How Megatrends are redefining the industry by changing consumer behaviours.
Sport is more than ever a lifestyle and one of the most important topics of the 21st century. But the way we perceive and define sport is going through enormous transformation processes. These changes are caused by megatrends like individualization, health, mobility, new work, connectivity and globalization. Megatrends not only have a global impact, but they are continuously affecting every part of our daily life. So called Zeitgeist trends develop from these megatrends. Phenomena, which have a deep impact on our society and cultural behavior.
5 thesis to be taken into account for the successful future of the sport industry:
It’s a result of the megatrend mobility that we prospectively will live more than ever in a „in transit society“. Whole parts of formal fixed located, everyday routines happen already between two places, from phone calls to eating habits, from meetings to work sessions. People are continuously on the go. And time is luxury. Being active must blend in with the mobile and flexible lifestyle. Sport and fitness must address the people where they are: On the go. Sportspeople are thankful for every intransit- service, which enables them to be physically active and train wherever they are and whenever they have time. It might be on a journey, between two appointments or at their accommodation.
New ways of communication and a new approach to a mobile and flexible lifestyle is challenging classic sport clubs and fitness centers. People can no longer commit to a long-term relationship or a contract. They like to be social, but on their conditions. They even like to engage voluntarily, but just on temporary projects. They connect more often in informal sport communities, which they can join whenever their daily life allows it. And wherever they happen to be at that moment. This is especially relevant for everybody between twenty-something and fiftyplus. The so called middle-ager wish to be more physically active, but work and life limits their capacities. The convenience factor plays an everincreasing role for them. Especially in an era when mobility and flexibility are omnipresent.
New healthy lifestyles do not exclude the enthusiasm for consumption, technology, new media – and new types of buying or shopping. Fitbit, Garmin and Apple Watch are already common health tools. They have changed our way of exercising and how we track our daily life. But future smartwatches, activity trackers and wearables will be able to do a lot more than just track, motivate and remind: Next generation wearables will give the individual hobby athlete advice on how to train and exercise correctly. Woven in textures of sportswear from sole to cap and even in sporting tools like balls and paddles, they will be able to take over the role of a trainer and coach. Future wearables can monitor whether movements are done properly and will give specific feedbacks. So they are both able to improve the individual performance and also prevent possible injuries from training without an actual coach.
From Alex, Sire & Co. to daily life communications and networking with digital tools: Already today we live in a world where the gap between analog and digital life decreases. Innovations like virtual and – maybe even more – augmented reality are pushing this development. The 2 year old phenomena of chasing Pokémons with smartphones might be one of the most popular examples how physical activity and digitalization were nearly naturally combined. Also new connected wearables, sport gadgets and fitness machines close the gap between onlineoffline. But it’s not only the new network between human beings and machines which will scape future real-digital sport experiences. Technology has given people enormous potential to get in touch which each other. Non-organised sport communities are rising all over the world. It is important to get in touch with these sport lifestyles through their current channels.
More than ever before, today’s society offers the possibility to overcome social and cultural limitations. People can choose their own lifestyle, adapt and change it if necessary. This mindset is also influencing terms like sport, fitness and exercising. Every individual may have a different understanding of physical activity and a different motive to get active. For the sport industry it’s therefore absolutely necessary to know and address the different needs and mindsets of future customers. Motives range from pro-active fandom to creative, geeky exercise ideas. Some people might just need some slow form of physical activity like walking or Tai Chi, whilst others use sport products to be stylish and for show. Other motives are health reasons, desire for community, a better performance or an adrenalin boost. And the same customer might have different motives in different situations, so it’s always important to know their current, moment by moment situation. Individualization will continue. For producers, retailers and service providers, this development implies a stronger focus on services and products which are tailored to specific situations.
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This article was originally published in the WFSGI magazine, by Anja Kirig, Keynote Speaker, Author, Trend Expert.
Anja Kirig has been working as a trend researcher since 2005. Since 2014 she is intensively researching the changing sports and fitness perception. Other focal points of her work are tourism and leisure, health and nutrition, sustainability and gender. Her focus lies always on socio-cultural developments and their effects on lifestyles and the resulting new structures of need.
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