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24 Aug 2017 Health Club Management Handbook
 

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31612 Health Club Management Handbook - Millennial mindset

Industry insights

From Health Club Handbook 2017 issue 1
Millennial mindset


Imke Schuller of the Futures Company looks at how the health and wellbeing industry can better connect with the opportunities and challenges facing Millennials

Imke Schuller, The Futures Company
Almost half of Millennials find it hard to ‘switch off’ Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Millennials feel pressured to share images of the progress they’re making in sculpting their ideal physical appearance Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
26 grains taps into Millennials’ desire to be first movers
Tribeca has tapped into the Millennial need for autonomy: no monthly fees and a wristband for quick check-in and payments

Born between 1979 and 1996, Millennials make up a quarter of the UK population. Compared with previous generations, they see the world as their oyster.

“They see new possibilities, new approaches to success, new ways of living that seemingly arrive daily,” explains Peter Rose, executive vp of global foresight and futures consultancy at Kantar Futures.

However, living in a globalised world also brings a spectrum of new pressures into their lives, bolstering the future potential of health and wellbeing brands trying to tap into this dynamic sector.

Understanding how they tick, uncovering their distinctive take on the world, their value system and how they differ from previous generations is at the heart of successful communication and engagement with the Millennial sector.

So, it’s time to explore some key connection points for health and fitness businesses working with this influential and increasingly wealthy group – and those who share the Millennial mindset.

SWITCHED ON
Millennials are always ‘on’. They live increasingly complex lives fuelled by digital technology. Their lifestyles are more fluid, with blurred boundaries between work and play, colleagues and friends. According to Global Monitor – Kantar Futures’ annual values and attitudes tracker of 16- to 34-year-olds – 43 per cent of UK Millennials feel pressured to be ‘always on’, compared with a 32 per cent national average.
They live in a world of stress and opposition – finding (and keeping) a job amid growing international competition, financial woes and the growing fear of not being able to climb the property ladder, let alone the ability to find a partner for life in the brave new world of Tinder and Grindr.

Millennials increasingly feel overwhelmed by choice and the speed of their daily lives: 48 per cent say they find it hard to ‘switch off‘ (compared with a 37 per cent national average). More and more, they lack the energy to do the things in their lives that really matter to them.

APPROVAL SEEKERS
Today’s ‘always on’ culture also means Millennials are always on display: 46 per cent say they feel the pressure to look good (compared with a 33 per cent national average), and looking attractive is seen as a sign of success by 69 per cent of this group. Beauty ideals are increasingly driven by global influences, such as beauty vloggers like Zoella and, as Vogue calls it, the “z-list celebrity culture” (the omnipresence of the Kardashians, for example).

The pressure is on for Millennials to constantly share images of their uniqueness and the progress they’re making in sculpting their ideal physical appearance. Hyper is an excellent example of this: a new social photo sharing app which allows (mainly Millennial) users to rate and rank photos of other users and even leave reviews of others’ hairstyles, tattoos and make-up. While apps such as Instagram, Snapchat and Vine tap into the desire to share one’s image, in-app filters and apps like FaceTune (the second top selling paid-for app in February 2016) allow Millennial users to shape their desired self-image.

This urge to share moments and images with others is driven by the need to earn approval and recognition. Forty-six per cent of Millennials want a large circle of friends (compared with a 29 per cent national average), as part of a growing desire to belong to a collective or tribe. Connecting with peers and being part of the community is an important part of Millennials’ identity: 82 per cent of Millennial Global Monitor respondents agree that “having great influence on your community” is a sign of success (compared with a 68 per cent national average).

HOLISTIC WELLBEING
The complexity and speed of modern life, combined with the pressures of digital self-promotion, increasingly leads Millennials to take a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing. This cohort really understands that wellbeing can be influenced by a multitude of factors, not just physical fitness.

Mental wellbeing is playing an ever larger role. Recent BBC research suggests that mental health is the biggest issue among Millennial women, and our research shows that 52 per cent of UK Millennials suffer from stress (compared with a 43 per cent national average). Almost two-thirds wish they had more energy. Millennials therefore take a variety of measures to establish balance in their increasingly hectic lives.

Physical exercise is still the main release mechanism (76 per cent of Millennials engage in physical activities, compared with a UK average of 58 per cent). But Millennials don’t rely on activity alone: meditation (42 per cent) and holistic wellbeing (35 per cent) are coming into the mix more than ever before.

MIRROR BRANDS
Not only is the Millennial attitude to health and wellbeing changing, but so is their interaction with brands – and their expectation of products and services from brands. They’re looking for authenticity in the way brands communicate: knowing what a brand stands for is increasingly important.

Previous generations looked for ‘badge’ brands they could display as signs of success, and as identifiers within their peer groups. But today’s youth looks for ‘mirror’ brands: those that represent the values Millennials hold dear, driving their desired need for identification and belonging.

An authentic health and wellbeing brand clearly communicates that it understands the complexities of modern Millennial life. It gives a sense of purpose, and ideally this is centred on community.

Brands like 26 grains take the idea of authenticity to the next level. Based in Neal’s Yard, London, the concept of 26 grains is to provide its mainly Millennial clients with an authentic vision of grain-based cooking. Based on the Scandinavian ‘Hygge’ concept – which roughly translates to ‘cosiness and comfort’ – 26 grains offers a wide range of ancient grains, alongside the cultural history of the produce and recipes that nurture body and mind.

26 grains taps into many Millennial desires in one fell swoop: the need to be first movers, to learn something new and to share this newly acquired knowledge with friends and the wider social circle; the longing to reconnect with the past, and to express their identity through experiences and experiments; and the aspiration to simultaneously nurture their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

AUTONOMY RULES
There’s also a strong desire to be autonomous. Millennials continuously strive to improve themselves and become the best possible version of themselves; this includes an improved physique as well as a balanced and healthy mind.

The flexibility and fluidity of their modern (most often urban) lives mean Millennials have a natural aversion to rigid, time-constrained interactions, including annual gym memberships and other such subscriptions.

Many London-based boutique fitness studios are drawing on this need for autonomy, providing access to customers’ favourite classes free from joining or monthly membership fees. Tribeca Studios is a good example, with its focus on “doing more of what makes you happy”, and a blog where members’ success stories are shared and a sense of community built. The club even uses high-tech wrist bands for check in and payment activities to maximise this sense of autonomy.

LEADER OF THE PACK
Millennials also desire authorship. The signs of success are evolving, and achievements like being considered an expert by friends or peer groups (87 per cent), being an entrepreneur (77 per cent) or being able to express your creativity (44 per cent) are the emerging markers.

Millennials expect health and wellbeing brands to participate in their desire for participation and their hunger for constant learning and continuous self-improvement – and to let the consumer contribute.


About the author

 

Imke Schuller
 

Since joining The Futures Company (rebranded Kantar Futures) as director innovation and head of client development EMEA, Imke Schuller has helped clients anticipate change in their operating environment and find new ways of adapting to an ever-evolving business context.

Imke.Schuller@thefuturescompany.com
@kantarfutures
www.thefuturescompany.com



Originally published in Health Club Handbook magazine 2017 issue 1

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