Offering virtual fitness classes in your gym can drive significantly higher levels of member engagement and retention. This is one of the topline findings of new research conducted by global market leader Wexer.
The study of 1,400 members, published this month, found that 52.2% of virtual users visit the gym at least three times a week, and they stay longer too – 21% of virtual users have been a member of their current gym for more than one year, compared to only 15% of non-virtual users.
And while six out of 10 members said their decision to join the gym was influenced by the number of group exercise classes available, perhaps one of the most surprising findings was that four of those members specifically named the availability of virtual classes as an influencing factor in their decision to join.
The evidence is there: offering virtual fitness classes directly correlates with higher levels of customer acquisition, engagement and retention.
And there’s more evidence that continues to build this case. The average virtual class size has also more than doubled over the past three years: in 2016, around 55% of timetabled virtual classes had over seven participants, compared to just 5% in 2014.
Combine this larger class size with the fact that more clubs are offering more virtual classes, and that 75.7% of non-users say they’re likely to try virtual fitness in the future, and you have a market on a serious upwards trajectory.
Cardio HIIT remains the most popular category of virtual class, chosen by 67% of users, but in line with the growing interest in meditation and mindfulness, mind-body is also on the rise, now selected by 44% of users (compared to 38% in 2014).