2021 Global Report reveals key trends for the new fitness landscape

The Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report – featuring insights from 12,157 consumers across five continents – has revealed key numbers, insights and recommendations industry operators meet the needs of current and potential members, both now and in the future.

Three key trends identified in the report cover:

1. Quality comes first 
In an industry as notoriously trend-driven as fitness, HIIT (high intensity interval training) is proving the exception to rule. Having dominated most of the last decade, HIIT is hotter than ever, with 32% of consumers listing it as their favourite class format. 

However, it’s not just HIIT fans who are loyal – 58% of members say they would likely cancel their membership if their gym took away their favourite class, regardless of the genre. 

Participants are also highly discerning, with 86% choosing to do branded classes, and 62% stating the presence of quality elements (the quality of music, instructors, equipment, choreography) are key to deciding which classes they attend. 

In a world of endless quantity, it’s never been more vital to focus on quality, particularly from a digital perspective. With YouTube chock-full of free, average fitness content, clubs need to ensure they’re providing world-class content to keep members engaged and willing to pay. 

2. Beginners break out 
Lockdown has also spawned a new generation of fitness fans who have taken tentative first steps into fitness and are now deciding what comes next, with 27% of regular exercisers describing themselves as ‘absolute beginners’. But who are these new market entrants? And what do they want from a fitness experience? 

Opportunities abound for operators who can appeal to these groups and understand the unique barriers to exercise they face. Although 81% of beginners are interested in group activities, 66% say they currently prefer to exercise alone, suggesting a confidence chasm that needs to be bridged before beginners feel fully comfortable. 

Instructors and wider staff have a key role to play in ensuring they feel welcome, while helping beginners find intrinsic motivation to exercise will be key to their long-term adherence. 

3. Total fitness transcendence 
As home working becomes more prevalent and the boundaries between work and play are blurred, so too are the distinctions around the provision of fitness services, creating significant opportunities for clubs. 

Employers are increasingly coming to recognise the benefits of an active workforce (and their responsibility to support this), while employees are gravitating towards companies that care, so the offer of quality fitness services is becoming a key differentiator. 

The impact that wellness offerings can have on both work performance and employee health is also accelerating their prevalence, creating lucrative opportunities for omni-channel fitness providers to proffer their services and reach lucrative new audiences. 

For clubs, the ability to demonstrate the scientifically proven impact of your workouts will place you in the box seat for winning in the workplace wellness market, where Return on Investment (RoI) carries great weight among decision-makers. 

Click here to access the full report.

Image courtesy of Les Mills.

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