I often entertain the thought of industry disruption. Who will be next?
A daunting thought, but having seen what has happened to the taxi industry and reading Grab Car co-founder’s LinkedIn post on how their 5-year old startup celebrated their 1 billionth ride across Southeast Asia – there’s plenty of food for thought in what lies ahead for other industries. The question is, which one?
I joined a gym back in the day. I felt my life changed when I signed on. I was a bunny during the first three months, patted myself on the back for using what I had paid three times a week. As the months dwindled with auto-debit dues in force, here was a subscription for a useful use of bathrooms to shower in between work and dinner outings. My main issue with the gym membership was one of human relationships. I didn’t feel I belonged and it wasn’t my fit. But that was personal. And like a bad relationship you yearn to get out of, I bode time.
Are health clubs and gyms a thing of the past?
In short, I’d say NO – but only if, only if there’s a major disruption to the industry. I keenly observe the Aussie/NZ fitness industry as it has been quite revolutionary, and inspirational. In fact, so inspirational that it’s sent ripples across the seas towards SEA as many Aussie fitness entrepreneurs have ventured towards the Asia side of the Pacific to expand their brands network. A few names to boot; Lorna Jane, Boost Juice, Dave Nuku of Fire Station & Michelle Bridges (Biggest Loser), F45, Bianca Cheah of Sporteluxe (funny that we’re distantly related!!), etc.
Fitness in Asia is fast catching up too, and the landscape is so different from just 2 years ago; evident in the increase in the number of health, fitness & sporting events across the region; from community events, fundraisers e.g. MERCY International Humanitarian Run which we created and organised, to sponsored events like Standard Chartered Marathon Races, OCBC Cycle Race, The AIA Music Run, Reebok Spartan, Ironman – they’re all in the region.
One would think – hey, won’t these people who sign up for these runs and events need more training, hence head to the gym more? Truth is, people are moving out of gyms and into parks, workplace workouts and fitness events. Zumba after work is a norm now. It’s no wonder startups like Classpass, Guavapass or KFit have started disrupting the big gym brands. Consumers have more choice, and get a better deal – so why not support a smaller but personal establishment?
I worked on a PR campaign for a big gym franchise 9 years ago and that was eye opening. I had ideas then, but they didn’t fly. They seem to be flying now.