Ah another day, another question. The hot topic of the day is “How will new forms of consuming benefit the fitness industry?”.
So before we begin, the fitness industry has kept consumers on their toes for the last two decades with new equipment, fitness clothing apparel and many other features. This in return has lead to an increase in consumer consumption but that’s not all. New forms of consuming has taken the fitness industry by storm. Before I begin to take a further look into the new forms of consuming in the fitness industry, finding the appropriate definition would be necessary. When defining new forms of consuming, Petersen- Wagner argued in 2017 that within the last fifteen years a new social phenomenon has emerged, this is called “Social Media’. Many other digital media platforms have potentially effected the globalisation for consumers, but also they can consume their favourite sport/fitness trend in different ways compared to the pre-social media world (Petersen-Wagner 2017).
As of right now, the fitness industry has been surviving and dependent of the combination of Digital fitness products and also online classes. The global pandemic has increased the massive surge for the digital fitness market, where the popularity has been very apparent for some time. However, with the outbreak of Covid-19, consumers are heavily dependent on technology to provide new forms of consuming fitness workouts plans and nutrition but also access to myriad of brand products and services. This makes the argument for new forms of consuming really interesting because with the traditional revenue streams from gyms and fitness facilities becoming obsolete due to the non-essential business closures, gyms and fitness facilities are challenged to stay relevant with their consumers.
Throughout the Covid outbreak, the digital world has become a dominant feature due to its dematerialisations of commodities through the process of consumption and productions for consumers as the digital world has transformed the consumers way of thinking (Gabriel and Lang, 2015). In March 2020, MindBody stated that the consumers are now enable to show up and experience a online workout from comfort of their home, but with this new consumption of online class/fitness streaming, consumers don’t feel judged or embarrassed or they have to look a certain way in a class but live-streaming gives them access to new workouts they wanted to try but didn’t feel confident or comfortable in joining. Following up from Gabriel and Lang’s theory in 2015 theory, consumers now have more forms of consumption because the digital world has virtualised and drawn up a variety of virtual fitness workouts to online coaching as the Baurdrillard prophesied, where it can seem more real than reality.
With that being said, Technology development in fitness keeps growing and consumers are driving that growth with fitness apps that are widely being used by consumers whilst at the gym or in outdoor workout and fitness settings. In 2015, Gregory suggested that the consumers interaction has changed with digital technologies because consumers feel the need to interact with companies or in this case the fitness companies on a 24/7 basis. For example, Gregory argued in 2015 that companies such as Peloton provide flexibility for the consumers so they can find new and different ways of consuming but also use technology for their personal benefits . Fitness Organisations no longer retain control of the information that is being controlled and pushed by consumers through marketing channels because the consumers are now able to create, propagate and amplify the content about the organisations through consumer reviews and the consumers perceptions of an organisation and its offerings (Gregory, 2015).
The fact that consumers now have now shown an interest in new fitness technology which is coupled by the continuous desire for gyms has clearly showed that the consumers want to manage their own fitness. Whether gyms or fitness studios can maintain the desire for new technology will remain to been seen and will also determine the success in the future.