In a way, meeting up with friends to take a workout class followed by a trip to a matcha cafe has become the new bar scene, much to the alcohol industry's chagrin. This is especially true as fewer millennials drink, compared to their parents or older siblings. Mix in a desire among millennials for self-improvement and self-care, and it's easy to see why business is booming for ClassPass and boutique fitness studios.
Still, there are nights when you work late, can't bring yourself to leave the house, or just want a solo exercise session. That's where Aaptiv comes in. Aaptiv is an on-demand audio fitness app that's had big success since launching three years ago. The company is now going global, spreading to 20 countries, with localized editions becoming available in 2019.
It's not a war of audio versus visual. Just as podcasts can coexist with Netflix, audio-led workouts can thrive alongside screen-based brands (we're looking at you, Peloton). What will challenge the company, said CEO Ethan Agarwal, is adapting the app to each individual country. "There's such significantly different cultural elements across different countries as related to fitness," he told Fast Company.
Speaking of self-care crossing cultures, WTHN, a new acupuncture boutique, launched in New York City with plans to expand nationwide. The goal is to make the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture an "affordable luxury" (as Squeeze, Drybar's new massage concept, hopes to do in the massage space).
The launch clearly comes at a good time, as more people practice yoga and meditate than ever before. Now for the logical next question: Can it scale fast enough?
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