Fitness of the future is about networking, personalized experiences in a community and “eventization”. Additionally, fitness and wellbeing products are increasingly offering an intuitive user experience the way Apple products do. These are the major learnings of this year's digital FitTech Summit, which hosted over 30 visionary founders and industry leaders and 15 sessions from 25 to 28 May. The b2b event on the future of fitness and health attracted 1.200 attendees from 70 countries.
Meet the main trend of this year's FitTech Summit: The gym of the future has "satellites" and serves customers who want a combined experience of gym and home fitness. Industry stats from the UK show that about 75 percent of gym-goers return to the gym after the pandemic, however, they do bring new habits and expectations with them, which includes a more location-independent training experience.
Digital add-ons are thus becoming a sheer necessity for gyms, which should pays off: since the pandemic, consumers are spending a larger portion of their budgets on fitness. The subjective value of one's own health has increased. "Fitness equipment for the home will be part of an ecosystem in the future," says Paolo Aversa, professor at Cass Business School in London.
The fittech trends: More "Disney", more niche applications, more „Apple“
Trend 1: Fitness need event and community - more "Disney"-like experience
"Why should I spend money on an average gym when I have a great product at home?" says Sami Asikainen (CEO Carbon Trainer). As the Summit talks have shown, gyms need to offer more Disney-like experiences. On-site training needs an event character, which can be created through the use of game mechanics ("gamification"), new types of equipment (see trends 2 and 3), music and/or personalization of courses targeting niche communities with specific needs. The key question is therefore: "To which group does this person belong, and how can we best serve them?", says Philipp Roesch-Schlanderer (founder and CEO eGym).
Trend 2: Home fitness market becomes a many-niche market
Back in 2019, home fitness companies recorded an average monthly growth rate of 30 percent year-over-year, 2020 saw the home fitness market accelerate by almost 200 percent. Following the market leader Peloton, niche providers for climbing, boxing or strength training are bringing new products to market this summer. "Consumers are demanding different approaches," says Avrum Elmakis, the founder and CEO of CLMBR. Fitness studios can also benefit from these providers if they also offer these new types of fitness equipment at their facilities (see Trend 1: more "Disney").
Trend 3: Fitness equipment for the home becomes furniture for the eye
With less space and more personal touch, living rooms are very different from gyms. The design of next-generation home fitness equipment therefore plays a decisive role. The legacy Germany home fitness manufacturer Kettler is a good example. At the FitTech Summit, the company announced the launch of its new home bike for 2022, designed by an ex-Apple designer Julian Hönig. "We wanted the best fitness equipment ever that is also a piece of design furniture," says CEO Melanie Lauer.
Trend 4: Fitness tech is „apple-ized“ thanks to focus on ONE target group.
"Apple humanized technology," says Anthony Katz (founder and CEO Hyperice). "What if we too apple-ised our products?" The focus on intuitive user guidance is the next step in the fitness world. Addressing only one target group and then moving to others helps to clearly position the product. For example, what do athletes need to enjoy a "frictionless body" as easily as possible? The feedback from the professionals flows into product development for the general population. Other examples include: the Whoop tracker (initially developed for athletes) and the sports leggings with an integrated soft exoskeleton (from Tonus Tech), which are initially designed for an elderly target audience.
Trend 5: Medicine against the mental pandemic comes via the sense of hearing
Sleep disorders are on the rise, humanity is increasingly stressed, and the pandemic has accelerated this problem. Apart from that, many of us have forgotten how to listen to their bodies. The solution can be ironically found in listening: 1. Algorithms create data-based individual music for relaxation or focus (Endel). 2. An amplified heart sound gives athletes feedback on their physical condition (Human-Centric-Innovators). 3. A smart headband helps to better monitor one's own mind and get back to a focused state (Muse).
Trend 6: Personal trainers benefit from digital solutions
Digital trainer clones (presented at the FitTech Summit for the first time: Hero Workout), training in front of fitness mirrors (VAHA) or cockpits on the client's condition (Morpheus Lab) - this variety of technologies offer personal trainers new tools to expand their reach or improve their services. "By accessing health data, trainers can offer more effective workouts and real-time interactive feedback," says Joel Jamieson (founder and CEO Morpheus Lab). Through new platforms, coaches can scale their knowledge around the world. "We support coaches by expanding their reach," says Valerie Bures-Bönström (CEO VAHA) and "by giving them a (tracking) tool that makes them even better" (Michael Hofbauer, founder Hero Workout).
About the FitTech Summit 2021"The Summit was launched in 2018 with a vision to connect global business leaders and founders for the future of fitness, health and wellness," Natalia Karbasova, CEO of FitTech Company, sums up the four-day event. "I'm proud and happy to see the Summit evolving into a platform that tells the key trends around the future of fitness and health technology." Event partners 2021 - Technogym, Kettler, VAHA, Pixformance, Urban Sports Club, Sweatworks, Clever Fit, Hush&Hush, Wort&Bild Verlag and its investment arm Isartal Ventures - all helped make the event happen.
About FitTech CompanyFitTech Company hosts the FitTech Summit, Europe's leading conference platform for fitness technology and the future of wellbeing and healthy lifestyles. The first edition tool place in 2018 and has since then welcomed over 250 of the world’s leading fitness, health and tech visionaries on its stage, such as Tom Cortese (co-founder Peloton), Mike Lee (founder MyFitnessPal), Joe de Sena (founder Spartan Race), and Hap Klopp (founder The North Face). "At FitTech Summit, you can meet market newcomers who will become your serious competion tomorrow," says Oliver Schulokat, CEO Cyberobics at RSG Global.
Natalia Karbasova founded the FitTech Summit in 2018 as part of Hubert Burda Media and later secured the rights to the event thorugh a management buyout. Sergej Hermann (COO), Max Gaub (CCO) and Andreas Schröder (Advisor and Angel Investor) joined as co-founders in 2020.
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