Insight
Now trending

From VR to personalisation, here’s what we can expect to see in wellness in the coming months, says Lauren McAlister


The Mindbody and ClassPass 2022 Mid-Year Wellness Trends Report has highlighted key trends for the sector, with wellness top of the agenda.

“Wellness is more important than ever, with the global pandemic having a profound impact on the way consumers view their health,” says Mindbody’s Josh McCarter.

“Around the globe, we’ve seen a drastic shift right in numerous areas, right down to their core motivations for practising wellness. Pre-pandemic, people worked out to control their weight and feel good, but now they’re motivated to keep moving to reduce stress and feel better mentally.

“This speaks volumes to the impact wellness experiences can have on mental health, and we’ll see this show up across the entire wellness industry in various ways as we move towards 2023.

“From consumers taking more in-person workouts to feel a sense of community, to expanded wellness routines with more variety, there is great opportunity for operators that recognise this shift.”

Trend #1: In-person experiences
Real life options roar back

The growing enthusiasm for in-person experiences presents significant growth opportunities for the industry.

Mindbody app users are increasingly opting to book in-person, with 82 per cent of users utilising the platform exclusively for in-person bookings and only 14 per cent seeking virtual offerings.

Even participation in on-demand fitness is leading to more in-person experiences in the US, with 35 per cent of Americans going to an in-person fitness class they discovered through on-demand channels.

In February 2022, the ClassPass platform saw the most reservations since February 2020, with users booking at 10 per cent higher rates than pre-pandemic.

In terms of market growth, as of December 2021, almost a third of Mindbody’s operator customers were planning to expand their business into more locations by December 2022.

Numbers for in-person attendances are breaking records / photo: shutterstock/CREATISTA
Trend #2: Gamification
The metaverse will expand
Gamifying workouts can make them feel easier and much more fun / photo: shutterstock/DisobeyArt

Immersive gamification of the fitness industry is underway, with the growing adoption of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and researchers at Technavio predict the market is on track to grow by more than US$125bn globally over the years 2020 to 2024.

Fitness brands such as TRIB3 are launching businesses in the metaverse, and 32 per cent of the Mindbody sample are excited about AI’s power to analyse personal data via apps and other technology to generate personalised suggestions.

Gymtimidation plays a factor for those who haven’t made their way back to the gym, with 55 per cent of non-members saying getting in better shape before joining a health club would make them feel less intimidated.

Many are using AR/VR to get in shape at home, as the gamification of exercise makes working out fun, easy and appealing, breaking down barriers and allowing people to up their fitness level at home before joining a gym or studio.

Emma Barry from Good Soul Hunting is excited about the future of AR/VR, saying: ‘It’s going to be the meeting place for all realities.”

Trend #3: Healthy company culture
How you treat your teams will be more important than ever
How staff are treated changes customer dynamics / photo: shutterstock/Rawpixel.com

Today’s employment market is unique and challenging to navigate. According to a recent study by Frandata and IFA, nearly 90 per cent of franchisees are having trouble finding skilled workers, unskilled workers, or both.

Another staggering figure – a recent McKinsey article claims 40 per cent of employees are likely to leave their current job in the next three to six months.

Why this significant transition? “During the pandemic, people had a really good look in the mirror, and they reprioritised,” says Emma Barry. “It’s not all about the dollar anymore. People want to know they matter.”

So, what can brands do to attract and retain high-quality talent in 2023? New research by B Authentic Inc shows flexibility and company culture will be increasingly important. When looking at potential new employers, 42 per cent said that wellness perks and benefits, such as corporate wellness programmes are an important part of their decision when making their final decision.

Additionally, 40 per cent said corporate wellness programmes motivate them to prioritise wellness more, which can help prevent burnout – something that’s all too common these days.

The reality is that the definition of wellness is changing and people experience wellness in different ways. By offering diverse, well-rounded programmes, 88 per cent of professionals say they’re more likely to recommend a workplace that supports their wellbeing.

Trend #4: Personalisation
Tailored experiences will be an expectation
Personalised interactions will be key in future / photo: shutterstock/NDAB Creativity

In 2023, personalisation will be increasingly important. According to a recent McKinsey report, over 70 per cent of consumers expect to have personalised interactions with brands they invest in and over three-quarters get frustrated when they don’t.

In the wellness industry, a personalised approach is even more important. A second McKinsey report shows consumers are increasingly willing to give their personal data to receive more personalised wellness treatments and services.

For wellness brands such as The Hydration Room, a personal approach is nothing new. “Personalisation has been the driving force behind our business strategy since day one,” says founder and CEO, Dr Brett Florie. “Our health and wellness are inherently individual. What will work for you might not always be the case for anyone else. With personalisation, you receive a much more engaged customer: one who visits weekly, is eager to try new services, and becomes a champion of your brand, both online and in-person.

“Of course, this all leads back to customer service – making sure you have dedicated employees who are willing to put in the time to educate your customers. That will always yield a reward,” he says.

Pilates core workout Solidcore says it will also continue to prioritise personalisation. “Personalisation to help clients achieve results is more than a business strategy — it is a business imperative,” says president and CEO, Bryan Myers.

Trend #5: A wider remit
Consumers will continue to seek more from their wellness experiences

Consumers are more focused on wellness than ever before and are expanding their definition of wellness to encompass a lot more than just being in shape. This is likely to be a lasting effect of the pandemic.

Americans say that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental (49 per cent) and physical health (40 per cent).

We found 86 per cent of Mindbody app consumers exercise three times a week or more. There is also a notable rise in those who are walking outdoors (up from 33 per cent in 2021 up to 71 per cent in 2022), this is likely to be at least partly thanks to the viral hot girl walk trend which started on TikTok in 2021. Weight training and yoga also continue to rank among the top three, with hiking and HIIT rounding out the top five.

There’s opportunity in the market for businesses that accommodate this consumer shift and offer all-around wellness experiences.

For Exos, providing an integrated approach to help clients achieve their goals is nothing new, but its leadership team recognises this shift happening in the industry. “A holistic approach to wellness is being adopted by many of the players in the market today, often starting in one domain of service and gradually expanding to the next,” says head of performance innovation, Emily Carlson-Phillips.

“Companies want to drive long-term engagement and impact, but the challenge is to ensure that new services and offerings don’t simply pile on top of each other, with more to do for the member. They must be thoughtfully integrated” she says. “Services, plans, and coaching should complement, not compete, with each other, all working together to move the member more efficiently toward the outcomes they’re striving for.”

There’s been a big rise in people walking outdoors in the US, due to the hot girl walking craze / photo: shutterstock/AM-STUDiO
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2022 issue 7

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Leisure Management - Now trending

Insight

Now trending


From VR to personalisation, here’s what we can expect to see in wellness in the coming months, says Lauren McAlister

More people are seeking a sense of community photo: shutterstock Ground/Picture

The Mindbody and ClassPass 2022 Mid-Year Wellness Trends Report has highlighted key trends for the sector, with wellness top of the agenda.

“Wellness is more important than ever, with the global pandemic having a profound impact on the way consumers view their health,” says Mindbody’s Josh McCarter.

“Around the globe, we’ve seen a drastic shift right in numerous areas, right down to their core motivations for practising wellness. Pre-pandemic, people worked out to control their weight and feel good, but now they’re motivated to keep moving to reduce stress and feel better mentally.

“This speaks volumes to the impact wellness experiences can have on mental health, and we’ll see this show up across the entire wellness industry in various ways as we move towards 2023.

“From consumers taking more in-person workouts to feel a sense of community, to expanded wellness routines with more variety, there is great opportunity for operators that recognise this shift.”

Trend #1: In-person experiences
Real life options roar back

The growing enthusiasm for in-person experiences presents significant growth opportunities for the industry.

Mindbody app users are increasingly opting to book in-person, with 82 per cent of users utilising the platform exclusively for in-person bookings and only 14 per cent seeking virtual offerings.

Even participation in on-demand fitness is leading to more in-person experiences in the US, with 35 per cent of Americans going to an in-person fitness class they discovered through on-demand channels.

In February 2022, the ClassPass platform saw the most reservations since February 2020, with users booking at 10 per cent higher rates than pre-pandemic.

In terms of market growth, as of December 2021, almost a third of Mindbody’s operator customers were planning to expand their business into more locations by December 2022.

Numbers for in-person attendances are breaking records / photo: shutterstock/CREATISTA
Trend #2: Gamification
The metaverse will expand
Gamifying workouts can make them feel easier and much more fun / photo: shutterstock/DisobeyArt

Immersive gamification of the fitness industry is underway, with the growing adoption of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and researchers at Technavio predict the market is on track to grow by more than US$125bn globally over the years 2020 to 2024.

Fitness brands such as TRIB3 are launching businesses in the metaverse, and 32 per cent of the Mindbody sample are excited about AI’s power to analyse personal data via apps and other technology to generate personalised suggestions.

Gymtimidation plays a factor for those who haven’t made their way back to the gym, with 55 per cent of non-members saying getting in better shape before joining a health club would make them feel less intimidated.

Many are using AR/VR to get in shape at home, as the gamification of exercise makes working out fun, easy and appealing, breaking down barriers and allowing people to up their fitness level at home before joining a gym or studio.

Emma Barry from Good Soul Hunting is excited about the future of AR/VR, saying: ‘It’s going to be the meeting place for all realities.”

Trend #3: Healthy company culture
How you treat your teams will be more important than ever
How staff are treated changes customer dynamics / photo: shutterstock/Rawpixel.com

Today’s employment market is unique and challenging to navigate. According to a recent study by Frandata and IFA, nearly 90 per cent of franchisees are having trouble finding skilled workers, unskilled workers, or both.

Another staggering figure – a recent McKinsey article claims 40 per cent of employees are likely to leave their current job in the next three to six months.

Why this significant transition? “During the pandemic, people had a really good look in the mirror, and they reprioritised,” says Emma Barry. “It’s not all about the dollar anymore. People want to know they matter.”

So, what can brands do to attract and retain high-quality talent in 2023? New research by B Authentic Inc shows flexibility and company culture will be increasingly important. When looking at potential new employers, 42 per cent said that wellness perks and benefits, such as corporate wellness programmes are an important part of their decision when making their final decision.

Additionally, 40 per cent said corporate wellness programmes motivate them to prioritise wellness more, which can help prevent burnout – something that’s all too common these days.

The reality is that the definition of wellness is changing and people experience wellness in different ways. By offering diverse, well-rounded programmes, 88 per cent of professionals say they’re more likely to recommend a workplace that supports their wellbeing.

Trend #4: Personalisation
Tailored experiences will be an expectation
Personalised interactions will be key in future / photo: shutterstock/NDAB Creativity

In 2023, personalisation will be increasingly important. According to a recent McKinsey report, over 70 per cent of consumers expect to have personalised interactions with brands they invest in and over three-quarters get frustrated when they don’t.

In the wellness industry, a personalised approach is even more important. A second McKinsey report shows consumers are increasingly willing to give their personal data to receive more personalised wellness treatments and services.

For wellness brands such as The Hydration Room, a personal approach is nothing new. “Personalisation has been the driving force behind our business strategy since day one,” says founder and CEO, Dr Brett Florie. “Our health and wellness are inherently individual. What will work for you might not always be the case for anyone else. With personalisation, you receive a much more engaged customer: one who visits weekly, is eager to try new services, and becomes a champion of your brand, both online and in-person.

“Of course, this all leads back to customer service – making sure you have dedicated employees who are willing to put in the time to educate your customers. That will always yield a reward,” he says.

Pilates core workout Solidcore says it will also continue to prioritise personalisation. “Personalisation to help clients achieve results is more than a business strategy — it is a business imperative,” says president and CEO, Bryan Myers.

Trend #5: A wider remit
Consumers will continue to seek more from their wellness experiences

Consumers are more focused on wellness than ever before and are expanding their definition of wellness to encompass a lot more than just being in shape. This is likely to be a lasting effect of the pandemic.

Americans say that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental (49 per cent) and physical health (40 per cent).

We found 86 per cent of Mindbody app consumers exercise three times a week or more. There is also a notable rise in those who are walking outdoors (up from 33 per cent in 2021 up to 71 per cent in 2022), this is likely to be at least partly thanks to the viral hot girl walk trend which started on TikTok in 2021. Weight training and yoga also continue to rank among the top three, with hiking and HIIT rounding out the top five.

There’s opportunity in the market for businesses that accommodate this consumer shift and offer all-around wellness experiences.

For Exos, providing an integrated approach to help clients achieve their goals is nothing new, but its leadership team recognises this shift happening in the industry. “A holistic approach to wellness is being adopted by many of the players in the market today, often starting in one domain of service and gradually expanding to the next,” says head of performance innovation, Emily Carlson-Phillips.

“Companies want to drive long-term engagement and impact, but the challenge is to ensure that new services and offerings don’t simply pile on top of each other, with more to do for the member. They must be thoughtfully integrated” she says. “Services, plans, and coaching should complement, not compete, with each other, all working together to move the member more efficiently toward the outcomes they’re striving for.”

There’s been a big rise in people walking outdoors in the US, due to the hot girl walking craze / photo: shutterstock/AM-STUDiO

Originally published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 7

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