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ISPO identifies health orientation as key fitness trend in post Coronavirus-world

ISPO identifies health orientation as key fitness trend in post Coronavirus-world
August 14, 2020

German-based trade show organiser ISPO sees that in the post-Coronavirus world, the fitness industry will need to deliver health orientation, holistic offers and specialisation in particular clientele such as risk groups.

Advising that the COVID-19 pandemic “has shaken up the fitness industry”, ISPO has identified what it sees as the seven most important fitness trends for the year 2021, suggesting the industry will move beyond its current "higher, faster, further" approach.

Based on a representative survey presented by the German Industry Association for Fitness and Health (DIFG) that identified personal health at the top of the list for most respondents, DIFG 1st Chairman, Ralph Scholz stated “the corona crisis will massively change the fitness economy. This makes it all the more important for all players to set the right course for the future.”

The trends identified by ISPO and DIFG are:

1. Gyms Have to Meet High Hygiene Standards
Many people have stayed in shape during the lockdown period with running, walking, fitness exercises on their own or free digital services. Of these, a proud number of 73% intend to maintain this alternative training in the future. Although most fitness enthusiasts want to go back to the gym in the future, they place the condition that training is not associated with the risk of corona infection.

Scholz advised “the survey has shown that many people are concerned about having the highest possible standard of protection. It must therefore be in the studios' own interest to ensure exactly that.

“So the basic condition for studio operators in 2021 is to win back the confidence of fitness fans.”

2. More Health Orientation in Fitness Offers
The experience of a pandemic, which is unique for everyone, has brought the topic of health into focus for many people much more than before. In principle, this is good for the fitness industry. Fitness strengthens the immune system. In fact, it also needs the right and safe offers to do so.

What is needed, Scholz says is a "change from a gym to a health-oriented fitness facility.”

3. Mindset: Connection of Body and Mind in Training
The trend towards topics such as yoga, mental training or Pilates already existed before Corona. But it has been intensified by the pandemic. More and more people want to combine physical training with mental relaxation.

This desire is triggered not only by job-related stress, also by the strenuous home schooling with children or financial and health fears in connection with the pandemic. 

4. Differentiated and Target Group Oriented Training
Whether it's in media use, buying behaviour or travel: individualisation is advancing in all areas of life. This also applies, of course, to the fitness wishes of the clientele. 

All-round fitness studios will continue to exist but boutique and micro studios with tailor-made offers are attracting more and more customers. In these difficult times, specialisation can also be financially attractive for fitness studios. 

Scholz notes "the interesting thing is that the more special you are, the more money you can demand from customers."

5. Special Offers for COVID-19 Risk Groups and Senior Citizens
For Coronavirus risk groups and senior citizens, health and fitness are just as important as for the rest of the population. It makes seniors a core target group that must be wooed with special offers and training opportunities. This can range from individual training or workouts in small training groups to special premises and digital offers for risk-free training at home.

6. Sport and Fitness Merge
Rather go to the gym to train on workout devices or jog outside? For many fitness participants this used to be a real question of faith. The Coronavirus period, including the closure of the studios, has accelerated the resolution of this either/or situation. Many equipment trailers turned to alternative indoor and outdoor offers.

Scholz explains “in the perception of the end consumer, this belongs together, if only because of the many new apps and wearables. That is why it is also important to develop holistic offers. In a sense, the gym is the pilot in this process.”

7. Fitness: Online and Outdoor are Gaining in Importance
In the era of closed fitness studios, even more sports and fitness fans have turned to online offers. For example, with peloton bike users can do their cardio training in virtual competition with many like-minded people around the globe.

The topic of outdoor fitness is also gaining in importance precisely because of Corona: Intensive training in particular is much less dangerous outdoors than indoors because of the draught.

This can contribute to the fact that more and more equipment and activities are being moved from gyms to the outside.

Based in the German city of Munich, ISPO offers a range of services for the fitness industry including a jobs market and industry summits along with the ISPO Munich, ISPO Beijing and ISPO Shanghai.

For more information go to

With thanks to Lars Becker.

Image credit: Messe München GmbH.

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