Home is where the heart-rate monitor is

Why brands must keep up with the changing shape of healthiness.

A glance at today’s news headlines on health reveals a degree of schizophrenia. On one hand there are reports of record levels of UK obesity, on the other there’s the rise and rise of the health and fitness culture. There is a documented link between low income and being overweight while, at the more affluent end of the spectrum, gym membership and diet regimes are booming. This health movement is shifting towards a more holistic approach where people seek to unite physical, mental and nutritional wellbeing. At the same time these efforts are spreading across more aspects of home and leisure time. Businesses have stepped up their efforts on work/life balance, new exercise crazes arrive all the time and Fitbit technology allows us to monitor how we’re doing. For brands, this trend has opened up many ways in which they can tap into a very healthy market.

Teetotal fitness.

A shift in attitudes towards drinking has seen more young people reduce their alcohol consumption or become teetotal. Brands that can offer the same social, experiential and immersive occasions available to drinkers are prospering. For example, Club SÖDA NYC (Sober Or Debating Abstinence) and Club Soda in the UK are networks that use alcohol-free socials and workshops to encourage mindful drinking. M&S and drinks brand ‘The Duchess’ have launched products that mimic alcoholic favourites. The growing seltzer category, with brand leaders such as LA Croix, is meeting the increased demand for healthier non-alcoholic products with complex and interesting flavours.

Source: M&S, LA Croix

Fit for lifestyle.

Within the exercise market, consumers are looking to break free of the rigidity of gym-class timetables and enjoy more varied and personalised activities. The Class Pass app offers a convenient means of doing this. Membership allows access to 10,000 fitness studios globally plus options as diverse as yoga, boxing, martial arts and HIIT. Recognising the need for further flexibility, they recently launched Class Pass Go – an audio fitness app that takes the exercise process from fitness studio to the home. The app provides guided classes on activities like running, cycling and yoga, with scope to filter by duration, intensity and calorie-burning goals. Class Pass Live offers an immersive experience where consumers can stream live classes and on-demand videos.

Source: Class Pass Live, Class Pass Go

Meanwhile, Peloton is tapping into the popularity of spin and cycling classes by bringing a private and personalised fitness studio in-home via its exercise bike. Complete with built-in screen, this equipment streams live classes and also gives access to an archive of videos that can be filtered by musical taste and fitness level. Wearable tech brands Oura Ring and Bellabeat Leaf tap into this demand for ‘fitness your way’ with their smart jewellery, which measures key health indicators such as sleep quality, heart rate and stress levels.

Source: Peloton

The race ahead.

It might be tempting for brands not typically associated with health and fitness to believe they will be untouched by these developments. However, as the trend seeps into more areas, and the boundaries between exercise/health regimes and ordinary life blur, many retailers will need to monitor the implications. Equally, the smart players will be quick off the blocks with products and experiences that make being healthy less like hard work.

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