Fitness Trends 2023: What Can You Expect?
Despite post-pandemic recovery and economic uncertainty, 2022 was another big year for the fitness industry.
With more people returning to in-person fitness, reports suggest that 69% of boutique studios are back to earning at least 75% of their 2019 revenues.
As more people prioritize their health and the industry adapts with the trends, digital fitness, wearable technology, and hybrid businesses are now part of a winning recipe. It’s no wonder why the boutique fitness industry is expected to grow 450% by 2028.
So, what can we expect for the upcoming year? Several reports from 2022 offer us insight into fitness trends for 2023. In this forecast, we examine what you need to know as we move into the new year.
In-person classes continue to grow
During the height of the pandemic, gyms and fitness clubs were forced to close their doors.
As a result of the COVID-19 shutdowns, many fitness professionals began exploring online classes as a digital solution while in-person classes were prohibited. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) reports that online and on-demand fitness classes topped the list as the #1 fitness trend in 2021.
Virtual fitness isn’t going anywhere. But, it may serve as a feeder for your in-person studio as clients have become eager to return. Recent trend research from Les Mills reveals that 85% of gymgoers are interested in trying live, in-person classes at their respective facilities. As for in-person class occupancy, attendance has reached 120% compared to pre-COVID levels.
The key change to note with in-person classes is that many clients now expect a hybrid approach to be available. Many clients are even using online classes as an introduction to in-person classes, with 35% of American clients visiting in-person facilities they discovered through virtual fitness.
As such, fitness businesses must place equal emphasis on in-person and digital accessibility.
Wearables gamification and the VR metaverse will expand
The top ACSM fitness trend for 2022 was wearable technology.
According to the ACSM, wearable technology is estimated to be a $100 billion industry, with many of the products focused on helping clients track health data. Some of the top wearable tech products include fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS-tracking devices. These devices can track many key data points like body measurements and workout intensity.
A Pew Research report from 2020 reveals that around one-in-five Americans use a smartwatch or fitness tracker. These numbers have likely increased even more since 2020, as more Americans invested in wearable fitness technology during the pandemic.
Heading into 2023, wearables will continue to be a top trend among fitness clients.
Not only can these wearables improve client results via fitness data tracking, but they also add a level of gamification. This continues to be among the fitness trends for 2023 for attracting younger generations, as 86% of Gen Z’ers state that they expect more entertainment value from their fitness providers.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are also beginning to play a more vital role in fitness.
The AR and VR product and service market is expected to reach $80.6 billion by 2029, growing 31.7% annually. While fitness is one of the main industries driving this growth, this technology is also highly utilized by the healthcare and medical industry.
Let’s take a look at some of the top use cases for gamification, AR, and VR in fitness:
- Gamification/fitness tracking platforms. Gamification platforms that feature tracking technology are rising in popularity. For example, brands like Spivi and AccuroFit offer products and interactive tools that track members workouts and display key metrics on a screen. Monitor your clients’ heart rate, calories burned, blood pressure, body fat percentage, and more, to help them hit their fitness goals. Incorporate challenges and leaderboards to further motivate your members.
- Virtual training gear. From a VR and AR perspective, some of the top use cases in the fitness industry include equipment that combines training with gaming. For instance, the brand ICAROS offers equipment that can connect to VR headsets, placing the client in a magical setting while they complete their workout.
Personalization will be expected by clients
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of digital solutions across all industries.
One of the key advantages that rose from this increased reliance on technology was the ability to personalize products and services to the exact wants and needs of clients.
According to a 2021 McKinsey & Company report, 70% of consumers now expect personalized interactions with brands. A further 75% experience frustration when they do not receive any sort of personalized services from a company.
Additional research from Zendesk reveals that 76% of clients expect tailored and personalized experiences based on their personal data.
This ultimately ties back to the earlier trends we discussed, such as wearable technology and gamification platforms. With the help of these digital solutions, fitness professionals can gain more in-depth insights into their clients’ fitness levels and performance. This data can then be leveraged to personalize fitness experiences.
Here are three ways fitness businesses can utilize technology to personalize client experiences:
- Leveraging AI algorithms. Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can be integrated into your business software to help manage client experiences. With AI you can quickly suggest classes and services to clients that meet their goals, preferences, budget, and more.
- Tracking client data. Tracking client data is the name of the game when it comes to personalization. With a strong data tracking and analysis system in place—including the ability for clients to self-report their data—fitness professionals can provide more specific services that are designed to meet the client’s current fitness needs.
- Providing additional resources. Once you have the data and insight needed to personalize your services, you can tailor your resources to the needs of your clients. For example, using data on a client’s current goals and fitness levels, you can create a workout guide and nutrition plan that is made for their exact schedule and preferences.
Music and playlists are essential to client success
Music can be a huge motivator for fitness clients. And, so music and playlists make our list of fitness trends for 2023.
Research from 2021 reveals that 65% of clients believe their performance is worse when they lack access to the workout music they prefer. As a result, it is crucial to not only play music for your clients but to also allow your clients to have a say in the type of music you play.
Offering personalized music to clients comes down to including their preferred tunes in classes. You can also feature their specific song requests in your playlists.
One great platform for this Strut Club — an app that facilitates music-inspired group classes.
With this app, workout cues are synced with songs and playlists to keep your clients motivated and in the moment. Strut Club aims to help fitness professionals maximize their services within a flexible and collaborative framework that incorporates client preferences.
Strut Club founder Amira Polack states that her goal is to:
“Support those who are mission-driven and interested in making an impact. [The app] improved trust and engagement because people loved interacting with other folks, ideas, and content. We saw community members reaching out to each other, finding connections, and promoting each other. Our instructors felt like we were agile and keen to support them.”
Fitness company culture becomes increasingly important
Your fitness company culture is more important than ever—for your clients and staff alike.
Nearly 90% of franchises report that finding skilled workers is a major challenge. Meanwhile, according to McKinsey & Company, 40% of a business’s employees are likely to leave their job within three to six months.
On the topic of employee expectations, McKinsey further states:
“The role of the company in people’s lives has changed. It’s now about thinking how to be the place people want to work versus have to work, and a big part of that is creating a culture of learning and adaptability so people have the skills required to perform their jobs within the company—and for when they leave.”
The pandemic jump-started a change in thinking for employees. Though money always matters for getting the bills paid, more and more people are re-shifting their priorities to focus on community, opportunities for professional growth, and professional flexibility.
How do you create a better company culture?
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to build a healthy workplace culture that emphasizes the well-being of your staff. After all, your staff members are often directly connected to your clients, making the two fairly inseparable when it comes to both client and employee retention. Here are three ways to enhance your company culture for the better:
- Amplify the interview process. An employee’s first impression of your company starts with the interview. In this interview, make sure to ask questions about the employee. This includes what they look for in a workplace and what motivates them to succeed professionally. This shows them right off the bat that you care about supporting them, both professionally and personally.
- Training and support. Nothing goes further than a great training and support system. Remember that workers are looking for opportunities to learn and grow professionally. By ensuring these opportunities are abundant, you can empower your staff and keep them locked in long-term with your brand.
- Corporate wellness programs. As a fitness business, you have a unique opportunity to build corporate wellness programs for the benefit of your staff. Roughly 42% of job applicants look for employers that offer wellness perks and benefits, with these offerings being a major factor when making a final decision on where to work.
The future of fitness shines bright in 2023!
Staying ahead of trends is the key to finding success in the fitness industry in 2023 and beyond. The fitness industry as a whole is poised for growth in 2023. Driving this growth is digital solutions and tools that help personalize client experiences.
To stay on top of fitness trends, you need a flexible and adaptable software solution. WellnessLiving’s all-in-one business management software has everything you need to prepare for the upcoming year. With our software, you can manage your schedule, streamline your booking, track client progress, and so much more.
Take your fitness business to the next level in 2023 with WellnessLiving! To get started, book a free, no-commitment demo today.