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INDUSTRY INSIGHTS


On Trend T


HENRY MASON, GLOBAL HEAD OF RESEARCH & MANAGING PARTNER, TRENDWATCHING.COM Key consumer trends for the fitness sector to run with in 2014


he relentless pace of innovation and explosion of choice means consumer needs and


expectations are constantly evolving, if not being wholly overturned. One certainty: health and fi tness operators need to be aware of how changes in other sectors will challenge industry conventions and create opportunities for those who are alert and ready to respond to change.


Here are a handful of fresh, actionable


trends on our radar that are simply begging to be applied by health clubs. The trends are in no particular order


and, to keep things interesting, we haven’t included the bigger, macro trends (healthy living, ageing, mobile etc) that we’re sure are already fi rmly on your radar.


Honest fl exibility Despite clear and consistent evidence that consumers crave brands and business that are more human – love and attention is lavished on brands that ‘get it’ – in 2014 too many brands will continue to fall on the wrong side of this epic shift. Indeed, when asked about ‘meaningful brands’, most people say they wouldn’t care if 73 per cent of brands ceased to exist. Rather than waiting for your product


or service limitations to be called out, do you understand what frustrates your customers, and are you then bold enough to confront these issues publicly, fi rst, in a mature and fair way? For example, online dress rental


Rent the Runway measures members to ensure future online rentals will fi t


28 Health Club Handbook 2014


site Rent the Runway set up a physical showroom on New York’s Fifth Avenue where members could rent a dress instantly, but also go to get measured


to ensure future online rentals were the correct size. Meanwhile, the Art Series Hotel Group in Melbourne, Australia, launched an initiative that allowed guests to ‘overstay’ in their room for free if the room wasn’t needed by another customer. What creative solutions to customer pain points could your club launch?


Internet of caring things The Internet of Things – the idea that soon objects, not just personal devices, will be connected – will be one of the big ideas of 2014. From a consumer point of view, expect to see innovations that are centred around the Internet of Caring Things receive a warm welcome. What does that mean? Well, start


thinking not just ‘connection’, but objects that protect, monitor, inform and improve consumers’ lives and activities. Examples include Ford’s new concept car seat, which contains an ECG heart rate monitor and can help with mid-journey driver heart attacks and subsequent accidents. An onboard glucose level monitoring system alerts drivers of critical blood sugar levels. Or Riddell’s ‘InSite Impact Response System’ American Football helmet, which contains sensors that send alerts to a coach’s mobile phone after


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