What's Happening With Smartphones And The Fitness And Health Club Business

Late last year reporter Catherine Saint Louis , did a great story in the NYT titled Cellphones Test Strength of Gym Rules . Catherine kindly interviewed me for the story which basically made the point that Smartphones are creating a challenges for health club owners and operators. Here's a quote:

Gym owners say their members are dividing into two camps, those who can’t stand cellphones on the gym floor and those who see their phones as indispensable to their workouts as a bottle of water.

Its become a lot harder for operators to deal with the many issues surrounding new smartphone technology. Privacy and security concerns along with the division among health club members has created a real rift on this topic. Now comes this recent research: not surprisingly, more consumers are using smartphones to stay connected while exercising, according to a recent survey by the firm Lab42 . Check oput the cool infographic below.

The market research firm found that 51% of consumers use smartphones during workouts, with (33%) checking email or (43%) tracking their pace . 91% Listen to music on a mobile device during a workout (91%). The study focused on 500 social media users who place a high emphasis on health and exercising.

Respondents (33%) said they use apps to track fitness and food regimens, with 31% tracking similarly on websites. Many are also sharing their fitness progress with others (75%); Facebook is the most popular platform to do so. The research found that 74% of consumers believe technology has made a positive impact in improving their weight loss plans while increasing motivation (72%) to keep going.

What this means, in my view, is that increasing numbers of tech oriented Millennial members are bringing along there way of doing things. You might want to check out this post on the topic or catch up on some of my recent free research on Millennials Impact On The Fitness Industry, which identifies some interesting and important trends. The implications to business models and fitness brands is interesting: think Amazon versus Burberry.

It will be interesting to see how health club owners and operators continue to deal with this trend and how business models either embrace it or attempt to quell it. Tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what do you think about the trend of smartphone use during exercise ? Is it here to stay and will it grow ?

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, and shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He consults with global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank is Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee, is President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and a partner in Fitmarc, Integerus, Fitsomo and the Flywheel Group. To learn more contact Bryan here today .