Les Mills Media felt the Covid -19 Situation early in January in China in the clubs they supported, and those they own in across the globe. Now consumer sentiment is way higher now in China than the west in early May and gyms are opening but Jean Michel Fournier believes that the feel is different because this is not a return to business as usual but the start of the creation of a new norm. Consumer behavior has clearly changed. People are craving connections through exercise and video conferencing has become more normal. Live streaming and a life environment drive a connection in ways we never thought about before Covid-19. The strangest end of this is the shortage of gym equipment you can now find online as people move fitness into the home wider and deeper than ever before.
The two products with the largest growth in sales have been bread machines followed by gym equipment with a 300 percent growth in a mere 10 weeks.
Here are the 5 change dynamics we have seen that will shape fitness in the next decade.
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– The facet of community has been added in as a variable to exercise with the video and live aspects of teaching adding significantly more than maybe we expected before. It had allowed us more than ever before to build a new channel to share emotions and feelings and having the chance to help others. The engine to drive a repeat or continuation of this process are now permanently stamped on our minds.
– Kids not exercising is a major concern as the pandemic continues. Getting close enough to parents to help them help their kids exercise means we need as an industry to be more engaged with the core customer. The shift may well come from parents having to work from home, every day with the kids there. It brings a stark reality to a new norm.
– Consumerization of the fitness club (a $100bn industry) is inevitable. This industry will need to follow the member into the anytime and anywhere model – At home and travel. This changes the core economics and service levels and more of a 24/7 engagement model. The pandemic has bought the idea of the club into the house on a wider basis than before, so the opportunities are much bigger than ever before to shift the relationship away from old world economics.
– Live streaming will have a longer tail as it will evolve around augmented reality. Millions at home will drive a faster adoptive model when it becomes more community based and personalized. What might have looked like a niche will become a large and definable future very quickly. We won’t forget what our lives were like exercising with Covid-19 at home.
– Mindset shift is needed around supporting the community to achieve personal goals. It is a more complex relationship around the objectives and process to get a better life at the end of the day.
Covid-19 has accelerated these trends more than we can ever think right now. This will be a big win for consumers – Anywhere – any time and be connected with the club at a deep and personal level.
Jean Michel Fournier is the CEO of Les Mills Media. It’s a global in on demand fitness hub with over 140,000 certified fitness instructors and 6 million active weekly users. He was the beach head advisor to the Secretary of Economic and Development and Commerce in France, the Co-founder and CEO of BitGym. He was a senior VP of technology, strategic partnerships and alliance at United Healthcare. He has an MBA from Harvard and an undergraduate degree from the French business and Finance school.