Q&A with Amaya Becvar Weddle, Ph.D., Vice President, Research & Product Marketing, Mindbody, a leading technology platform for the wellness industry
VP, Research & Forecasting, GWI, Beth McGroarty: You’ve been doing fascinating research with your tens of thousands of wellness, fitness, spa and beauty businesses–and the millions of clients they serve–on how COVID-19 is changing the wellness consumer’s behavior. What findings have most surprised you?
Amaya Weddle: Let’s step back to the moment pre-pandemic. Last year, we were starting to see a lot of big digital fitness and at-home fitness equipment makers rushing in. So, at our August 2019 BOLD conference, I delivered a state-of-the-industry talk. Is the digital fitness wave a real threat to boutique fitness? Is video going to kill the studio star? We released research on boutique fitness consumers that revealed that digital and in-studio fitness were far more complementary than cannibalistic. At that point, that consumer wasn’t embracing virtual much; a mere 7% live streamed workouts. I argued then digital doesn’t seem to be a serious threat, and the boutique fitness consumer would never give up that authentic community experience.
One would expect that when the fitness storefronts shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic, that we would see a digital switch, but what has surprised me the most is just how dramatic that has been. Our April research showed that a whopping 85% of consumers reported attending live stream classes on at least a weekly basis during COVID-19. That is simply incredible! \Read More