What tech trends in 2022 will be key to supporting people to be active? The team at Sport Tech Hub are seeing many opportunities in the sport and fitness technology space, in which many of the ventures within our Sport Tech Hub Community are excelling in.
In part one of our Sports and Fitness Tech Trends for 2022 series, Aimée Palmer explores the 'Metaverse of Fitness', 'The Great Outdoors', and 'Move-to-earn.'
Into the Metaverse
In 2021, the metaverse was being increasingly mentioned as the future of the internet. As we head into 2022, global sports and fitness brands are making moves into the metaverse, activating their Web3 strategies through gamification.
The metaverse is the perfect platform for fitness companies to explore the intersection of fitness and gaming. Peloton plan to launch Lanebreak in 2022, an interactive game, controlled using the Peloton Bike. Peloton will launch this feature with the ambition to attract new audiences, as well as encouraging current members to spend more time on their bike.
Many of the ventures in our Sport Tech Hub community are excelling in the gamification space, making fitness a fun and engaging experience. The success of gamified fitness and the growing impact of the metaverse is sparking a new generation of immersive workouts.
While accessibility to the metaverse of fitness comes with a cost, this may be the beginning of the new era of fitness. It may be a few years before it is accessible to all, however, to continue to attract new tech-driven generations into fitness, the metaverse may be the future.
The Great Outdoors
Since the pandemic began, the industry has looked towards nature to act as a health and fitness environment. Whether it was the flurry of new-found runners throughout the first lockdown, travel restrictions leading to domestic tourism and increasing interest in hiking and trail routes, or simply the safety that an outdoor training session brings, the great outdoors is an ever-growing opportunity for sports and fitness technology.
The proof is in the numbers. In Strava’s 2021 Year in Sport report showing that the pandemic-era outdoor sports boom isn’t slowing down. According to their data, all types of activity saw huge growth in 2021, with walking growing 2.0x and hiking seeing a 1.7x growth.
This trend can be seen globally. In a worldwide survey of fitness trends, outdoor activities ranked in the#1 spot in 2022, having climbed from the #13 spot in 2020 and #17 in 2019.
Global investors are following these trends and looking towards technology that is getting people active outdoors. AllTrails, an outdoor activities app, secured a whopping $150m investment from British Investment firm Permira camping, highlighting the value in the outdoor activity market.
Incentives and reward schemes are a well-recognised driver for productivity, seen in childhood learning, the workplace, and even local coffee shops. Over the past number of years, more and more sport and fitness apps have been deploying reward schemes to encourage physical activity.
According to London Sport research, a large part of the adult population in London faces the motivational challenge of committing to regular exercise. Studies have found that this demographic need incentives to actively participate in exercise.
Last year, the UK government announced its plans to launch a ‘health incentive scheme’, planning to offer financial rewards to motivate the UK population to exercise more.
The UK government aren’t the first of its kind to do so, with the example of the National Step Challenge in Singapore, where participants earned vouchers as a result of meeting daily step count targets. This was a government initiative to keep their population healthy and active.
Across multi-generations, incentives are needed for those inconsistently involved in exercise to remain engaged in physical activity. Apps that gamify health and fitness and can provide monetary rewards have seen the benefits, including the likes of Sweatcoin. Last year Sweatcoin partnered with the NHS South West London Health & Care Partnership to encourage pre-diabetic patients to exercise, through using their app.
Looking at younger generations, in a world where Gen-Z are growing up with online banking, instant gratification through social media and increasing interest in crypto currencies, instant rewards and results for their behaviours is what keeps them engaged. We may see an increased demand for reward schemes as younger generations become the dominant users in the health and fitness market.