Wearable technology may be this year’s top fitness trend, but market trends show some competition on the 2019 horizon in the form of virtual fitness classes. What’s different about these classes is that, instead of the leggings-clad home workout videos of the ‘80s, these classes are interactive and the selection is virtually limitless. It’s a market that’s expected to garner $2.6 billion by 2022, and these are some of the top virtual performers.
Mirror is an actual mirror with an integrated webcam and wifi capability. It connects with wearables to provide real-time biometric feedback while also allowing the user to watch themselves and a trainer on the device simultaneously. Mirror is a significant investment at almost $1,500 and requires a monthly subscription for streaming classes, an additional $39. Live personal training sessions are $40.
This is the Jane Fonda of virtual workouts, but better. Wellbeats offers user and facility subscriptions to its 22 channels of streaming, on-demand workouts. While there’s no human interaction with Wellbeats, there is an app that provides progressive workout plans based on a user’s fitness assessment.
Suddenly a household name, Peloton made waves (and lots of money) with its 2014 release, a bike with integrated video streaming. Its new release, the Tread, is marketed as a piece of HIIT equipment and has a hefty price tag of more than $4,000 with delivery. It’s a large piece of equipment, but Peloton’s success in the market thus far is proof that at-home workouts have staying power.
Keeping fitness centers relevant in a changing market
Fitness centers need not resort to hand-wringing when it comes to these virtual fitness options. It’s simple enough to provide streaming services as a benefit of membership and at in-house kiosks while offering value through boutique-style customer service. Provide your members what they want by asking them what they’ll use and what issues they’re facing. If classes are too crowded, it may be time to add more programming to address that before members turn to at-home workouts as a replacement for fitness center membership.
Think of virtual fitness options not as a competitor, but as another technological advance that can help you differentiate your fitness center and expand offerings at minimal cost.