As omnichannel fitness becomes richer and more complex, we expect health club operators to add metaverse products to the mix, for example, launching studios where members can exercise in gamified, immersive environments.
Home workouts connected to the same system will ensure members enjoy the fun and motivation of metaverse fitness, while still being emotionally invested in their club.
Fortune Business Insights expects the global market for VR gaming to grow from US$7.92bn in 2021, to US$53.44bn in 2028, with much of this growth coming from what it calls ‘exertainment’ – a combination of fitness, instructors, influencers and music.
Fitness is already the third-largest market in the metaverse, behind entertainment and retail and as it grows, health club applications will also include everything from club tours to avatar hangouts for members.
Avatar fashion is a coming thing, with Parsons School of Design launching an avatar fashion design course in 2023 where students can learn to design clothes for the metaverse.
Research by Roblox found consumers are prepared to spend hard cash on branded fashion for their avatar, valuing it as much, if not more, than real clothing and we expect to see fitness brands competing in this space.
Industry leaders are already forging ahead with the creation of immersive experiences and in recent weeks, global fitness giant, Les Mills, brought its Live spectacular to London, filming the entire event in VR, ready for use on its metaverse platform (see page 25).
Les Mills will now make Les Mills Live available in VR, in addition to its existing Bodypump VR workout – launched in partnership with Odders Lab and currently the most popular fitness VR game in the world.
Hardware is also evolving, with things such as multi-directional treadmills being developed, while new entrants include Byte Dance, owner of Tik Tok, which acquired Pico, and is rolling out its headset and Playstation and Apple which will launch headsets in 2023.
We also expect to see developments such as sweatproof, self-sterilising headsets, meaning in-club options can include intensive workouts such as HIIT – something that’s hard to deliver at scale with current models.
All this, coupled with opportunities for globalisation, means disruption caused by metaverse partnerships is only just beginning.