The Business of Fitness in 2017

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Zoom Active Lifestyle Marketing shares statements from industry leaders about the rising interest in fitness, and the effects it has on their businesses.

By early March, most New Year’s resolutions are a thing of the past. But in 2017, the rising interest in fitness appears to have endured. Across all sections of society, people continue to devote themselves to active, healthy lifestyles. And this trend shows no signs of declining. Fitness has dominated every aspect of life, from fashion and social media to technology and public policy.

Zoom Active Lifestyle Marketing, the exclusive ad, entertainment and fitness content provider for North America’s leading health clubs, spoke to leaders from various industries about their predictions for 2017 and the outlook for this new active generation.

Athleisure is here to stay.

Micaela Erlanger is a fashion stylist based out of New York and Los Angeles. She works with international talent such as Lupita Nyong’o, Jared Leto, Meryl Streep and Common. Her work appears on red carpets and in fashion publications all over the globe. Erlanger told Zoom: “I have seen the effects of the Generation Active movement in the world of high fashion and celebrity styling. Fitness has officially infiltrated fashion! My clients want pieces that work with their active lifestyles, and the trends from the red carpet to the runways to the magazines have reflected that.”

According to Erlanger, even the high-end designers are “lending their upscale visions to activewear brands.”

“Fashion and function can co-exist, and the athleisure trend has brought that concept to the masses,” she continued. “Because of this appeal, I don’t see it going away anytime soon.”

Fitness in 2017 is all about intuitive movement.

Whitney English, the entertainment reporter turned healthy living blogger who edits and publishes the blog “To Live & Diet in L.A.,” says that people are no longer laboriously working out to shed a few pounds, but are instead doing so because they enjoy active lifestyles.

“An emerging trend in the fitness industry – that I am thrilled about – is the idea of intuitive movement. People are not exercising just to lose weight or bulk up; they’re exercising because of how it makes them feel,” she said. “The more people that start to move in ways that move them, the more we’ll see the Generation Active movement grow.”

Mass appeal will continue to increase.

Nikki Metzger, owner of Bodi gym in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Women’s Health Magazine’s Next Fitness Star in 2015, says that the health and fitness industry is only going to continue to grow. “I don’t think it’s just growing, but it’s also moving in a very positive direction,” she said. “I think the best part is that we are making fitness accessible to everyone!”

Metzger notes that there are so many options in 2017 to improve health and fitness: health clubs, apps, online workouts and all different genres of fitness, like boot camps, Zumba and Pilates. She says her own gym has seen membership double since last year, and she is in the process of opening a larger location to accommodate growing demand.

The gym is in.

Metzger’s fitness center is not the only gym to see an increase in membership. The number of people who have health club memberships continues to steadily grow worldwide. As of 2015, over 55.3 million Americans have memberships, joining the 151 million people around the world, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, the trade association serving the global health club and fitness industry.

In the third quarter of 2016, Planet Fitness, one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the U.S., reported a $19 million revenue growth compared to Q3 last year. Planet Fitness also saw membership rise from 7.1 million to 8.7 million in that same time frame. To accommodate their swelling membership base, Planet Fitness opened 195 health clubs in the United States in 2016.

Tech will continue to prevail.

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) says that health club operators like Planet Fitness, LA Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness are constantly searching for ways to expand their business’ horizons. According to the IHRSA, health clubs are beginning to incorporate new digital platforms and products, such as wearable devices, tracking programs and gamification strategies, into their program offerings.

This trend has been evident for some time. The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) prominently featured new tech that will revolutionize the active lifestyle space. CES debuted an entire exhibit dedicated to fitness and technology. The Fitness & Technology Marketplace featured the latest innovations across the digital fitness category. Based on reports from the show, wearable technology will continue to facilitate people’s workouts and consumption habits.

Zoom itself will soon announce a partnership with a major cardio equipment manufacturer. A new software generated by Zoom, paired with bigger and better screens that cardio equipment manufacturers are including with their machines, will enrich the members’ workout experience. Members will now have access to more entertainment, including streaming video content.

Generation Active will continue to absorb the population.

Zoom has its own predictions:

“After observing both the membership growth of our health club partners and the number of brands wanting to reach an ‘active lifestyle consumer,’ we decided to take a closer look at the consumers driving this movement,” stated Anne Fiedel, director of marketing at Zoom. “What we found is a consumer group of more than 100 million people who are working out more than 2 times per week. This audience cannot be confined by traditional demographics like age and gender; it is instead defined by what they do, and the experiences they share. We call this Generation Active.”

Zoom will be releasing a detailed study involving 2,500 consumers who emphasize exercise and health in their daily lives. “We expect to uncover some very interesting information about why these people are active and what motivates and resonates with them,” said Tony Healy, senior director of research at Zoom.

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