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The New Consumer Groups Post-COVID

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New Consumer Groups

The impact on our industry because of COVID-19 has been nothing short of game-changing. However, that does not mean we are finished. Better yet, this is an opportunity to make a truly meaningful impact on our members’ lives and our communities. As we enter into 2021, I believe we are dealing with three specific new consumer groups: 

Group One: Fallen Off the Wagon 

When everything shut down there were several shifts or pivots people made. Some stopped exercising all together, while others ventured outside or to digital alternatives to clubs. Today, we are seeing hybrid forms of exercise and activities. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, most regular exercisers decreased their average daily activity, hence why many saw an increase in weight gain.  

Group Two: Reluctant Stragglers 

Since reopening, many of the active users have returned. It’s the less active exercises I’m worried about. Many have lapsed back into old habits or withdrawn from exercise during the last several months from fear or lack of motivation. Simply put, we need to rebuild consumer confidence. This group may also be the higher risk population — those who need us the most as a means to mitigate disease. 

Group Three: The New Marketplace 

Finally, we are seeing the stragglers, or maybe the new marketplace, come back because they know it is time to get in shape. Remember, health has become the new wealth. The alternatives are no longer as effective as once thought. Maybe they miss the socialization or the pain of change in their bodies has tipped over enough to outweigh the fears and concerns. Whatever it may be, they need to know we are safe and worthwhile. We need to deliver on our commitment and share the value of clubs. We need to engage them every time they come in, reinforce they made the right decision and encourage them to help spread the word for us. 

At the start of 2021, all members will fall within one of these three new consumer groups — and maybe in more than one. However, members choose us because of who we are and what we have always done and delivered.

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Mark Miller

Mark Miller is the COO of Merritt Clubs.

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