Consumer Insights Series: Trend One

The New Digital Experience

Exclusive insights from the cutting edge WELLTODO Consumer Insights Report 2020.


The last ten years have seen the fitness industry change more rapidly and more dramatically than in any other period of history.

This seismic shift goes hand in hand with a wider evolution of public attitude towards and health and wellbeing.

And this evolution is far from over: the wellness sector is hurtling headfirst into a largely unknown future. Here to shed some light on what’s to come in the next few years (and decades), the WELLTODO 2021 Consumer Wellness Trends Report highlights eight key trends in the industry that ambitious operators will need to stay abreast of.

“Brand culture, connection, and community are essential.”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking these trends one by one to give you the insight – and practical action points – you need to emerge as a frontrunner as the dust settles over the next 12 months.

Trend One: The New Digital Consumer

The steady move to a digital-led model of delivering wellness solutions became a mass migration when the world went into lockdown: and it doesn’t look like we’ll ever go back to pre-Covid levels in terms of in-person fitness provision.

Once a niche domain, online offerings are becoming a mainstream consumer movement: Peloton, for example, reported a 66% increase in sales due to the shift to digital; and Mindbody revealed that 85% of app users do live-streamed workouts weekly in 2020, compared to 7% in 2019.

In the age of Covid-19, digital has become the new currency: fitness businesses need to shift at speed to deliver on the consumer expectations that come in hand with it.

“There is an underserved and untapped segment of the consumer market.”

But digital alone isn’t likely to cut the mustard: people still crave the community and social elements of the in-person experience. ‘Person-first’ businesses need to implement a blended or omnichannel model to serve the dynamic needs of the new digital consumer. As well as touchpoints within the four ways of the facility, providers need to focus on offering a range of digital connection experiences to provide a 360-degree wraparound service.

And the move to digital doesn’t undermine the increasing need to connect with consumers on a deeper level: brand culture, connection, and community are becoming essential value propositions for a sizeable chunk of the wellness market. Even while client interface points become more dispersed across a number of platforms online and in-person, we need to ensure that this strengthens, not undermines, our relationships with our clients.

And while the bar is being set higher than before, the shifting expectations are also opening new windows. One major opportunity for fitness innovators looking to the future, will be to identify and target consumers who weren’t already engaged in fitness pre-Covid-19. There is an underserved and untapped segment of the consumer market that’s ripe for targeting for both an online and in-person wellness experience.

“If 2020 set a new benchmark for digital expectations, then 2021 will be the year that brands must go above and beyond these expectations to win the hearts and minds of consumers in the long term.”

Look out for trend number two in next week’s instalment, or purchase and download the full report here.

Are you a gym owner, fitness manager or ambitious personal trainer looking to stay at the cutting edge of the industry’s charge for change?

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