I was interviewed for AJ Mihrzad’s Podcast and I said that I thought the fastest growing segment of the fitness industry over the next 5-10 years would be Online Training.
Now, before you think that I’m saying your local business is going to start struggling…hear me out. I think you’ll see the opportunity for you – either online or offline.
My reasoning for thinking that Online Training will be the fastest growing segment of the industry really is based on 3 things:
- It’s got the Biggest Growth Potential.
The US is getting pretty saturated with health clubs and group training businesses.
There certainly isn’t room for either of those categories to double. If anything, I suspect the numbers for both to stay pretty flat…with new ones replacing the failing ones.
I think things like corporate fitness, sports performance training and boutique types of businesses all have plenty of upside…but each category will only capture a small percentage of the trainers out there. So I expect each to grow…just not as much as online training.
Online training has more potential to grow as the financial barrier to entry is low (think about how quickly the bootcamp market grew due to the financial barrier to entry being so low) and it won’t require specialization to get in the game…so more people can do it. Obviously, the downside to that last statement is that many of the wrong people will do it and fail soon after.
- The Shift To Technology & Online Purchasing.
In the past 10 years I’ve gone from making zero of my Christmas purchases online to making almost 100% there.
People are now practically tethered to their cell phones.
More and more things are moving online…
- Lifelong learning platforms like Udemy and Kahn Academy are growing like crazy. I remember the adult education department at the University I worked at being a nice piece of the school…but I think those will start disappearing over the next 10 years.
- We now get food delivered online…from businesses like Plated to just shopping at Amazon.
- People are attached to social media now like they’d have been attached to TV in the 70’s.
My mom reads a couple of books a week. She’s 69 years old and does not ‘do’ technology very well at all…yet she’s not bought a book anywhere but Amazon for at least 3 years.
Things people weren’t comfortable doing online 5-10 years ago are now routinely done online.
Things people didn’t even consider doing online in the past like having ingredients and recipes shipped to them so they could easily cook great meals…that’s becoming popular.
It seems safe to assume this trend will continue.
- People Want Better Stuff.
This bodes well for you either as an offline business owner or online business owner if you use it.
The days of people settling for something because it’s local are almost completely gone.
I’m no longer relegated to Christmas shopping in Louisville…I can shop anywhere easily due to technology.
I have fond memories of going to the toy store in our town growing up when I was a kid…a place that probably had a smaller toy selection than your local Target. If it wasn’t there or in a Sears catalog…it didn’t exist in my world.
Those times have passed.
I think back to me being a high school baseball player and wanting to get bigger and stronger.
If I wanted help, my options were:
- Figure it out from reading books and magazines…with nothing I was aware of specifically for baseball players. (This was like 1989:))
- Go to the small gym next to my high school where there were a couple of bigger, older guys that could help me lift…but it was bodybuilding based.
- Work with a ‘trainer’ in town who was basically just a big, strong guy who was nice and would help…but no real knowledge.
- Drive 30 mins to a powerlifting gym and train with them…but again, nothing that was tied directly to sports performance. No movement training, no considerations for the needs of baseball.
So I’d have had to settle for what was available.
Contrast that with today…
People can watch Mike Reinold & Eric Cressey deliver free videos that teach them more than anything I’d have learned in most of those situations specific to my goals.
We no longer have to settle for mediocre solutions because of geography. That’s no longer a limiting factor.
Now we can choose what we feel is best for us, our wants and our needs.
Want one more bit of proof?
You’re reading this instead of some general business info from your local chamber of commerce or something else close by.
This is more specific to you – so you’re willing to pass ‘going local.’
So that’s my logic.
I think you have 1 choice to make:
Will you choose to be the best?
If so…online or offline…you’ll not only be fine. You’ll thrive.
And online will be an option for you if you’re not doing it. You’ll be able to ride that wave.
But only if you’re willing to deliver something great.
By Pat Rigsby
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