The global fitness industry has work to do when it comes to digitizing equipment, marketing and member acquisition, a white paper found
EGYM, a global fitness tech company, has published an eye-opening white paper on the state of digital transformation in the fitness industry, demonstrating that much more effort in this critical area is needed.
According to EGYM’s survey, which polled gym owners from North America and predominately Europe, only around 5% of clubs and facilities are well-equipped in all areas of digitalization, from member acquisition to member retention. Almost one-fifth of gym owners have not even begun to digitalize their clubs and facilities, while 62% are just getting started.
It’s surprising news, says EGYM, especially as its 2021 global survey, “Fitness Technology – Friend or Foe?” revealed that approximately three-quarters of respondents said they planned to make technology investments for their facility in the future, with 52% citing the investments to enhance the member experience.
While gym operators say that they want to digitalize their facilities and clubs, many aren’t — a costly mistake that can come at the expense of their members and, subsequently, their fitness business.
As EGYM points out, member success and a club’s financial health are closely linked, with happy members more likely to remain loyal, long-term clients, leading to the potential to upsell and attract new members.
The white paper takes a deep dive into where gym owners have invested (or neglected to invest) in the five individual stages of the member experience:
According to EGYM, while most respondents have partially to mostly digitalized marketing through their website, social media and running digital ads, 20% report that they are only at the starting line in terms of digital marketing and mainly rely on direct mail or flyers.
A surprising 63% of gyms have made little or no investment in digitalized member acquisition, where potential members must physically visit a club in person (or start an application online but then must complete it at the facility). Only at a quarter of fitness gyms can members manage their entire membership online, from booking classes or canceling/pausing memberships.
EGYM’s findings reveal that 42% of facilities still rely on manual onboarding for new members, with “barely any” clubs offering members access to a mobile app or in-gym assessment tools that configure equipment.
The Workout Experience
The digital experience at most facilities is also lacking, with a reported 40% of respondents revealing that they have made little or no investment in digitalizing the workout experience for members, still using analog equipment that prohibits syncing workouts to apps and wearables. Only 39% of respondents reported having connected equipment that shows performance via an app, while 21% say they provide a complete digital workout experience with an ecosystem of hardware, software and services.
Visualization of Workout Success
According to EGYM, only 28% of respondents have fully automated goal tracking for members, while roughly 36% say workout data from connected fitness equipment is automatically synced to a mobile app. The remaining survey respondents said that member progress and goals are either manually documented on paper or must be recorded in an app by the member.
EGYM’s report can be downloaded in full here.
Courtney Rehfeldt has worked in the broadcasting media industry since 2007 and has freelanced since 2012. Her work has been featured in Age of Awareness, Times Beacon Record, The New York Times, and she has an upcoming piece in Slate. She studied yoga & meditation under Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and is an avid reader. Courtney has a BA in Media & Communications studies.