February 12, 2022

The virtual fitness buyer is not the same as in-person clients.

Virtual fitness classes have become the norm for the fitness industry in the past few years given COVID-19. The ability to teach online through methods like Zoom, Skype, and Youtube have helped keep brick and mortar fitness studios running through lockdown and beyond. 

However, beyond a studio’s regular in-person group meeting on Zoom, there is another demographic of customers. The virtual fitness buyer isn’t some new revelation from the pandemic, they’ve been a part of the fitness world for decades, but have been overlooked by many fitness professionals.

The virtual fitness buyer is an online customer that doesn’t operate in the same way as in-person clients. While both have fitness needs, the virtual buyer has different priorities when it comes to what they look for in a fitness product. These buyers spend a lot of money too but in different ways, Allied Market Research found that the virtual fitness market will reach $59 billion by 2027, a mere 5 years from now. Who wouldn’t want to get a slice of that pie?

The virtual fitness buyer has been around for a long time. At-home fitness has been sold to consumers since the 1970s with programs like the Jane Fonda Workout, and since then the creative process has only gotten easier to do.

Up through the 1990s most home fitness videos were created by big media companies using celebrities to help sell the videos, but from the 2000s onwards this changed. Products like P90X have proven that you no longer need big name celebrities to sell fitness; the virtual fitness buyer cares about quality over a brand name. In the age of the internet, the fastest way to the virtual fitness buyer is by creating the best content possible, first and foremost.

The virtual fitness buyer cares about quality over a brand name.

In order to access the online fitness industry, you first have to understand what the buyer values. The virtual fitness buyer has some key differences from the in-person buyer. 

  • They tend to be do-it-yourselfers, seeking out whatever they need to solve their problems on their own. 
  • They know what they need, or what they think they need, seeking out specific solutions.
  • Virtual fitness buyers want expertise delivered on demand, whenever and wherever they want it.

This differs from in-person clients who show up to classes on certain days and collaborate with instructors to create the experience.

How They Spend Their Money

These qualities also define the way virtual fitness buyers spend their money. There are three main ways: fitness accessories, fitness equipment, and fitness videos and virtual training. By knowing what the buyer will buy, businesses can better use their resources on things that will appeal to the online buyer in that soon to be $59 billion dollar industry.


Tap Into The Online Fitness Market

It has been made clear that the virtual fitness buyer is a valuable customer, one that the boutique fitness pro should be more aware of. With a 50 year history and tremendous growth, online fitness is a segment to start learning to serve. Understanding the values differences between the online buyer and the in-person buyer is the key because trying to cater to the virtual fitness buyer the same as in-person clients will not work. The self-starting nature of the online buyer means that they seek specific solutions rather than wanting to work with an instructor to find the correct path forward. Being aware of these differences, means you will be able to tailor your content and your approach so that you can appeal to this new buyer type and as result begin to capitalize on an incredibly valuable opportunity for additional revenue streams from a previously untapped market.

About the author 

Mark Firehammer

When is he is not creating content for Pilates Business Pros, or training business owners to be better marketers, you can find him playing with his cats, working in his metal and woodworking shop or sharing a meal and a bottle of wine with friends.

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