Today is the 3rd of January, which means that you should be 3 days into actively fulfilling your chosen New Year’s Resolution. Gyms will be busier than ever, kale will be flying off the shelves, pubs may be quieter, and that guy who turned up late for work every day in 2016 clutching a McDonald’s breakfast will already be sat at his desk when you arrive, checking emails and munching on something resembling rabbit food, like it’s perfectly normal behaviour for him.
There seems to be something programmed into us where we are only able to start something new, or ‘turn over a new leaf’ at the start of a new day, week or year. Nobody has ever said ‘I’ll start being good on Friday’. Friday! That would be madness! We say ‘I’ll start Monday’ because it’s the start of a new week, and therefore seems to make much more sense in our heads. It also gives us a few more days to cram in being bad.
Everybody likes the word New. New phone, new bike, new baby, new day, new you. People notice what’s new, people comment on what’s new. Nobody comments on what’s old. Your old jacket, your old notebook, your old sofa. Hey, is that your old sofa? The one you’ve had for ages? The one we usually sit on? The one with the fag burn you think your wife knows nothing about, hiding under the strategically placed fluffy cushion? There’s a conversation that would never happen.
New is positive. New is fresh. They should bottle it. People like the fact that something is new, more than they like the actual thing that is new. A new year is bigger than a new day or a new week, so it feels like more of a fresh start, and this is why now is the time for companies to cash in, and take a slice of the pie. According to Darren Beattie, Fitness Coach, Gym membership sign up increases by about 33-50% within the month of January. Even though 80% of the new year crowd drops off by the second week of February, the memberships will continue to be paid month after month, while the member themself does not attend the gym, freeing up space for more members to join.
Brits will spend an incredible £2.8 billion on getting into shape this January, and it’s not just gyms that are cashing in. Not only do we want to get in shape, but we want to look good doing it, and this includes a new Fitbit and new trainers to go with our new attitude. There’s that word again.
Interestingly, it’s said that men are more determined to stick to a health-focussed New Year’s Resolution, as a healthy 54% will still be following it 4 months later in April, (10% more than women), suggesting they have greater wellness willpower. I for one definitely plan to change that statistic. Maybe.
Although the new year for some is about cutting back, being more sensible and generally reigning it in a little, by actively doing these things, we end up spending in other areas. Yes, we may steer clear of fish and chip Fridays for a few weeks, but we’re now spending our lunch money on superfood smoothies, after being inspired (or depressed) by the likes of Kate Hudson and Kendall Jenner on Instagram.
Unsurprisingly, the hashtag #newyear has been used 18,149,181 times this year. No wait, 18,149,500 times. 18,149,780 times. And it’s only been three days.
In January, we reign in the nights out, and the alcohol consumption, but we throw money instead at new gym clobber, sets of weights, and a yoga ball. We’re still spending, we’re just spending in a different place, so now is the time to communicate with your customers in a clever and timely manner, in order to catch a piece of this naive, vulnerable, and willing but short-lived market.