Club Insider

Trend Wisdom

Why It's Important To Be Part of The Dialogue in 2018

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Stephen TharrettStephen Tharrett

Trends are one of the quintessential truths of mankind and one of the core truths of capitalism. Trends influence how we think, what we want to believe or not believe, how we act and how we react. From a business perspective, trends can inform us of where the market is headed, what competitors are doing, what consumers are embracing, what business leaders are thinking and what opportunities there are for the taking. Jason Canton summed this up nicely when he said, "Those who are ill informed will be at risk for a rough future."

The health and fitness industry may be one of the most fickle, along with fashion design, when it comes to the impact trends can have on the way players do business. In this era of the 4th Industrial Revolution, change often occurs at warp speed. Against this backdrop of hastened business disruption, trends can very often become the accelerant for informed or misinformed strategy. Consequently, it behooves health and fitness operators to be able to discern between those trends that are opinion-driven and those that are data-based, and then, act on them appropriately.

Mark WilliamsonMark Williamson

Opinion-based trends are typically statements of opinion regarding what's happening in the marketplace. These opinion-based trends can be the result of discerning observations, the gathering of qualitative opinions from the crowd and possibly even the consequence of gas-lighting from those with something to gain from these trend proclamations. Data-based trends, think BIG DATA, are founded in statistics and metrics pertaining to actual behavior patterns: what people and businesses are actually doing and have been doing over time.

Health and fitness operators who want a competitive edge in understanding today's trends and tomorrow's trends, should be focused on discovering the truths provided by data-based trends. To accomplish this, operators need to take two steps. First, they should contribute to trend studies that collect data-driven information about trends, such as levels of adoption and changes in the levels of adoption for various practices. By contributing to these studies, it brings forward more data. Second, operators should study the results of data-driven trend studies to obtain an understanding of what is being adopted and how those adoption practices are changing over time. By taking these two steps, operators can avoid the rough future that comes from being ill-informed about trends.

Since 2015, ClubIntel, in collaboration with various international partners in the health and fitness industry, has facilitated a global study of data-based trends in the health and fitness industry. This annual study collects data on adoption levels for over 90 different industry practices across four broad categories: programs/services, equipment, facilities and technology. Now entering its fourth year, the study is able to pinpoint the level of adoption for each trend measured and the degree of movement in that trend since it was first measured. Some trend facts from the 2017 study, in which the practices of over 14,000 global health and fitness facilities were represented, include:

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