Constantly being ranked as one of America’s most health-conscious cities, it’s no surprise that Minneapolis is a huge contributor to many growing fitness trends sweeping the nation. While the health and fitness crazes are still running strong, the way people exercise and workout is causing the fitness retail market to significantly evolve. How, where, and who we workout with has become just as important as why, and has created multiple different fitness trends to flourish in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Ian Halker, Senior Associate at Colliers International dives into some of these trends and how they are affecting the local retail market.
Experience : Community : Status
Experience marketing has swept the nation, and is a driving factor for many fitness clubs around the world. Creating an experience where consumers can interact with others provides people with more than just a workout. It gives them a sense of community that keeps them coming back. The experience is just as important as the wellness benefits for many people, and being able to display and distribute these moments socially gives people status and a way to show off their lifestyle. Social interaction both in-person and online creates marketing for the fitness clubs and participants, allowing a challenging workout to build togetherness and create relationships through a common goal of personal betterment.
Gym culture is a big selling point for many people, and is a deciding factor on how much they will spend. “People who attend these studios or centers are willing to pay premium prices for a sense of community that might not be found in other fitness centers. Some people will make an afternoon of going to a place like PureBarre in Edina, and getting a glass of wine after class with friends,” explains Halker. Experiencing different things with and within the local community is a great way to build the Minneapolis-St. Paul culture, and is an added plus for wellness retail in the twin cities market.
Boutiques : Branding : Betterment
Boutique studios are popping up all over the Minneapolis area and offer a vast variety of structures, classes, and settings that cater to clients’ needs. From locally-owned businesses like Alchemy and The Firm to more well-known studio boutiques such as PureBarre, CorePower and ClubPilates, these places are making large strides in the market and providing clients with a variety of solutions to fit their workout needs. Branding is huge at all of these studios as the consumer continues to look for ways to represent their lifestyle. Corepower has become a resounding word in the industry and a representation of wellness and status among its members. “Just like people have the 26.2 stickers on their car to be identified as marathon runners, people will place a CPY sticker on their car to be associated with Corepower Yoga,” adds Halker. Many people are looking for more than just a place to “work out,” they are looking for something they can stand behind and be a part of while getting healthy. This brand association and culture is why many of these more niche places are seeing such success.
The combination of consumers’ desire for options, along with the new types of workouts constantly emerging, is creating an environment that caters to providing consumers with a variety of choices and expanding the market. ClassPass, for example, allows people to purchase memberships, then gives them access to thousands of classes in their local area. This creates business for local clubs while providing people options to try new workouts, places, and communities.
Large format centers such as Lifetime and LA Fitness still preform very well and appeal to a large demographic, however many regional trade areas are also seeing an upswing in smaller, more cost-effective alternatives such as Snap, Crunch, and Planet Fitness, all of which provide the equipment necessary at a smaller price point. Whether a person wants a large-format fitness center to provide them with various types of workouts, or prefers a smaller, niche concept center to focus on a certain type of fitness, there is no shortage of options in the Twin Cities market.
As the Minneapolis-St. Paul area continues to exercise their love for fitness, many of these trends will progress, keeping the Twin Cities population healthier and happier with a close-knit sense of community.