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Traditional fitness operators missing out on millennial market

Traditional fitness operators missing out on millennial market
August 23, 2014

While recent research shows more Millennials are doing gym-type activities than any other generation, Les Mills International executives believe that fitness operators need to look at whether their products are meeting Millennials' needs.

Identified as the fitness industry's most important target market by the recent Nielsen: Les Mills Global Consumer Fitness Survey, Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y - people born after the mid 1980s) make up 48% of all 18+ regular exercisers who do gym-type activities, while Generation X comprises 32% of this market and Baby Boomers just 20%.

However despite the large proportion of Millennials engaging in gym-type activities, Les Mills International Chief Executive Phillip Mills believes the wider fitness industry isn’t properly catering for them or capitalising on the opportunity they present. 

Phillip Mills explains “Millennials view traditional health clubs as something for their parents’ generation. 

"Our product and our packaging do not talk to this major market.”

Les Mills junior, Program Director of high-intensity interval training program LES MILLS GRIT™ Series, understands what Millennials are looking for. 

Having developed a fitness program targeting this age group, and being of this generation himself, he has valuable insights into attracting a Millennial audience.

Les Mills junior adds “Millennials want to be around like-minded people of the same age. 

"When it comes to exercise they want to get in, get results and get out. They’re looking for short workouts and bang for their buck.”

Les Mills junior believes that Millennials "don’t want to mill around in the weights room, or spend hours on cardio equipment. 

"They want somewhere where they can show up and have someone push them hard without having to think about it - they need someone else to do the motivation work for them.”

The lessons learned from developing Les Mills' fastest ever selling program have taught Les Mills Jnr that music and community are key. 

He adds “you’re going to attract younger people if you can create a program where the music is right. 

"With LES MILLS GRIT™ it’s been about taking all the jazz out and creating an in-touch, personal community with cool instructors of the same age group.”

Les Mills Jnr warns that the fitness industry should not underestimate this important market as digitally switched on Millennials are more educated and clued up than people imagine, concluding “the fitness industry needs to make an effort to get the Millennial market and provide products they want or risk of missing out on the new generation of fitness.”

The Nielsen: Les Mills Global Consumer Fitness Survey, undertaken by global market researcher Nielsen, surveyed 4,600 people across 13 countries and showed that 27% of the total adult population attends a gym, fitness centre or health club and that 61% of regular exercisers are currently doing gym-type activities.

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