Boutique Fitness Trends: Everything You Need to Know
Boutique Fitness is at the cutting edge of the booming Fitness & Wellness industry. As new trends emerge, it is hard to differentiate between fad and new religion. At zingfit, we work closely with some of the fastest growing brands in boutique fitness and we love supporting new & upcoming studios. It’s through this work, that we uncover holistic insights into the industry. Here are some of the hottest trends to watch out for in boutique fitness.
We Love (Search Engine) Data
As a software company, zingfit is as deeply involved in the tech industry as we are in the fitness industry. Because of this, we love to dive into the nitty-gritty of search engine data–as it gives major insights into the sometimes intangible movement of the market.
We’ve known for a while that boutique fitness is on the rise but in 2018, it dominated the search term rankings. “High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)” was the number one most searched for fitness term in 2018 while “Group Training” came in at number two. This is a major change from 2017 where HIIT ranked #6 and Group Training didn’t even crack the top 10!
The continual growth of indoor cycling
Everyone knows about indoor cycling. After all, “Spinning” has been a trend since the mid 80s when Johnny Goldberg (“Johnny G”), a successful endurance cyclist invented it. While indoor cycling has had its ups and downs over the last four decades, the boutique version of “spin class” has really blossomed. Pioneered in it’s latest iteration of course by the infamous SoulCycle and its “cultish” following.
For passionate cyclists and would-be fitness entrepreneurs, it’s still a great time to get into the business. And as far as the fitness industry goes, it’s one of the more lucrative routes to take for studio owners. In fact, based on research from the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) 2016 Marketing Best Practices Research Report, indoor cycling studios generated 55% more revenue than other types of fitness studios! It will be fun to see if indoor cycling can hold its position in the market, when the demand for new group boutique experience is on the rise. Let’s look at what other modalities are slated to surpass this timeless trend.
Ubercool of Bootcamp
Bootcamp is no longer just for the military and TV-show rehab teens. This trend, which combines cardio and strength training, has changed the face of endurance exercise. The wildly popular Barry’s Bootcamp first came on the scene over 20 years ago, when founder Barry Jay innovated HIIT in a group setting. They’ve since gained notoriety as a celebrity favorite and it’s no surprise—bootcamp workouts get results.
Following this cultural thirst for ass-kicking, endorphin-blasting workouts, new, notable brands are emerging, such as Regymen, 1Rebel and [solidcore]. Each of these have their own spin on bootcamp. But that’s only the start of it: a search for local bootcamps will yield hundreds of results in most major cities across America and increasingly across the world. Between the dark lighting, the visceral music, and the feeling of being pushed to your limits as a group, there’s a reason people are flocking to it. It’s tribal, it’s raw, it’s ancient ritual made modern—and it’s here to stay.
Innovation in Boxing
Boxing is as old as modern humans, it’s something primeval and has been a sport ever since Queensberry Rules were created. The folks that codified boxing in the 19th century would be surprised by what they see today— Boxing boutique-style has led to an extreme facelift. Gone are the days of boxing as primarily a boys club, where sweaty men duke it out in a dingy cement gym. For example, Rumble has pioneered and scaled the boutique group boxing experience. While a brand like Kobox has taken the high-end boutique boxing lifestyle and made it accessible to a wider audience—offering an affordable luxury experience. Or, just ask anyone in Boston to name a cool gym. They’ll probably answer Everybody Fights. This shift in popularity seems to have happened overnight, so what changed?
Aside from the overwhelming power of group fitness, many participants in this boutique fitness trend report not only physical improvements but a lasting impact on their philosophy for everyday life. These boutique boxing brands have been instrumental in evolving boxing from a male-centric sport, to a more inclusive wellness regime, akin to yoga or the martial arts. So it’s with good reason this new spin on an old fitness modality has skyrocketed.
Raising the Barre
It’s hard not to notice the growing boutique fitness trend that is barre. Originally created by a professional ballet dancer in order to heal her back injury, this super strengthening modality has mass appeal. Its challenging routines result in the sculpted muscles you see in dancers. Barre saw a massive growth spike in 2015, when participation in this modality grew 141% over years prior. Now in 2019, barre has continued to maintain its popularity.
Something that sets barre apart from other modalities like boutique cycling or boxing is its accessibility through streaming services. This is because little equipment is required to practice much of the workout at home. These streaming options have become a complimentary add-on for large barre brands such as Barre3 and The Bar Method.
In addition to the in-studio and at-home experiences, barre’s apparel market is extremely popular, mirroring that of the yoga apparel industry. There are a plethora of barre-related accessories one can purchase to enhance their barre experience. And even Lululemon has gotten in on this high-end barre market.
The rise of Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) intrigues us. It will be interesting to see how boutique fitness adopts EMS treatments into a premium, group fitness experience. Today, it is a highly-functional fitness workout but tomorrow it could look very different.
Entrepreneurial innovation and a focus on wellness are changing how boutiques interact with their customers. As boutique fitness studios grow and new ideas enter the marketplace expect to see goods and services in boutique gyms that past-generations of entrepreneurs would never have thought to offer their customers.
The tribal aspect of boutiques has long been known to help far beyond fitness needs, and into mental and emotional wellness. It’s a big part of why people want to come to boutiques and it’s why zingfit puts such a big emphasis on the tribe and peer-to-peer marketing (as part of our platform). Be on the lookout for the new ways boutiques deliver holistic wellness to their customers.
Streaming classes is the latest, but by no means least, trend to hit the boutique scene. Bifurcation of markets would suggest a small core group of brands and software providers with the investment and ability to scale will stream classes (like Mirror or Peloton). And perhaps some third-party platforms will enable streaming for smaller brands that have a devoted customer base.
Before the smaller boutiques of the world adopt streaming some real business issues will need to be resolved:
— Finding a harmonious and integrated use of technology to serve all business and fitness needs can be convoluted. It often requires a complex web of software and no one ecosystem can do it all. And most brands wouldn’t want to be ‘trapped’ in one software ecosystem anyway.
— The cost of great content that customers will want to sign-up for can be high; Creating it, moderating it, refreshing it, and streaming it doesn’t come cheap. For SMBs working with small margins the idea of scaling through streaming is intriguing. But the revenue stream may not align with the costs.
— Consider for a moment what has happened in the world of music. As streaming, versus owning music, has become ubiquitous and cheap, millennials have increasingly sought out experiences. When something becomes a commodity and not a premium product (think music albums) customer engagement with the brand diminishes. Unless there’s another way that brand and customer can engage experientially (think concerts, live events, festivals). All these live events have increased dramatically in price over the past few years. But at the same time the experience that customers are willing to pay for has also become far better.
All food for thought!
zingfit is proud to work with brands who are leading the way in all these boutique fitness trends. Learn more about why we sweat boutique and which fitness modalities we love to work with.