Deep Dive: Subscriptions To Make Digital Fitness Less Of A Workout

Connected devices are giving fitness buffs access to health data on a regular basis, fueling a market that’s projected to be worth $27.4 billion by 2022. The following Deep Dive explores how fitness subscription services are offering consumers more flexible options to pursue healthy lifestyles.

The growing digital fitness market indicates that wearable fitness devices, like smartwatches and fitness bands, are becoming more than just a fad. Recent data found that 40 million fitness trackers were sold in 2017, and 71 million smartwatches shipped this year. Based on current trends, the market is projected to reach $27.4 billion by 2022 — a sign that consumers are fully embracing the 24/7 insight into their personal health.

Customers searching for more flexibility in the services they use might find that subscriptions can connect them to a healthy lifestyle. Consumers are already turning to subscriptions for several daily needs, from food to medicine to clothing, and connected devices like smartphones and smartwatches could provide an opening for subscriptions to occupy large facets of consumer health activities.

Millennials, in particular, have embraced the digital fitness trend, using sports and health apps more than other age groups. Fifty-four percent of all millennials are likely to buy a body-scanning device, while 46 percent want access to quantifiable data about their health activities. This is especially true of millennial women, who are twice as likely to use fitness apps as millennial men.

These insights indicate that consumers are more focused on creating healthy lifestyles based on access to knowledge and a deeper understanding of their health. In this Deep Dive, PYMNTS explores the growing fitness apps and services market, and how subscription models are changing the way consumers use technology to address their health and fitness needs.

Fitness Apps And The Subscription Model

For many consumers, the old-school ways of working out can be unappealing. The prospects of going on a solitary run or performing a solo exercise routine can seem boring enough to sap the desire to stay healthy. Sixty percent of customers said they prefer to work out with a friend to make sure they stay motivated.

Despite this desire for social interaction, going to a gym or paying for a traditional gym membership received a lukewarm response from customers in a recent survey. The survey found 37 percent of consumers reported feeling intimidated in a gym environment, and that 29 percent would be happy to pay for fitness services that did not require setting foot inside a gym.

As consumer interest in gyms decline, the level of interest in services like ClassPass or  both online, mobile services that offer fitness classes and health services for a nominal subscription fee  is well-positioned to grow.

Businesses are responding to the shifting consumer attitudes on fitness services, with several companies offering cloud-based software solutions that give consumers greater online access, and the ability to view and interact with health products from anywhere using their smartphones. This also makes subscriptions more attractive for both customers and companies, as ease of access is just one part of what makes consumers happy. The other, especially when it comes to fitness, is the product’s flexibility.

By utilizing the ever-expanding number of fitness bands, watches, monitors and mobile apps available in this area, consumers are more able than ever to find a health or fitness subscription that works for them, without the features they find unappealing.

Subscription services like Localfit, which caters to business travelers who want to work out in the midst of a busy schedule, are also carving out their own niches in the fitness industry. Approximately 462 million business trips were taken over the last year, making this a big market to capture, as company Founder Rob Gilliam explained during a recent interview with PYMNTS.

As more companies make use of the subscription model, customers will be able find fitness classes, workout programs, personal trainers and even nutritional regimes online through their digital devices, which offer customers a more flexible way to approach fitness. Moreover, 72 percent of consumers said they like the benefits of being able to take a fitness class whenever they want, outside the constraints of traditional gym memberships or hours.

As consumers continue to adopt a wider array of digital devices, subscriptions also have the potential to make it easier for customers to track their health in the ways they want, such as providing one platform for all their personal information with a few taps on their smartphone.

Growing customer reliance on smartphones and other online-enabled devices, paired with the evolving fitness subscription trend, could lead to substantial market growth in the future. The global fitness industry is already growing at an annual rate of 2.6 percent, giving it the opportunity to ensure that more consumers can experience faster access to affordable information on their personal health and fitness.

Consumers who are interested in pursuing healthier living through fitness need to stay motivated to stick to their routines, and subscription-based fitness services could make pursuing these routines less of a workout.