- 85% of all gym members also now do workouts at home, highlighting the need for digital solutions
- 28% of home exercisers use a paid or free online workout app – a 100% increase over the past five years
- 84% of regular exercisers are working out a minimum of three times per week, far more frequently than the average 1.9 times a week per member recorded for club visits
- Millennials and Gen Z represent 80% of all gym-goers and account for 89% of total users of online or app-based workouts
- Usage of studio and fitness content apps surged by 330% between 2014 and 2017
The on-demand fitness era is coming.
In fact, it’s already arrived, with the explosion of at-home fitness giants such as Peloton raising eye-watering sums of capital and targeting aggressive global expansion.
Every month another digital fitness startup joins the party, with a plethora of brands staking claim to be ‘The Netflix of Fitness’.
Many industry observers have voiced fears that on-demand fitness services will cannibalise the traditional health club membership, but the numbers don’t bear this out. While the digital fitness revolution has gathered pace in recent years, gym memberships and penetration rates have continued to steadily increase, with 2018 seeing record numbers of club members.
Evidence suggests digital fitness is in fact bringing more people into the world of workouts, helping them overcome some the main hurdles that have stopped them signing up in the past: perceived cost, convenience and lack of time.
Instead, the inactive, the self-conscious, the time-poor are signing up for at-home fitness memberships in their droves, with the 2019 Les Mills Global Consumer Fitness Survey revealing the untapped potential of consumers who initially prefer to sweat it out in the comfort of their living room.
The study – which asked more than 12,000 people in 22 countries how and where they like to work-out – found 28% of home exercisers now use a paid or free online workout app. That’s a 100% increase over the past five years.
Streaming to the converted
As well as newbies, committed gym-goers are becoming increasingly digitally minded too, with 85% of all gym members now also working out at home. If your gym isn’t providing their workout inspiration, some other fitness brand will be, potentially eroding the loyalty you’ve built up with them in the process.
Offering engaging content via your club’s social channels is the first step to building trust and boosting retention with your members – especially given social media users make up 98% of all digital consumers. But if you don’t have the resources to deliver workouts on demand, partnering with the right content provider that can help you stay connected with your members beyond the four walls of your club.
Alex Peacock, CEO of health club mobile app provider Netpulse – which recently joined forces with Les Mills to offer digital fitness solutions for the gym and home – underlined this point in an interview with Health Club Management.
Speaking of the partnership, he said: “Through powerful digital tools, convenient on-demand solutions and outstanding content, clubs can bridge the gap between the gym and home, improving engagement and retention, whilst driving additional revenue opportunities.”
Jean-Michel Fournier, CEO of Les Mills Media – the business behind Les Mills On Demand – added: “People want the freedom and convenience to work out whenever they want, wherever they want, so partnering with the right provider will help clubs deliver a complete fitness on-demand experience to their members.”
A powerful retention tool
For operators that can provide the right solution, an integrated fitness journey between the home and the club can yield powerful member retention and acquisition results.
“If embraced and incorporated correctly, the home fitness trend has the power to keep exercisers engaged outside of a fitness centre, which in turn drives them back for group classes and other services – it's a complementary relationship,” says Peter Smith, Director of FightFit in Scotland, which recently integrated with Les Mills On Demand to great success.
“We've seen a dramatic increase in member engagement and retention by allowing members to access classes and stay in tune with programs, whether at the centre, at home, or on the road.”
“With 24% of adults being lapsed fitness members, the online workout offer also gives FightFit a powerful reason to reconnect with inactive and unconverted leads. And because LMOD is a platform that can be used to promote live workouts, it’s become a powerful acquisition channel, which is driving new members to experience more classes at the centre.”
By offering quality content – available at the touch of a button anywhere, anytime – you can start reaching out to the overwhelming majority of adults who aren’t currently members of a gym. The potential spoils are huge – get it right and there’s no limit to your club’s potential for growing membership.
3 ways to win with on-demand fitness
Be mobile first.
Millennials and Gen Z – dubbed ‘Generation Active’ – now represent 80% of all gym-goers. And they account for 89% of total users of online or app-based workouts. With usage of studio and fitness content apps surging 330% between 2014 and 2017, and showing no signs of slowing down, it’s clear your content needs to be optimised for the small screen. If not, you’ve already lost your audience’s attention.
The importance of this rings true for live in-club classes with your Instructors, so it should also stand out with the content you produce. In the 2019 Les Mills Global Consumer Fitness Survey, Generation Active listed the calibre of the Instructor as the biggest reason for attending a class, while the most important quality for an Instructor (listed by 40% of respondents) was someone who coaches ‘intelligently’.
But quantity is also key.
People are working out far more frequently than the 1.9 times a week in the club that we typically give them credit for. The 2019 survey found 84% of regular exercisers are working out a minimum of three times per week. Gen Z are the most active demographic, with 87% exercising three or more times per week. Clubs that can cater for this high consumption will be best placed to strengthen member engagement both online and offline.