(Editor's Note: This sponsored story is part of Club Industry's report, "Fitness Industry Trends to Watch in 2021," which can be downloaded for free by going here.)
After a volatile year in fitness, as digital exploration and integration continue to accelerate, appropriate pricing is on operators’ minds. To understand your business’s best pricing, it’s important to understand where you fit in the overall digital fitness market. Digital fitness is an approximately $1 billion market today and is expected to grow to $10 billion to 15 billion, suggesting only a 7 percent to 10 percent penetration to date. A recent report by L.E.K. Consulting noted that nearly 60 percent of digital fitness subscribers who are also commercial gym members increased time spent at the gym as a result of consuming digital fitness products. A Mindbody survey found that 46 percent of respondents plan to make virtual fitness classes a regular part of their routine, and 40 percent are trying new studios they’ve never physically attended.
The data supports adopting a hybrid fitness model. Digital will be a complement to in-person options (versus a substitution) as well as a potential stand-alone product that leads to member acquisition. A product plan and pricing structure that allows subscribers to benefit from combining digital with an in-person experience or as a stand-alone product will serve you best.
There are two options for product plan and pricing structures: stand-alone pricing and bundled pricing.
Two content delivery options exist for stand-alone pricing: livestream and on-demand.
1. Livestream. In 2020, livestreaming was an immediate solution to replace revenue, provide workouts and create community. Although many clubs initially offered free workouts, pricing evolved to offer monthly or annual subscriptions, or paying per class. Leveraging both offerings works well in hybrid models.
Monthly livestream memberships began at $20 but quickly increased to as much as $60 per month for niche studio offerings. Annual memberships usually discount one or two months to incentivize longer-term commitments. Pay-per-class rates began at $20 per class but are trending down toward a $10 to $15 fee.
2. On-demand. On-demand workout content reigns supreme. Although certain members appreciate the structure and accountability of livestream, most online fitness enthusiasts prefer the flexibility and convenience of on-demand workouts.
On-demand memberships for many stand-alone brands are $15 to $30 per month depending on the workout library’s size and, again, a one- to two-month discount for annual plans. A sweet spot for audio, video and even some integrated fitness memberships is $20 per month. On-demand price points have changed little during the past few years.
Depending on your offerings, you most likely want to bundle your membership. Whether you include digital fitness within established price points or charge more depends on factors such as the volume of workouts in your library, how often new content is released and app functionality.
Gyms have two common approaches: bundle digital fitness with existing in-club memberships for slightly higher membership rates or offer digital fitness plans as an add-on option. Many clubs adopting a hybrid model offer both. Prices range from $4.99 to $14.99 for add-on memberships, while bundled rates either remain the same for all-access members or increase between $4.99 to $9.99 per plan.
Ultimately, 2021 will be another critical year with fitness clubs, gyms and studios evolving to engage members in innovative ways. A long-term digital strategy is essential to capture more of the market demand. Digital content sparks engagement in your in-club business, serving to extend memberships in addition to attracting new members. Price accordingly.
Ashley Podoll is CMO at Intelivideo, a digital video platform that enables fitness operators to transform their business into a hybrid model. In her role as a leading marketing executive, Podoll works with international and national fitness franchises, social media influencers, gyms and health clubs, boutique fitness studios and coaching businesses to build a healthy, sustainable digital fitness offering.