Fitness & Gen Z: How Brands Can Attract and Retain the New Generation

June 5, 2024

Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is rewriting the rules of the fitness industry. With over 68 million members in the U.S. alone, Gen Z isn't just the largest generation – they're the ultimate trendsetters. Their digital-first mindset and unique approach to health and wellness are shaking up how fitness brands engage with their audience. For brands looking to stay ahead, understanding and connecting with Gen Z is not just important, it’s critical.

This article dives into the strategies that will help fitness brands win over Gen Z. We'll explore how to meet their distinct needs and leverage cutting-edge technological trends, including AI. Gen Z demands more than just a workout – they crave experiences that are personalized, convenient, and tech-savvy. By tapping into these desires, fitness brands can create a lasting impact and build a loyal Gen Z following. Let’s uncover the secrets to capturing the hearts and minds of this dynamic generation.

Call me a Zoomer!

It’s a fact. Gen Z also called Zoomers are the primary consumers today. There are a few things to know about their consumption habits if you want to effectively engage with them:

  1. Unlike Millennials, who brought holistic health into the mainstream, Gen Z makes it practical, integrating wellness seamlessly into their daily routines. For them, fitness and wellness are not optional extras—they are essential components of life.
  2. This tech-savvy generation thrives on personalization and convenience. They grew up with smartphones and social media, making them digital natives who eagerly embrace new technologies like wearable devices and AI-powered fitness apps. They crave workouts that are tailored to their individual needs and fit effortlessly into their fast-paced, connected lives.
  3. Sustainability is a big deal for Gen Z. They gravitate towards products and practices that are built to last and have a meaningful impact. They are not just consumers; they are innovators and entrepreneurs, constantly seeking out brands and solutions that align with their values and make a difference in the world.
  4. Zoomers, or Generation Z, are notably cautious spenders due to growing up during economic uncertainties like the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. They prioritize value, often extensively researching and using price comparison tools before making purchases. Preferring brands with transparent pricing and flexible services, they seek cost-effective options and shy away from long-term financial commitments.

Gen Z: Driving the evolution in the fitness industry

Gen Z is not merely participating in the fitness industry; they are spearheading a transformative movement. As the largest generational cohort, their influence is significant, but it’s their innovative habits and fresh approaches to fitness that are truly reshaping the industry. They are redefining traditional workout paradigms and introducing new trends that are revolutionizing how fitness is practiced and perceived.

  • A Staggering Engagement: Over 30% of Gen Zers make regular visits to fitness facilities, with 36% hitting their workout routines at least once a week.
  • Versatility in Fitness: An impressive 70% of them blend their workouts, toggling between in-gym and out-of-gym sessions, showcasing their adaptability.

The surge in their digital fitness engagement is not just a trend but a significant market shift. From a substantial $6.04 billion in 2020, the digital fitness market is projected to balloon to an astonishing $59.23 billion by 2027. This growth trajectory is largely fueled by Gen Z’s tech-savviness:

  • App Adoption: They led a 47% global increase in fitness app downloads in 2020, reflecting a clear preference for digital-first solutions.
  • Tech Integration: With 44% of Gen Zers sporting a smartwatch or fitness tracker, their engagement goes beyond casual use to a deep integration of technology in their fitness lifestyles.

By targeting this tech-forward and health-conscious demographic, brands can not only tap into a booming market but also cultivate long-term loyalty. For businesses in the fitness sector, understanding and adapting to the preferences of Gen Z isn’t just a strategy—it’s essential for future growth.

Strategies to Attract and Retain Gen Z 

To effectively attract and retain Gen Z consumers, fitness brands should implement the following strategies:

  • Authenticity and Honest Communication:some text
    • In a world saturated with promotional content, Gen Z values transparency and honesty above all. Fitness brands need to focus on communicating the tangible benefits of their products and services clearly and directly. Avoid making inflated claims. Instead, highlight real, achievable results and provide straightforward explanations of how these outcomes are attained. Showcasing user testimonials and case studies can further enhance credibility and trust.
  • Digital Integration and Innovation:some text
    • For Gen Z, technology is an integral part of daily life. Fitness brands can capitalize on this by integrating cutting-edge technologies like AI and motion tracking into their offerings. These tools not only modernize the fitness experience but also allow for the collection of precise data, which can be used to create personalized workout plans that adapt to each user’s progress and preferences. This kind of innovation not only attracts tech-savvy users but also enhances their engagement by making fitness both fun and effective.
  • Engagement and Personalization:some text
    • Personalization is not just a feature—it's a necessity for engaging Gen Z. This generation expects fitness solutions that cater specifically to their individual needs and lifestyles. Brands should leverage technology to offer customizable fitness programs that users can modify according to their personal goals, preferences, and schedules. Further, interactive elements such as virtual competitions or community challenges can stimulate engagement, fostering a sense of community and belonging among users.


Gen Z is a pivotal demographic for the fitness industry. Their unique preferences and digital savviness require brands to adapt and innovate. By understanding Gen Z's needs and integrating digital tools like AI, fitness brands can attract and retain this valuable audience. Embracing these changes not only drives growth but also positions brands as leaders in a rapidly evolving market.

Fitness brands that successfully connect with Gen Z will not only thrive today but will also pave the way for future innovation and differentiation in the fitness industry.

Ella Binder

Head of Marketing

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