Moving into 2017, marketers should expect the fitness industry to continue booming. Consumers are increasingly fueled by a desire to get in shape, and brands have met them with a surge in fitness-friendly gadgets and athletic apparel to make living a fit lifestyle easier than ever. Interest in fitness is especially piqued in and around the holiday season, as the juxtaposition of holiday over-consumption and New Year’s resolutions collides.
Using Hitwise’s AudienceView tool, we created a segment of Fitness Buffs to go deeper into their mindset and consumer journey. The segment includes people with a strong propensity toward a fit lifestyle – it combines audiences who purchased or frequented websites for athletic apparel, fitness trackers or workout equipment, and who expressed fitness-positive attitudes via surveys. Some key findings:
1) They Skew Female, Affluent and Age 35 – 44
Fitness Buffs are comprised of 55% women, with the median age being 44. The top indexing age bracket amongst both males and females is 35-44, followed by 25-34. Variation by gender is observed within the 18-24 age bracket; women are 20% less likely to belong to this group than the average person, while men are 12% less likely to belong to this age bracket than the average person.
Fitness Buffs are 49% more likely to have a household income of 100K+. They are also 81% more likely than the average person to belong to the Mosaic group classified as ‘Power Elites’, which is comprised of the most affluent audience segment.
2) Strongly Attached to Mobile Devices
Fitness Buffs are highly reliant on social media and mobile devices. These patterns can help brands better understand how this segment can be reached across devices.
The data reveals that Fitness Buffs rely heavily on their cell phone for their personal identity, and to stay connected with others. They are 45% more likely than the average person to strongly agree that their cell phone is an expression of who they are. They are 23% more likely than the average person to agree that their cell phone connects them to their social world.
Their mobile attachment provides advertising opportunities; Fitness Buffs are 25% more likely to agree that they are likely to purchase products advertised on their cell phones.
3) Deep Trust in Social Media Reviews
Fitness Buffs are not only extremely engaged with social media, they are apt to share their thoughts and consumer reviews with others. They are 95% more likely to pay attention to ratings and reviews posted online by other consumers and 94% more likely to follow their favorite brands or companies on social sharing/networking websites.
They are also open to bringing these online discussions offline, which can prove extremely powerful for marketers able to reach this segment via social media; Fitness Buffs are 36% more likely to talk about things they see on social sharing and networking websites in face-to-face conversations, which means that their trust in social media translates to actionable ‘real world’ conversations and interactions.
4) Heavy Media Consumption, Often Through Mobile
Fitness Buffs are 40% more likely than the average person to rely on their cell phone to keep up with news and sports. Amongst the top 5 industries that Fitness Buffs visited, News and Media ranks number 5. Ranking at the top of their frequently visited media sites are Reddit, CNN and Fox News.
5) Brand Affinities Skew Athletic and Outdoor (Think REI and BassPro)
When looking at Fitness Buff’s engagement with the sports and fitness industry, a number of expected apparel sites pop up, including Nike and Under Armor. “Outdoorsy” sports sites such as Dick’s Sport Goods, REI and Basspro.com also ranked high, revealing that perhaps there is a subset of fitness buffs that are deeply interested in outdoor activities centered around camping, hiking and fishing. Highly searched terms by this segment include “cabelas”, “fitbit”, “rei”, and “bass pro shop”.
As the Fitness Industry continues to gain momentum and more health clubs and gyms open up worldwide, understanding the motivations and behaviors of Fitness Buffs becomes increasingly relevant. In order to capture this affluent audience, marketers should consider ways to cross-market between active outdoor lovers and gym rats, and continue reaching more female fitness buffs (who represent the largest gender demographic). Brands should also take note of Fitness Buffs’ attachment to social media and mobile devices – and their interest in tracking fitness through Fitbits. This suggests the fitness industry will continue to go heavily digital, social and mobile over the coming years.