 emerging future fitness trends
Are you still with me fitness entrepreneurs? Do you know this new and upcoming generation, which will be and already partly is your main consumer? These traits mean that you have to adjust your offering in order to stay competitive. Below, I have listed 10 potential trends that may become important in the future and tick some of the boxes of GenZ. Some of these might be a bit far fetched but don’t be surprised if many of them will become mainstream.
Trend 1: Health-hubs and specialized boutiques will gain market share.
If there are two things important in many consumer’s minds and certainly in that of GenZ then it is time and money! Time is precious and if you can combine several tasks at once, you have got a winner! This is why in the future more fitness hubs can be expected. Fitness hubs? Huh? Yes, it means several smaller fitness or wellness boutiques grouped together in a shopping mall or near a supermarket, so you can combine different tasks.
GenZ is value conscious and wants to pay only for the services it consumes (similar to pay per view streaming). Different services bundled together in one place as separate entities are therefore ideal for them as they are not prepared to pay for things they do not need (group lessons when you only want to do cardio etc). Think of it as foodcourts in malls where different food can be consumed. A health hub is not that different! It is your yoga class next door to a spa or to a power/strength paradise or whatever. Take your pick out of all these different boutiques!
Trend 2: Home exercise will become more important!
But there is much more! Another way to save time and money is to do your fitness at home. With technology advancing very rapidly and youtube at your fingertips, there are plenty of opportunities. Look for example at the Youtube video below, where Yoga with Adriene is a smashing hit. She has more than 4 million very happy subscribers and hundreds of thousands more watching her free videos! And yes, I am one of them! She has made me an awful lot more flexible than I used to be.
Alternatively, there are many more opportunities to workout at home. Watch this mirror, it will tell you precisely what to do! And yes, over time, they will get cheaper no doubt! I would say, this is a threat to traditional gyms, isn’t it? It ticks the boxes of GenZ; it is affordable, interactive and convenient!
Trend 3: Gamification of fitness will be a must
Games! They are of all ages and have evolved from the good old board games to electronic e-games. The latter are the exclusive domain of GenZ and they are good at it! Some have even made it to the professional e-sports ranks. In any case, GenZ has been brought up with interactivity and they do like to play; it fills in their needs for fun and socialising with their equals.
Simultaneously ordinary fitness is considered as kind of boring by many. That’s why it is a no brainer to predict that the gamification trend will catch on. It is much more fun to doing your workout playing a game and there will be loads of apps available. What to think of the Zwift platform, where you can cycle on your bike competing on-line with others. Or watch the two videos below where you can climb a wall or doing fitness scoring points.
Much more fun to work out this way! In the near future many more applications will be brought to the market. With your VR/AR goggles on you will be even more immersed to what you are doing. It is already here!And there is more! Sportification instead of gamification is next! With AR/VR new sports and fitness games will be developed, where you will be the participant in your own adventure.
Trend 4 Holistic and Hybrid
Holistic and hybrid fitness will become more popular. For a long time fitness was aimed on getting physically fit. However, there is more than just physical. Mind, body, spirit and soul are interconnected. Mental, emotional and spiritual are dimensions which are more and more seen as equally important for your wellbeing and health. Integrating mindfulness and meditation, energy management, food, sleep habits and wellness are just a few examples of how you can improve your lifestyle.
Expect more hybrid forms of fitness to be developed. Yoga combining with HIIT training, mindfulness spinning or soulcycling etc etc. mindful workouts and holistic wellbeing, that’s the mantra! Equinox is an example of an ultra chique boutique chain which embraces the holistic style of fitness, just browse their site!
Trend 5: Tech will be the name of the game!
Without tech, no go! Unless you want to target a different age group of course! GenZ however, will demand the latest technological gadgets. It’s a Troian horse you cannot avoid: you know that it will disrupt your business! In case you don’t introduce it, you will be out. No choice here! What does it mean? Well, the full monty I am afraid: Virtual and Augmented Reality, apps on your phone tracking your performance and providing you with a training schedule, wearables, sensors, games, Artificial Intelligence etc etc.
It means fitness equipment needs to be connected where possible and certainly be connected to wearables. Information is what is important to the consumer. Trackers like heartrate, steps and distance no longer will be sufficient. Expect lots of new data and functions, particularly as sensors will be able to measure sweat, saliva etc. The sky is the limit here! Lifestreaming of workouts with world leaderboards, interactivity everywhere! I can go on for a while, but I think you’ve got the message. You have to incorporate technology into your offering to provide a better product and better programs. Data collection will be the new gold!
Trend 6: Tailormade fitness as a result of AI and genomics
Artificial Intelligence and genomics will become increasingly important in the fitness industry. With sensors available everywhere, there will be sufficient data available for Artificial Intelligence to do its work. Everybody is different, there is no one solution fits all! Artificial Intelligence will have the ability to decide what is best for you based on your specific parameters. The more data, the more specific the solutions will be.
In this perspective genomics will help. We all have a different genetic footprint which determines who we are, what we look like, what our traits and characteristics are, our metabolism, absorption levels etc etc. Clearly It also determines to some extent our health and physical ability. Genomics also can help in preventing injuries and how to exercise in order to make the risk of injury smaller. As access to this kind of info will become a lot easier, consumers undoubtedly will start to make use of this.
Trend 7: Fitness centers will become fun and experience centers
GenZ does like sports but also values fun and new experiences and chilling out with friends. Turn your gym or fitness hub into a cool nightclub with DJ’s and video’s, whilst you are doing your spinning class. Party afterwards while having some healthy food along the way. Introduce virtual reality into your club to give your customers a new fitness adventure. Entertainment value really should become part of your offering!
In any case and without a doubt exercising in the future will be different and providing much more fun than before, during and after sweating! Keep those customers in your club and be a winner in this competitive landscape.
Trend 8: Smart performance wear and AI might disrupt the job of personal trainer
Watch this youtube video below. Smart yoga pants! What does it tell you? It tells you that you no longer need a personal trainer or yoga instructor any longer to do the job. Sensors in smart clothing will exactly tell you what your posture should be whether it is for yoga, strength training or whatever. Combine it with tailormade programs, trackers and AI and you understand thta the role of the fitness instructor might evolve into……
Trend 9: Biohacking and fitness merging together
A lot of people are talking about biohacking as of lately. Taking an icebath because it is good for your health? Biohacking! Intermittent fasting? Biohacking! Nootropics? Biohacking! Chemical injections? Biohacking! Yes it is somewhat of an all purpose container word. But what is it? The best definition of biohacking is probably:
Biological experimentation (as by gene editing or the use of drugs or implants) done to improve the qualities or capabilities of living organisms especially by individuals and groups working outside a traditional medical or scientific research environmentWebster dictionary
Biohacking is aimed towards progress in the capabilities of the human body. So is fitness! The definition is pretty broad as it includes basically everything which can alter your inside and outside body (varying from implanted devices to changing your cell structure). I would not be surprised if sports and society will pay more attention to this phenomenon, particularly if some of these hacks have scientific proof, as some of them no doubt will get.
For example, there are indications, also from a scientific view, that taking an icebath can be quite healthy for your body. This is also the case for intermittent fasting. These hacks have proven themselves by now and I have experienced myself the benefits for both my fitness level and health! Probiotics (yeast and bacteria that are good for you, particularly for your digestal system) also seem to have positive effects. In any case, as biohacking has overlaps with fitness, expect these two field to increasingly come together
See also: 7 great ways how to improve health and performance levels of athletes
Trend 10. Fitness platforms will become increasingly important
GenZ is the social media generation. Don’t you forget it! They want to be part of a community and share! Platforms like Endomondo, MyFitnesspal, Nike and Strava prove it! Sharing your fitness goals and journey with your friends makes it easier to stay motivated and more likely to realize it.wearables and trackers make it easy to keep track and connect with others. Share your pics, do a challenge, improve your time! There is plenty to sweat for!
Ok, that’s it for now. If you agree or if you do have other specific views on this subject, please let me know!