Fitness Tech

How Wearables Will Change The Fitness Industry


Wearables are now growing at a 35% annual compounding rate. That means by 2020, nearly 200 million units will be shipped. The smartest club operators have already begun integrating wearables into their programs, leveraging their Club Mobile App to connect the tracked workouts that happen outside of the club back to the club through fitness challenges and rewards programs.

As wearables continue on the path to be as ubiquitous as smartphones are today, there are several ways that they’ll become more deeply woven into the health club experience in 2020.

Gamification of Club Activities

The concept of a “game layer” – offering points and rewards for every action that consumers take – has been growing in popularity over the last decade. New technology has made it even easier to track consumer spending and automatically deliver personalized rewards to loyal customers. Today, a minority of health clubs offer a rewards program to encourage desired member behaviors.

By 2020, it’s quite possible that the majority of successful clubs will offer some sort of rewards program. To keep things simple, it will be tightly integrated with the club’s mobile app and calculate members’ points automatically.

Smart Clothing

It’s not just smartwatches and fitness bands that are going to be purchased on the wearables market by 2020. The emergence of smart clothing, from shirts to shoes, will become increasingly popular. Athos is a San Francisco-based company that is already offering “smart” full-body suits that are retrofitted with sensors, tracking all of the physiological data from one’s body and sending it via bluetooth to a mobile app. Today, this product costs over $500. By 2020, like other technology, prices will drop and such clothing will become more mainstream among health club members.

Sensors Everywhere

The sensors in the Athos smart clothing will be used in many other devices as well. Already, companies like Focus Motion are building products that connect with the Pebble smartwatch to automatically track motion and give real time feedback on an exerciser’s form, pace, etc. Considering that this is something we have historically relied on personal trainers for, a product like this is going to advance business models that deliver training digitally, not just from people.

In 2020, as these devices become more mainstream, we should expect to see them used to support hybrid training models where consumers workout on their own time in their own locations, but trainers and coaches can access their workout data from anywhere, providing quick feedback and tips to guide them along their fitness journey.

Seamless Connection to Mobile

Along with much of the other technology discussed here, mobile devices will continue to be a requirement for delivery and consumption. Every wearable has an app to go along with it. Every sensor will be sending data to an app via a wireless bluetooth connection. By 2020, an even greater majority of consumers will have a smartphone (today in 2015, it’s about 66% of Americans).

In 5 years, nearly every successful club will have its own app that integrates with the variety of other technologies that members and staff utilize on a daily basis. This will be as common as websites have become today – a requirement to do business in an increasingly technology-driven industry.

Want to learn more about the future of the fitness industry? Check out our FREE guide The Club of 2020:


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