skip to Main Content

How Gen Z are Killing Your Fitness Brand (And How to Turn the Tide)

In the fast-paced world of fitness and leisure, staying relevant is a constant challenge. For many fitness brands, the rise of Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012) poses both a significant threat and a remarkable opportunity. Known for their digital savviness, health consciousness, and social awareness, Gen Z’s preferences and behaviours are reshaping industries—including fitness. Here’s how Gen Z might be killing your fitness brand and what you can do to turn the tide.


Digital Disconnect

Gen Z has grown up with technology at their fingertips. They expect seamless digital experiences and constant connectivity. If your fitness brand lacks a strong online presence or offers a clunky, outdated app, you’re likely losing Gen Z customers to more tech-savvy competitors.


Solution: Invest in a mobile-friendly, user-centric app and website. Offer online booking, virtual classes, and easy access to schedules and membership details. Integrate social media for seamless sharing and engagement where possible.

Lack of Personalisation

This generation values personalised experiences. If your fitness programs and services feel generic or one-size-fits-all, Gen Z will quickly lose interest.


Solution: Use data analytics to offer personalised workout plans and class recommendations. Create targeted promotions based on individual user preferences and behaviours.


Ignoring Social Media

Gen Z lives on social media, using platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat to discover and share experiences. If your brand isn’t leveraging these platforms effectively, you’re missing a critical channel for engagement.


Solution: Develop a robust social media strategy. Post engaging content, collaborate with influencers, and create shareable moments within your fitness centre. Encourage members to share their workouts and achievements online.


Overlooking Ethical and Sustainable Practices

Gen Z cares deeply about social and environmental issues. Brands that fail to address these concerns can appear out of touch and unappealing.


Solution: Highlight your commitment to sustainability and ethical practices. Implement eco-friendly initiatives and promote them. Engage in community projects and ensure transparency in your operations.


Failure to Foster Community

Community and connection are vital to Gen Z. If your fitness brand doesn’t foster a sense of belonging and community, you risk alienating this demographic.


Solution: Create opportunities for social interaction within your fitness centre. Offer group classes, community events, and social spaces. Develop online forums or groups where members can connect and share their fitness journeys.


Outdated Payment and Membership Models

Gen Z values flexibility and convenience, especially when it comes to spending money. Rigid membership contracts and inflexible payment options are major turn-offs.


Solution: Offer flexible membership plans, such as pay-as-you-go options, short-term memberships, and student discounts. Make the payment process as seamless and straightforward as possible.

Neglecting Virtual and On-Demand Options

The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards virtual fitness. Gen Z expects the option to work out anytime, anywhere. If your brand doesn’t offer virtual or on-demand classes, you’re likely missing out.


Solution: Develop a library of on-demand fitness content and offer live virtual classes. This flexibility caters to Gen Z’s on-the-go lifestyle and diverse preferences.


Something else to consider when catering for the Gen Z consumer:


When Gen Z is unhappy with a service, they tend to react swiftly and visibly. Here are some common ways they express their dissatisfaction:


Social Media Outcry

Gen Z is highly active on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat. They often take to these platforms to share their negative experiences, tagging the brand and using relevant hashtags. This public airing of grievances can quickly gain traction and attract attention.


Online Reviews

This generation relies heavily on online reviews when making purchasing decisions. When dissatisfied, they are likely to leave negative reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, or Trustpilot, detailing their complaints and warning potential customers.


Immediate Feedback

Gen Z values direct and instant communication. They often use live chat features, contact forms, or direct messages to immediately voice their concerns to the company. They expect quick and effective responses.


Creating Content

Gen Z is creative and tech-savvy. They might create content such as videos or memes highlighting their bad experiences and share them on platforms like TikTok or YouTube, potentially going viral and reaching a large audience.

Activism and Campaigns

If the issue pertains to ethical, social, or environmental concerns, Gen Z might engage in or initiate campaigns against the brand. They are known for their activism and willingness to advocate for causes they believe in.



Despite their digital habits, word-of-mouth remains powerful. Gen Z will share their negative experiences with friends, family, and peers, both online and offline, potentially deterring others from engaging with the brand.


Boycott and Switch

If the service is particularly poor or if the company fails to address their concerns adequately, Gen Z is quick to abandon the brand in favour of competitors. They have little loyalty to brands that do not meet their expectations.


How to Mitigate Negative Reactions:


Prompt Response

Address complaints quickly and publicly to show that you value customer feedback and are committed to resolving issues.



Be honest about mistakes and outline clear steps being taken to rectify the situation.


Engage on Social Media

Actively monitor social media channels and engage with customers to address their concerns in real-time.


Offer Solutions

Provide tangible solutions, such as refunds, replacements, or other forms of compensation, to unhappy customers.


Improve Services

Use feedback constructively to improve your services and prevent future dissatisfaction.


Personal Touch

Show empathy and personalise your response to make the customer feel heard and valued.


Turning the Tide:


By understanding and addressing these behaviours, businesses can better manage Gen Z’s reactions and turn negative experiences into opportunities for improvement and customer loyalty.


While Gen Z’s unique preferences might seem like a challenge, they also offer a blueprint for innovation and growth. By understanding and adapting to their needs, your fitness brand can not only survive but thrive. Embrace technology, foster community, prioritise sustainability, and offer personalised, flexible experiences. In doing so, you’ll not only win over Gen Z but also future-proof your brand in an ever-evolving industry.


Stay tuned for more insights and strategies form Xn Leisure to keep your fitness brand ahead of the curve. Let’s turn these challenges into opportunities together!

To find out how Xn Leisure could help you improve your gym business, please contact us via

Back To Top