Opportunities and repositioning of the fitness and health industry

Prof. Dr. Sarah Kobel heads the market research department at DHfPG and, thanks to her research projects, is very familiar with the needs of study operators and fitness customers. In an interview with fitness MANAGEMENT international, she explains what opportunities can be deduced for the industry based on the results of “key data from the German fitness industry 2022”.

Prof. Dr. Sarah Kobel received his doctorate from the Department of Consumer and Behavioral Research at the University of Saarland. Since October 2018, she has been a research assistant at the German University of Prevention and Health Management (DHfPG) and has since January 2021 led the market research department there. Since then, she has followed numerous market research among studio operators and fitness clients for research projects.

fM: “Key data from the German fitness industry” is one important “business card” for the fitness and health industry and their companies. Why is straight in these uncertain Are reliable data and market key figures so important for the industry, also in terms of external representation?

Sarah Koebel: Reliable data and market indicators are important at all times. Especially in the crisis, the players in the industry need to know where they stand – less as an individual company, but in the industry as a whole.

Only when I can rely on reliable data can I also choose the right strategy for the future to successfully overcome this difficult time.

However, such data is also of great relevance to the public image. Let’s look at politics: If reliable data clearly shows where an industry stands and how it has been weakened by the crisis, decision-makers must, of course, ask themselves: “Can I support an industry that is as important to the health of the population as we are? in fact, does the fitness industry weaken further through measures that are being decided, or should a new way of thinking finally take place here? ”

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You have previously worked for DHfPG and DSSV two years conducted several surveys in the industry. From your point of view, have certain trends intensified in the last year, or have there been significant changes, which are now also reflected in “key data 2022”?

What we are seeing is the ever stronger positioning in the healthcare sector. And people’s health awareness has also changed. However, the gap between the desire for a healthier life and an actually healthier life is still large.

There is still great potential here. In addition, the factor mental health and the positive effects of fitness training on mental health are increasingly in focus.

What lessons can operators learn from the difficult Coronayears 2020 and 2021 move to their companies suitable for the future?

Here we can join the previous question. The crisis has taught us something we all actually know, namely that health is the greatest good. Yet too many people are still not actively doing anything to improve their own health.

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Regular physical exercise has positive effects on physical and mental health. But it is not clear to many. Fitness and health facilities are still associated with many stereotypical ideas.

This image needs to be changed. Fitness and health facilities fulfill an important task as health providers. Feel free to internalize this role even more and convey it to the outside world.

The negative health side effects of the pandemic face growing challenges for the industry. How do you assess the medium- to long-term development opportunities for the industry from this point of view?

As very, very good. For even on the basis of the pandemic, it must not be forgotten that lack of exercise and the consequent diseases – e.g. B. Cardiovascular disease – is among the most common causes of death in Germany.

In the long run, it should be possible to get more and more people to exercise regularly – in the true sense of the word.

Our data show that individuals who were unable to exercise regularly due to the closures felt significantly worse, both mentally and physically. These people have now become even more aware of how important fitness training is for their health.

People who do not exercise regularly can and should be persuaded to rethink. The industry as a healthcare provider has a duty here. Lack of exercise is toxic to the body – and it is important to take action against it.

Then both the economic opportunities for the industry and the health opportunities for the population are good!

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