Often, sports, fitness and gym franchises can offer their customers a better experience and increase their sales if they incorporate the latest technology into their business. But what are the trends taking the industry by storm at the moment? Let’s learn more…
Technology is evolving all the time, and it has the power to transform the way businesses across the world operate. The sports and fitness industry in particular can make use of new gadgets and equipment, as business owners and customers alike enjoy shaking up their workout routines. The latest technology can help users track their progress, boost their productivity and, ultimately, increase their fitness.
In the UK, there are more than 7,200 gyms and one in every seven people have a membership card. The fitness industry is worth more than £5 billion worldwide, so there’s a huge market to tap into if you’re interested in launching your own gym or workout centre. Here, we take a look at the technology revolutionising the sector and how you can incorporate it into your business model to boost your revenue.
>> Read more:
7 tech trends innovating sports, fitness and gym franchises
1. Smart fitness equipment
Before we delve into any of the more intricate technological advances breaking onto the fitness scene, let’s look at smart fitness equipment. Over the years, workout machines been adapted and improved. From the Lifecycle stationary bikes sold for $4,000 in 1968 to the comparatively high-tech equipment we see in gyms across the world today, the evolution of fitness equipment has been substantial.
Now, workout machines can monitor, analyse and store information about the user’s exercise session to help them track their progress and improve over time. Often, you can connect them to the Wi-Fi and transfer their data to other devices. They can even let business owners know if they’re faulty or need maintenance work.
By incorporating smart fitness equipment into your gym franchise, you can give members another reason to use your business. Just remember, machines with multiple functions and complicated controls can be off-putting for new gymgoers, so you should make sure there are ‘how to use…’ posters or manuals dotted around. You could even run special workshops to teach new users how to get the most out of the equipment on offer.
2. Wearable fitness devices
If you don’t have a fitness tracker yourself, you’ve probably seen others sporting them. They’ve been used by businesses, medical organisations and the military for years, but now we all seem to be trying them out. Wearable fitness devices can track everything from your heart rate to your sleep quality, so they offer businesses a fantastic opportunity. Many gyms now give their members the chance to wear a tracker in order to keep a closer eye on their progress.
Almost 70 million smart watches were sold in 2019, generating just under £2 billion in global revenue. This is an impressive statistic, but researchers believe the popularity of wearable devices will grow even more in the coming years. In 2016, 526 million were connected, but it’s thought more than a billion will have entered the market by 2022.
3. Smart clothing
Smart clothing takes wearable fitness devices one step further. Fitness fanatics no longer have to wear a watch if they want to monitor their workouts; clothing with integrated sensors can do the job for you. Researchers expect the smart clothing market to be worth billions of dollars in the future, overtaking the revenue of fitness devices.
Wearable X is just one example of a company investing in smart apparel. Its Nadi X yoga pants have built-in sensors to analyse your posture and then improve it by sending vibrations through the fabric.
Of course, it may be a while until a smart clothing company is successful enough to launch a franchise model, but you should bear this tech trend in mind as you run your fitness business. You never know, there might be a way you too can capitalise on this advancement. For example, you may be able to establish a partnership deal to sell certain items of smart clothing.
4. Online exercise classes
This is a controversial one, but if you have the right tools, you can capitalise on this growing tech trend. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have time to make a special trip to the gym every time we want to do a workout. But new technology has made it possible to complete an exercise session in the comfort of your own home.
This could be bad news for traditional fitness centres, but if you take the initiative and start running online workouts as part of your gym franchise, you can make sure you keep existing customers and attract new ones. Once you’ve started your online sessions, you can widen your offering to include different types of workouts and techniques to suit a broad range of fitness fanatics.
Consumers are more engaged than ever in their healthcare, fitness and wellness. – PWC
5. Virtual reality
It’s the phrase on everyone’s lips, and it’s set to be a huge trend in the coming years. VR can be used for a huge range of different activities, from visualising a room’s new interior design to taking part in an immersive videogame. But it can also be put to great use in a sports or fitness franchise.
In 2018, researchers at the University of Kent made a fascinating discovery:
Using virtual reality (VR) headsets while exercising can reduce pain and increase how long someone can sustain an activity.
What’s more, those who were using VR were able to keep exercising for an extra two minutes before becoming too tired to continue – and their heart rate was three beats per minute lower than those without VR. So, by offering VR headsets at your fitness facility, you can help customers achieve their workout goals sooner.
6. Information tablets
Finally, sports, fitness and gym franchises can help out their members by installing tablets. Customers can then use them for a number of services without queuing up to talk to a member of staff. Businesses that make use of tablets can give people the chance to register as a member, book classes and find out more exercise information.
Installing tablets is a great way to reduce the strain on your workforce, as they’re usually fairly user-friendly and most people know how to find the services they want. As a result, most businesses find they benefit from placing two or three around their premises.
>> Read more:
- Top Fitness Franchises in the UK
- 5 Advantages of Running a Sports, Fitness or Gym Franchise
- The Best Around-The-Clock Fitness Franchises in the UK
- How to start an outdoor fitness business
- Planet Fitness - Can you start a franchise in the UK?
- Sector Spotlight: The CEOs Whipping the Sports, Fitness, and Gym Industry Into Tip-Top Shape
- 6 Tips for Building a Business Plan for a Successful Sports, Fitness, or Gym Franchise
Take advantage of tech trends today
As you can see, new technology is emerging all the time, and much of it can be applied to fitness franchises. If you’re interested to find out what trends outside of technology are affecting businesses in the sector, take a look at our article: Top 7 Sports and Fitness Trends Of 2020.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©