Fitness technology—in the form of apps, smartwatches, heart-rate monitors (HRMs), GPS tracking devices, and wearable activity trackers—is transforming the fitness industry at an unprecedented speed.
The devices, emerging and evolving over more than a decade, now have become as synonymous with health clubs as treadmills and free weights. They’re being used not only to track members’ performance and progress, but to attract prospects, engage members, and increase retention.
The groundbreaking Fitbit tracker was introduced in 2009, and since then the numbers associated with wearables—applications offered, total users, and tech giants leveraging—have multiplied rapidly. According to Statista.com, a major business-data platform, some 222 million units were shipped, worldwide, last year; and that figure is projected to hit 302.3 million by 2023.
In November, Google, the tech behemoth, made an offer to purchase Fitbit for $2.1 billion, a dramatic endorsement of wearables’ potential in a number of markets, including fitness, wellness, medicine, and healthcare.