• Gyms and spas should target millennials, according to our research.

  • Consumers are taking care of themselves in myriad ways — whether that’s indulging in spa services or hitting the gym.

This is especially true for millennials, who use these services more than most. In order to discover what services they’re using and how open they are to marketing messages around them, we surveyed more than 1,700 consumers to gain insight into their habits and preferences.*

Our findings showed that self-care is deeply important to millennials. While 38% of all respondents reported having a massage in the past year, millennials indexed higher. More than half of millennials and 72% of millennial parents reported receiving a massage in the past year. Results were similar in terms of workout habits. The data showed that millennials are more likely to hit the gym to care for themselves than the overall sample (70% versus 50%), and, again, those numbers are even higher for millennial parents (82%).

It’s clear that group gym and spa services should be targeting this demographic, but millennial brand loyalty tends to be low, as this generation likes to try out new services. This is illustrated in the responses of millennial gym-goers: 56% of millennials and 63% of millennial parents said they had been members of “several gyms” over the last five years. Where spa services were concerned, most millennials said they were interested in learning about offers from competitors. Plus, nearly three-quarters of millennial parents and 63% of all millennials said that the right promotion could sway them to change massage service providers.

All these numbers add up to one thing: opportunity.

How to Tap Into This Valuable Target Market

Businesses offering wellness services need to find the best ways to tap into this group. The trick is figuring out the best ways to pique millennials’ interest and offering them something that spurs them to take action. To get started, we’ve identified a few best practices.

1. Offer discounts and coupons.
According the survey data, many millennial consumers, even those getting weekly massages, said they would be willing to switch providers for a good deal. They find deals and information through traditional marketing efforts, such as coupons in their mailboxes or digital ads, so these are good ways to reach out to this audience.

More than four in 10 millennial massage consumers (and 52% of millennial parents) said they don’t think about getting a massage until they see an ad for one, and 63% of millennials (and 69% of millennial parents) hold on to offers for up to several weeks until they make appointments. Additionally, more than 90% of millennials and millennial parents who are gym-goers say coupons or discounts influence their decision to join a new gym or class. Getting discounts and coupons in front of these folks can pay dividends.

2. Market the experience.
Consumers like to try out new things before committing to a membership or long-term commitment. They want to ensure they feel comfortable and that the experience will be a positive one for them and worth their hard-earned cash. That said, consider offering trial memberships.

Among the gym users, more than 80% of consumers (and even more millennials and millennial parents) said they would be influenced by a trial membership to join a new gym or fitness class. And for 72%, a trial with a personal trainer would influence them to join. This increases to more than 80% for millennials and millennial parents who frequent the gym.

Likewise, comfort is key for those getting massages. Approximately 40% of millennial massage consumers reported that “feeling at ease” was important when choosing where to get massages. Ultimately, it’s key to communicate the message that client comfort is a top priority.

3. Advertise year-round.
Although many consumers set New Year’s resolutions to get to the gym in January, the study found that 38% of gym or fitness center consumers are open to trying a new gym or starting a new class at any time of the year. In fact, millennial gym users are more likely to join a gym or new class right before or during the spring and summer months. And millennials who are parents are more likely to pursue something new right before a vacation or other free time.

4. Keep your customers by staying in contact.
Younger consumers are more than willing to take their business elsewhere if they get a good deal, so how are you going to get returning customers? It’s important to touch base with your existing customers often in order to keep them happy.

Sixty-eight percent of millennial gym-goers and 77% of millennial parents said they were more likely to frequent a gym that builds a relationship with them through regular communication. Keeping in touch with trends and knowing what this generation wants can help you build brand loyalty with millennials, knowing that these gym consumers are willing to pay more for new or interesting experiences (62% of millennials overall and 74% of millennial parents).

Figuring out where and how to spend marketing dollars is not always easy. Still, businesses offering services in the consumer self-care market — which is worth $450 billion, according to IRI — can learn a lot by checking out our research.

*“Awareness-to-Activation” Study, conducted by The NPD Group, 2019