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Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson of ClubIntel summarise the key trends identified in the 2016 International Fitness Industry Trend Report

Selling memberships online offers a huge opportunity for growth Layered onto this, by looking not only at growth but also at adoption levels, we can also determine if it’s a niche trend or a mainstream trend (see Figure 1).

TECHNOLOGICAL TRENDS So, what are some of the insights garnered from the 2016 International Fitness Industry Trend Report in terms of the trends currently being adopted by operators from across the fitness sector? Technology within the health and fitness industry remains in its infancy, but over the past three years has demonstrated the greatest absolute growth of any trend category. Only one area of technological innovation – social media – has this far been adopted by over 50 per cent of the industry. However, other techbased practices – such as club-based

Cyclical shifts in adoption show how fleeting some trends may be. It’s important to know when to go with them and when to let go 72

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mobile apps, cloud-based registration and scheduling platforms, virtual group exercise classes and fitness wearables – all fall among industry practices that have shown the greatest relative growth over the past three years. These are all categorised as ‘emerging’ trends. Our prediction is that these technology trends will continue to evolve over the next few years to the point where leveraging them will be a competitive necessity, not a point of differentiation. Meanwhile, online pricing and online membership sales present a huge opportunity. In 2016, 40 per cent of respondents said their facilities showed their pricing / fees online, but only 28 per cent actually sold memberships online; growth in these trends remains slower than average, putting them into the ‘niche’ category at this stage. While the growth in these practices over the past few years has been considerable (more than 100 per cent relative growth), they still fall well behind the percentage of consumers who make purchases online more generally. If the industry is going to remain relevant to



redicting trends takes more than asking people’s opinion. It requires digging down and understanding the behaviours of an industry over time by measuring the actual practices that take place, how those practices are adopted, and how those adoption rates change over time. It’s also important to understand the difference between a fad and a trend – indeed, this is critical to sustainable business profitability. Fads are short-term phenomena that rise quickly, take the world by storm and just as quickly fade into obscurity. In business, they have been known to create mercurial success and protean failure. Trends, on the other hand, are events that evolve into wider movements. The power of a trend can manifest itself in the attitudes, values and behaviours of its audience. Consequently it is trends, not fads, that industry leaders must focus on in order to map out strategies for their businesses. The lifecycle of a trend begins with a period of emergence – a period when a trend first makes a noticeable presence. Emergence is followed by a growth stage: a period of rapid evolution and market adoption. Following the growth stage, maturity arrives, when a trend achieves a highly developed stage of life – growth takes a back seat to the trend’s status as an important bellwether in its respective industry. Finally there’s decline, when a trend typically loses ground or possibly even becomes extinct.

Profile for Leisure Media

Health Club Management February 2017  

Health Club Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global health club, fitness and gym industry.

Health Club Management February 2017  

Health Club Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global health club, fitness and gym industry.