Young wellness enthusiasts are spending $12.6 billion on fitness annually, so tech-forward companies are creating innovative new ways for them to bring workouts into their own homes—for a price…
In our recent Wellness Intensified, young consumers reported spending an estimated total of $158 billion on improving their overall wellness in the past twelve months—$12.6 billion on fitness specifically. Of course, Gen Z & Millennials have been passionate about fitness for years. In 2014, our Fit Gone Glam report tracked the rise of the idea that fit is the new pretty, the popularity of athleisure, fitness queens’ take-over of Instagram with hashtags like #fitspo and #belfie, and exercise plans gaining cult status. Since then, the wellness movement has emerged as a full-on culture with the fitness frenzy reaching a fever pitch. Gyms are becoming full-service lifestyle brands and boutique fitness is booming, as young consumers turn out their pockets to sign up for spin studios and boxing classes with devoted followings.
But IRL workout experiences can’t cater to all of Gen Z & Millennials’ fitness preferences. Of the 77% of 13-35-year-olds who told us in our Health & Fitness survey that they engage in fitness activities regularly, 32% said they’d rather work out at home than at a gym, in a class, outside playing a sport, or anywhere else. So, following in the path paved by FitBit and ClassPass (who proved young wellness enthusiasts’ willingness to add tech to their routines), the next wave of fitness is taking at-home workouts to the next level with virtual reality, streaming, and more. Below are three companies, from apps to expensive devices, that are bringing fitness into the future for stay-at-home exercise junkies:
At-home fitness classes are getting the high-tech treatment with Mirror: a full-length LCD display that simulates the experience of being in a workout class. The $1500 system (plus a monthly fee for classes) looks like a regular mirror, but places you into a live, interactive class via microphones, cameras, and speakers that you control in their app. Basically, “it’s a gateway to a virtual gym,” writes VentureBeat. Celebrities have been early adopters of the device, and they’re spreading the word; for instance, Alicia Key’s Instagram post about getting Mirror as a gift has over 630K views. And Mirror has its sights set on much more; the founder tells The New York Times that they plan to expand to cycling, treadmills, personal trainers, and eventually to become a “third screen.” Users can already shop through the device but one day they could chat, organize photos, and more.
This cult favorite fitness experience is putting a digital spin on cycling classes (and now other workouts, like yoga or running), making them more than just “SoulCycle 2.0.” Adweek calls the spin studio “a microcultural phenomenon” for tapping into young consumers’ passion for fitness through livestreamed and recorded spin classes, where instructors interact with riders at home while teaching an in-person class. (IRL students also get screen time, thanks to several cameras zooming around the room.) But Peloton fans aren’t just connecting during rides via mics and cams, they are keeping their community intact between workouts. The main Facebook page alone has over 363,089 members and smaller pages let riders connect over anything from which instructor they take to where they live.
While many at-home fitness enthusiasts are priced out of workout routines like Mirror’s and Peloton’s (whose expensive bikes and unrealistic ads have been playfully mocked by some), Obé is bringing boutique fitness to young wellness enthusiasts’ living rooms as part of a low-priced subscription service. Fast Company reports that six in ten of Obé’s members are 25-44-year-old females who tune in for live workouts like yoga and dancing. The classes are shot in a room that reminds many of Drake’s viral Hotline Bling video: minimalist and flooded with LED light that adjusts in tune to the workout’s rhythm. The high-design look paired with instructors’ co-branded apparel from cult favorites like Outdoor Voices makes for a social media-friendly aesthetic. Members can sign up for classes in the app (and get live shout outs during their workouts) and engage outside classes via the 2,500 member-strong Obé Fam Facebook group.
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