Key Trends Shaping the Future for Wellbeing and Fitness Retail


The face of retail is constantly evolving with consumers actively seeking healthier lifestyle choices. This is affecting what they're choosing to buy, whether that's a product that directly affects their wellbeing or that of the planet. This is, in part, due to a generation that is more concerned about the environment than any other age group before them. Consumers are increasingly looking for products from retailers and brands that are eco-friendly. This demand has introduced a new era of sustainable, ethical, intelligent, and meaningful products being created.

We take a look at the Wellbeing & Fitness retail market through the lens of the shopper to uncover key insights, innovations and some of the best customer experiences in the market.

Image source: This Girl Can campaign

Shopper Insights

Traditional sports retail has been under increasing pressure by the rise of wellbeing and fitness. Health and wellness trends have accelerated fast, with a “help me be healthy” attitude encouraging retailers to play a more active role in supporting the health and wellness of consumers. One example of this is the rise of athleisure where young consumers desire to appear fit and healthy and to ‘look the part’ is really driving this trend. General awareness around health and fitness is further enhanced by social media channels such as Instagram and as a direct result, exercising more and fuelling the market for fashionable sports clothing.

42% of consumers bought sportswear for everyday wear.

53% of shoppers are interested in technology to achieve the perfect fit.

82% of smartphone users consult their phones whilst shopping

Image source: Bruce Mars

Innovating the Senses

Mobile devices are changing the entire shopping experience. Nike’s integrated mobile app allows shoppers to receive exclusive in-store deals, scan and reserve items and book 'Expert Sessions'. The store has dedicated ‘Nike App Pick Up Areas’ where app users can collect reserved items within just two hours of ordering at home. Shoppers scan items to find out product information, check in-store size availability or order straight from their mobile. Anyone wanting a more personalised experience can use the app to book a free Expert 1:1 session to discuss their goals, before moving to a fitting room filled with hand-picked gear to try on. Mobile integration is now an expectation, not an exception, for shoppers who are driven by convenience and owning their experiences. Mobile technology impacts all areas of our lives; from how, when and to what degree we communicate, interact and share information. Brands and retailers leading the way are driving in-store agility and delivering an increasingly personalised shopping experience.

Image source: Nike retail digitilisation interview

Immersive Experiences

The L&T Sports House in Osnabruck, Germany, combines shopping and product testing to create a unique experience for shoppers. As one of the best showcases of speciality sports retail, the department store’s centrepiece is an artificial ground floor wave pool that’s viewable from every level above. Visitors can book a slot at the indoor surf spot which is equipped for beginner, advanced and professional surfers. The store also houses a gymnasium that offers serious mountain climbers conditioning training at a simulated altitude of 2,500 meters as well as its own fitness club and health café. L&T Sports House has seen an increase of young shoppers from the online generation attracted back to the retail store.

Image source: Sports store of the future: The best examples from 2018

Smartphones continue to play a huge role in the retail environment, boosting omni-channel capabilities with VR and AI continuing to reinvigorate retail by creating a buzz and a deeper engagement with shoppers that, in turn, increases dwell time. Brand partnerships are reinforcing the importance of B2B association and the impact it can have on brand awareness, allowing brands and retailers to create interesting engaging content across all platforms to engage with new and existing shoppers. Connected apparel is becoming a reality giving brands the opportunity to educate the shopper and communicate the innovations that are making a difference to their wellbeing. Exciting times ahead for fitness and wellbeing in retail.

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