Big news for the fitness sector and for fitness operators: Apple has entered the at-home fitness market with Fitness+
Right - what is Apple Fitness+?
For just under £80/year subscribers will get access to a catalogue of video workouts (yoga, cycling, treadmill walking and running as well strength and core exercises) that can be viewed on a user’s iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, with some music folded in.
If the user also has an Apple Watch, it will sync with their Apple Watch workout app and use their health metrics (heart rate, calories burned, pace and distance) to communicate with the user during the workout.
Of course, those metrics change as the workout progresses, so if a trainer in a certain video tells the user to check their heart rate or running pace, those numbers get larger and make it easier to see.
When the workout ends, users will get a summary of the data captured. Apple Music subscribers can also save music played during their workouts and listen later.
Where is Fitness+ launching?
The U.K., Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the US before the end of 2020.
That.. sounds ominous. What does this mean for me as a fitness operator?
It’s definitely a big threat to retaining your customer base and attracting new ones.
Apple has huge reach, passionate fans and super loyal customers. It also has its ecosystem of products (iPhone, iPad, Apple Music etc) which are all interlinked; now Fitness+ is a part of that too.
Apple will be able to market to your customers and nudge them frequently.
Yikes! So what should I do?
Actually, it’s not all bad news at all. In fact, you can use it to your advantage.
Think of it this way: the biggest brand in the world has just legitimised at-home fitness content. Apple sees the at-home fitness content as a multi-billion dollar market.
Not only that, the biggest brand in the world is making all its fans aware of the idea of at-home fitness content. This will grow the at-home fitness market as a whole: ie it will create more at-home fitness users and super users.
It will also accelerate adoption of at-home fitness activities as a ‘norm’ across the world. In doing so, it will automatically shine a light on all businesses operating in that space. It’s suddenly alerted millions of people to its possibilities. That’s... a lot of good news.
We’d argue strongly this is great news for the industry.
So actually I could stand to benefit from this?
Absolutely yes. If you play it right.
But you need to make sure you have a really good virtual strategy.
There will always be people who dislike Apple because it’s... Apple! So they look for alternatives brands and providers - often those that are authentic, more independent and often local.
You need to be in a good position to attract those customers.
To do that, you need to be making use of all the marketing channels you have available and consistently keep a presence to ride the crest of the Apple wave.
You also already own the relationships with your customers who you understand and know.
Instructors know that the real results come from support, accountability and being able to tailor a fitness regime to an individual so that it is sustainable.
You’re in the perfect position to be able to reinforce all of that and deepen the relationship with your customers.
What’s more, local lockdowns, restrictions springing up all the time, capacity restrictions for in-person classes, and continued attendance reluctance mean that a virtual strategy is going to be business-critical for the foreseeable.
Don’t lose customers to Apple: take advantage of the category growth.