Opportunities and repositioning of the fitness and health industry

Prof. Dr. Sarah Kobel heads the market research department of the DHfPG and, thanks to her research projects, is very familiar with the needs of studio operators and fitness clients. In an interview with fitness MANAGEMENT international, she explains what opportunities can be derived for the industry from the results of the “German fitness industry key data 2022”.

Prof. Dr. Sarah Kobel at the key data interview

Prof Dr sarah kobel He received his doctorate from the Institute for Consumer and Behavioral Research at the University of Saarland. Since October 2018 she has been a research associate at the German University for Prevention and Health Management (DHfPG) and has headed the market research department since January 2021. Since then, she has accompanied various market studies between study operators and clients of fitness for research projects.

fM: The “key data of the German fitness industry” is one important “business card” for the fitness and health industry and their companies. Why are they alone in these uncertain? Are reliable data and key market figures that important to the industry, also with regard to external representation?

Sarah Kobel: Reliable data and market indicators are important at all times. Especially in the crisis, industry players need to know where they stand, not so much as an individual company, but in the industry as a whole.

Only when I can rely on reliable data, can I also choose the right strategy for the future in order to successfully get through this difficult time.

However, such data is also highly relevant to public image. Let’s look at politics: If reliable data clearly shows where an industry is and how it has been weakened by the crisis, decision makers must of course ask themselves: “Can I support an industry that is so important to the health of the population. Do we really further weaken the fitness industry through the measures that are being decided, or does there finally have to be a rethink here?

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Has worked for the DHfPG and the DSSV in the past two years conducted several surveys in the industry. From his point of view, have certain trends intensified in the last year or have there been significant changes that are now also reflected in the “key data 2022”?

What we are seeing is the increasingly strong positioning in the health sector. And people’s health consciousness has also changed. However, the gap between the desire for a healthier life and a truly healthier life remains wide.

There is still a lot of potential here. In addition, the mental health factor and the positive effects of physical training on mental health are becoming more and more important.

What lessons can traders learn from the difficult Corona?years 2020 and 2021 move to their companies fit for the future?

Here we can relate to the previous question. The crisis has taught us something that we all know, namely that health is the greatest good. However, too many people are still not actively doing anything to improve their own health.


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Regular physical training has positive effects on physical and mental health. But that is not clear to many. Fitness and health facilities are still associated with many stereotypical ideas.

This image needs to change. Gyms and health facilities fulfill an important role as providers of health services. We invite you to further internalize this role and communicate it to the outside world.

The negative health side effects of the pandemic present the industry with increasing challenges. How do you assess the medium and long-term development opportunities for the industry from this point of view?

Like very, very good. Because even in the context of the pandemic, it should not be forgotten that the lack of exercise and the resulting diseases, e.g. B. Cardiovascular diseases – are among the most common causes of death in Germany.

In the long term, it should be possible to get more and more people to exercise regularly, in the true sense of the word.

Our data shows that people who were unable to exercise regularly due to lockdowns felt significantly worse, both mentally and physically. These people are now more and more aware of the importance of physical training for their health.

People who don’t exercise regularly can and should be persuaded to reconsider. The industry as a health care provider has a duty here. Lack of exercise is poison to the body, and it’s important to take action on it.

So both the economic opportunities for the industry and the health opportunities for the population are good!

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