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The Fifth Digital Era Of Wellbeing Will Create Huge Market Opportunities. Will You Be Ready?

As you might have noticed, I’ve been writing a lot about the fitness industry and the broader marketplace of wellness, wellbeing, or as others have called it, betterment. My focus has been on a number of subjects including the increasing relevance of data, the importance of personalized member experiences, the trend of frictionless commerce, and more. Hopefully, you have found it interesting and helpful to think about.

The overarching theme, of course, is the impact technology is and will continue to have on the gym, health club, fitness and wellbeing market space, which will create opportunities and challenges. This is a big part of the discussions we are having with industry experts on our Fitness Industry Innovation Podcast.

During the past several years, I have reflected on these subjects and talked to and learned from leaders throughout the industry. What is becoming more apparent to me is that these trends in the market are really part of something even larger than we might be realizing. Frankly, it is exciting and somewhat daunting at the same time.

Jeremiah Owyang has been writing about the emerging fifth digital phase which he calls modern wellbeing shown in his titled graphic above. As Jeremiah alludes to, eras happen in overlapping waves; they don’t start and stop, they overlay and interact with each other. He shares the example of the Collaborative Economy era (think Uber) which will soon become the Autonomous World era, (think self-driving cars). What results from this layering is that sometimes what is happening is not really clear. As we all know change in the world does not happen in a linear manner; it can take different twists and turns. Here is some of Jeremiah’s writing about the modern wellbeing era which I found very interesting:

“Over a decade ago I was analyzing how social technology democratized information, forever changing communications, media, marketing, and even governments. About five years ago, I dove in deep on the Collaborative/Sharing Economy, where yet again, technology empowered humans to take commerce into their own hands. They could get what they needed from peers. Both of these trends continue to also have an impact on the economy, society, human interactions and beyond. Now I see yet another movement – the Modern Wellbeing market, which enables humans to take healthcare, mental care, physical care, directly into their own hands. They are (for better or for worse) self-analyzing their bodies and minds with consumer technologies and relying on each other, and emerging AI systems to self-prescribe ways to help them be healthier, improve their mood, and beyond.”

As we contemplate the current state of fitness, gyms, health clubs, and wellbeing, what Jeremiah’s thesis means for all of us is the chance to figure out how to be part of a marketplace which is growing substantially and will be profoundly larger and more varied in the future as compared to what it is today. This will require a great deal of strategic thinking by organizations currently in the industry space of fitness and wellbeing because the decisions that are being made about the future today could create huge opportunities or result in missed opportunities. Strategy really comes down to the choices we make considering the future as the video below will attest.


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Rita McGrath, the Columbia professor, author, and expert on strategy is right when she shares her views on the impact of digital and the pace of change. She believes these dynamics require us to reconsider effective strategy and how to actually compete in markets that are being transformed as our industry is, both according to what I know we are seeing and what Jeremiah believes, which I tend to agree with.

That is why it is so important for me personally and for our colleagues and industry, in general, to think about the future and ask ourselves important questions like “how can we be relevant and compete in the fifth era of modern wellbeing?”.


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What do you think about the era of modern wellbeing and Mr. Owyang’s work? I’d love to hear your views. Navigating the big market opportunities that will appear in the coming years as a result of these megatrends is important to your business and future. Please contact me or the team at  ABC Financial if we can be of help in supporting you as you plan to compete now and tomorrow.


Kelly Card is the Senior Vice President of Partner Relations at ABC Financial. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and is the Co-Founder of Industry FIT. Kelly has over twenty years of experience in health club, gym, and fitness operations and co-founded and was President of Club-Apps, which was acquired by Netpulse in 2014. You can reach her and follow @theKellyCard on Facebook & Twitter. Connect with and follow @IndustryFit for the latest in fitness trends and technology as well.