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Health Club Management

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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Tech Talk: What’s the future of home fitness?

The days of a home workout being a video in the living room are long gone. The coronavirus pandemic is driving a massive pivot to digital, which is transforming the sector. Kath Hudson reports

Published in Fit Tech 2020 issue 1

The coronavirus pandemic has seen the home workout sector experiencing exponential growth in every direction, with some on-demand providers reporting 800 per cent increases in take-up.

This comes off the back of a record year for at-home digital in 2019, which saw an explosion of new and repackaged entrants to the space, including Echelon, MYXfitness, iFit via NordicTrack, Tonal, Mirror and Openfit via Beachbody co-founder John Congdon.

According to 2019 research from L.E.K. Insights, digital fitness content market growth in the US alone was expected to translate to 14 million new subscribers and a US$3.3 billion market opportunity this year – and that was before the pandemic.

Research also shows that 85 per cent of club members also exercise outside clubs.

The pandemic has prompted the majority of operators to launch a digital offering – some in partnership with existing fit tech companies, some creating customised solutions, and some simply jumping on Zoom.

Whatever follows, 2020 will be remembered as the point where fitness went digital, but will this ultimately create competition for clubs or will it grow the market? We ask the experts.

Rasmus Ingerslev
Director of REPEAT, Barry’s Nordic, Lenus, Wexer and Playbook
Rasmus Ingerslev

For those who want to get fit, but don’t join a gym, the same three reasons are consistently given: intimidation of the gym environment, price sensitivity and lack of time. Working out at home addresses all of these points: no one is watching, it is typically cheaper and there is no commuting time. Plus home workout apps are very good at building habits and holding people accountable – often much better than operators.

In gyms we cater best to those with a mid- to high-level of gym confidence. Those with less confidence are best catered for at home, so if gyms offered a digital extension to their physical offering they could expand the reach of their appeal.

"It would be crazy for fitness operators not to include digital in their member journeys and pure digital memberships in their offering"

Gym memberships tend to be made up of 20 per cent of people who are going to leave regardless of what you do, 20 per cent that you couldn’t force to leave and 60 per cent who could swing either way. For those in the middle 60 per cent, a digital offering could continue to engage them and make the gym value proposition more sticky and valuable.

I think it would be crazy for the industry not to include digital in their member journeys and pure digital memberships in their offering. There is significantly more growth in the digital space and the industry is well placed to make use of this opportunity because of the huge database of members and lapsed members.

A major brand tracking why members were leaving found a double digit response for those going for digital services. We could support members much better by incorporating digital fitness services to help them reach their goals. There has been a significant change in consumer behaviour and we need to change accordingly. This could be a way to reduce churn. When a member leaves it’s not because they’ve achieved their goals, it’s because they’ve lost motivation and stopped working out.

Wexer served up more than 10 million virtual classes in 2019
Nigel Bland
Deloitte: corporate finance advisory leisure team lead
Nigel Bland

Virtually every form of physical activity has grown in the past 15 years and, even though the rate of growth is slowing, the industry is still growing. There doesn’t appear to be any slowdown in people becoming more health conscious, so the untapped market still offers great potential. The more product offered, the more revenue it can capture.

Therefore, although the home fitness market could present a challenge to the bricks and mortar side of the sector, I think it is more likely to be additive than disruptive. There is evidence that fitness is important to an increasing number of people and they are prepared to fragment their spend: for example with a budget gym membership, as well as paying for boutique classes. Real enthusiasts might be prepared to buy an expensive piece of kit to use at home and still pay for classes or to use a gym.

"If you fear that home fitness offerings may disrupt your business, you need to get into it and disrupt yourself"

However, if you fear that it may disrupt your business, then you need to get into it and disrupt yourself. Digital fitness is a less capitally intensive business than physical clubs and if you get the product right then you can have unlimited people doing a class. Digital interaction with your membership represents another way of keeping engagement levels up, so that attrition levels stay manageable.

There will be some people who would never join a gym, but would do online training and there will be people who switch between digital options and club membership, in both directions, but more products will engage more people and make the pie bigger.

Digital offerings mean gyms can have unlimited people doing a class
Chris Webb
Life Fitness: UK consumer and dealer sales manager
Chris Webb

We’ve seen a boom in the home fitness market. The Peloton buzz, in particular, has driven some traction for the consumer market, and heightened demand for other home products, particularly with the zero per cent finance and flexibility of purchasing which is available for these products.

Currently growth is focused on the premium end of the market – time poor urbanites – who would otherwise have trouble fitting a workout into their busy lives and want to get the maximum benefit in the shortest possible time. But while time and convenience is high on the list for home exercisers, there are a number of people who just prefer to work out at home: they might be intimidated by the gym environment, or just prefer to be alone and choose their own music.

"A downside of home exercise is that without expert help to hand, people may see less progression"

One down side of home exercise is that the infrastructure is more limited than in a commercial environment, so as products and solutions change it can be harder to stay on trend. Without expert help to hand, people can also get into a comfort zone, just doing the same and not seeing any progression. On the up side, this could then encourage them to join a gym.

Digitisation offers the opportunity to create home exercise communities. It also has the opportunity to engage new audiences, particularly tech-savvy people who might be drawn by the digital element.

Gyms are going to have to adapt to this trend and understand that the member journey is not just what happens inside their club. If members are offered the chance to do an instructor-led workout at home, it adds value to the membership and a full circle experience.

Life Fitness has launched on-demand workouts through its Digital Coach platform
Jean-Michel Fournier
Les Mills Media: CEO
Jean-Michel Fournier

The two largest generations of fitness users – millennials and gen Z – make up 80 per cent of the fitness market and are carnivorous consumers of 24/7 digital streaming, including exercise content.

Despite this demand for streaming and downloadable fitness content, it had only been adopted by 5 per cent of operators prior to the pandemic.

According to the Club Intel 2019 International Fitness Industry Trend Report, European club operators were clear leaders, with an adoption level of 14 per cent. Levels in other regions of the world ranged from 4 to 7 per cent.

"Since the COVID-19 outbreak started, we’ve seen an 806 per cent increase in sign-ups to Les Mills on Demand, as we’ve worked with our club partners"

Mobile apps – which are used by more than 80 per cent of people to connect with businesses – had only been adopted by 20 per cent of the fitness industry. So it’s clear there’s a lot of untapped upside in the digital home fitness space, particularly with much of the world currently in lockdown.

Les Mills on Demand (LMOD), which allows users to stream Les Mills programmes from any digital device, has seen significant growth in recent years, but since the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve seen an 806 per cent increase in sign-ups as we’ve worked with club partners to help them support members through the use of LMOD.

Clubs offering a co-branded LMOD subscription to members are able to boost member loyalty and keep them in the exercise habit at times like this, when they can’t make it to the gym.

As fitness moves from bricks and mortar to digital, operators who pursue tech assertively will be the ones who thrive in the next chapter of the industry.

Les Mills On Demand allows users to access 800 workouts at home
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/FT2020_1p42.jpg
The coronavirus pandemic has seen the fitness industry pivot to digital. We look at the longer-term implications
Les Mills, REPEAT, Barry’s Nordic, Lenus, Wexer, Playbook, Life fitness, Deloitte, Rasmus Ingerslev, Jean-Michel Fournier,Home fitness, fitness technology, on demand fitness
People
Our facility isn’t for everyone. In daring to be different, we’re attracting people willing to commit to a fresh way of approaching health and fitness
People
HCM people

Keith Burnet

CEO global markets, Les Mills
I wanted to do something to inspire others and encourage them to believe that no matter what age you are, anything is possible
People
If I look forward five years, I’d want us to be somewhere around the 1,000-site mark – the ‘premier league’ benchmark
Features
feature
Bristol University has commited to embracing body positivity, creating more inclusive physical activity environments, rejecting diet culture and raising awareness of eating disorders across its sports and fitness provision. Should the rest of the fitness sector follow suit? Kath Hudson reports
Features
feature
Hussle is offering operators the opportunity to take part in a pilot for its new MAP service to enable them to secure new members without upfront costs. Hussle’s Jamie Owens tells us more about the insights that drove this initiative
Features
feature
The owner of Nisus Fitness in County Kerry, Joe O'Connor explains how MZ-Remote helped grow memberships during the pandemic and transform Nisus into a hybrid boutique
Features
Supplier showcase
Sporteve has enhanced its in-club digital experience by working with Funxtion to install multiscreens to power the member experience
Features
Talking point
Gym operators in the UK can now open on the high street, without planning permission, thanks to changes in legislation. What impact will this have on the industry? Kath Hudson reports
Features
feature
As the fitness industry grapples with the challenge of optimising digital, Volution’s Adam Norton shares his vision for a customised data-centric approach that will lead operators into a new era of success
Features
Write to reply
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – email: [email protected]
Features
Latest News
Mid Ulster District Council (MUDC) in Northern Ireland has won a landmark VAT case, which ...
Latest News
The government has pledged to invest £100m in supporting public leisure centres this winter, as ...
Latest News
Gyms in Liverpool,UK, have been given the go-ahead to reopen, following a dramatic week of ...
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Be Military Fit (BMF) has completed a restructuring project, designed to transform the outdoor fitness ...
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In breaking news, HCM understands the UK government has removed gyms and fitness facilities from ...
Opinion
promotion
Our world has changed since March and together, we are learning and adapting to how this sector can continue to thrive in this COVID conscious world.
Opinion: Why fitness clubs and facilities need to evolve in a COVID-conscious world
Opinion
promotion
In a post-Covid world, member experience is more important than ever before. Your customers’ expectations have been heightened as the coronavirus continues to dominate our everyday lives.
Opinion: Why member experience is more important now than ever before
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Volution explains how to drive the lifetime value of members through virtual engagement
In April 2020, two-thirds of the world’s gyms went into temporary closure due to COVID-19.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Annual Fitness & Active Brands Summit offering invaluable insight from over 40 leading industry speakers
Join the second Annual Fitness & Active Brands Summit and walk away with the expertise you need to transform your business model and maximise the US$59.23bn virtual fitness market opportunity.
Video Gallery
Freemotion FUSION Team Training
FreeMotion Fitness
The High-Intensity Cardio-Strength Training. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Les Mills UK
Committed to creating a fitter planet, Les Mills UK works with clubs and instructors to ...
Company profiles
Company profile: FunXtion International BV
Unlock your club’s digital potential with the FunXtion Platform. Deliver engaging and immersive digital fitness ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Skincare
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Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Fitness equipment
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Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
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 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Software
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Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
12 Nov 2020
Virtual, United States
Diary dates
17 Nov 2020
Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-03 Dec 2020
Virtual,
Diary dates
08-09 Dec 2020
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

Tech Talk: What’s the future of home fitness?

The days of a home workout being a video in the living room are long gone. The coronavirus pandemic is driving a massive pivot to digital, which is transforming the sector. Kath Hudson reports

Published in Fit Tech 2020 issue 1

The coronavirus pandemic has seen the home workout sector experiencing exponential growth in every direction, with some on-demand providers reporting 800 per cent increases in take-up.

This comes off the back of a record year for at-home digital in 2019, which saw an explosion of new and repackaged entrants to the space, including Echelon, MYXfitness, iFit via NordicTrack, Tonal, Mirror and Openfit via Beachbody co-founder John Congdon.

According to 2019 research from L.E.K. Insights, digital fitness content market growth in the US alone was expected to translate to 14 million new subscribers and a US$3.3 billion market opportunity this year – and that was before the pandemic.

Research also shows that 85 per cent of club members also exercise outside clubs.

The pandemic has prompted the majority of operators to launch a digital offering – some in partnership with existing fit tech companies, some creating customised solutions, and some simply jumping on Zoom.

Whatever follows, 2020 will be remembered as the point where fitness went digital, but will this ultimately create competition for clubs or will it grow the market? We ask the experts.

Rasmus Ingerslev
Director of REPEAT, Barry’s Nordic, Lenus, Wexer and Playbook
Rasmus Ingerslev

For those who want to get fit, but don’t join a gym, the same three reasons are consistently given: intimidation of the gym environment, price sensitivity and lack of time. Working out at home addresses all of these points: no one is watching, it is typically cheaper and there is no commuting time. Plus home workout apps are very good at building habits and holding people accountable – often much better than operators.

In gyms we cater best to those with a mid- to high-level of gym confidence. Those with less confidence are best catered for at home, so if gyms offered a digital extension to their physical offering they could expand the reach of their appeal.

"It would be crazy for fitness operators not to include digital in their member journeys and pure digital memberships in their offering"

Gym memberships tend to be made up of 20 per cent of people who are going to leave regardless of what you do, 20 per cent that you couldn’t force to leave and 60 per cent who could swing either way. For those in the middle 60 per cent, a digital offering could continue to engage them and make the gym value proposition more sticky and valuable.

I think it would be crazy for the industry not to include digital in their member journeys and pure digital memberships in their offering. There is significantly more growth in the digital space and the industry is well placed to make use of this opportunity because of the huge database of members and lapsed members.

A major brand tracking why members were leaving found a double digit response for those going for digital services. We could support members much better by incorporating digital fitness services to help them reach their goals. There has been a significant change in consumer behaviour and we need to change accordingly. This could be a way to reduce churn. When a member leaves it’s not because they’ve achieved their goals, it’s because they’ve lost motivation and stopped working out.

Wexer served up more than 10 million virtual classes in 2019
Nigel Bland
Deloitte: corporate finance advisory leisure team lead
Nigel Bland

Virtually every form of physical activity has grown in the past 15 years and, even though the rate of growth is slowing, the industry is still growing. There doesn’t appear to be any slowdown in people becoming more health conscious, so the untapped market still offers great potential. The more product offered, the more revenue it can capture.

Therefore, although the home fitness market could present a challenge to the bricks and mortar side of the sector, I think it is more likely to be additive than disruptive. There is evidence that fitness is important to an increasing number of people and they are prepared to fragment their spend: for example with a budget gym membership, as well as paying for boutique classes. Real enthusiasts might be prepared to buy an expensive piece of kit to use at home and still pay for classes or to use a gym.

"If you fear that home fitness offerings may disrupt your business, you need to get into it and disrupt yourself"

However, if you fear that it may disrupt your business, then you need to get into it and disrupt yourself. Digital fitness is a less capitally intensive business than physical clubs and if you get the product right then you can have unlimited people doing a class. Digital interaction with your membership represents another way of keeping engagement levels up, so that attrition levels stay manageable.

There will be some people who would never join a gym, but would do online training and there will be people who switch between digital options and club membership, in both directions, but more products will engage more people and make the pie bigger.

Digital offerings mean gyms can have unlimited people doing a class
Chris Webb
Life Fitness: UK consumer and dealer sales manager
Chris Webb

We’ve seen a boom in the home fitness market. The Peloton buzz, in particular, has driven some traction for the consumer market, and heightened demand for other home products, particularly with the zero per cent finance and flexibility of purchasing which is available for these products.

Currently growth is focused on the premium end of the market – time poor urbanites – who would otherwise have trouble fitting a workout into their busy lives and want to get the maximum benefit in the shortest possible time. But while time and convenience is high on the list for home exercisers, there are a number of people who just prefer to work out at home: they might be intimidated by the gym environment, or just prefer to be alone and choose their own music.

"A downside of home exercise is that without expert help to hand, people may see less progression"

One down side of home exercise is that the infrastructure is more limited than in a commercial environment, so as products and solutions change it can be harder to stay on trend. Without expert help to hand, people can also get into a comfort zone, just doing the same and not seeing any progression. On the up side, this could then encourage them to join a gym.

Digitisation offers the opportunity to create home exercise communities. It also has the opportunity to engage new audiences, particularly tech-savvy people who might be drawn by the digital element.

Gyms are going to have to adapt to this trend and understand that the member journey is not just what happens inside their club. If members are offered the chance to do an instructor-led workout at home, it adds value to the membership and a full circle experience.

Life Fitness has launched on-demand workouts through its Digital Coach platform
Jean-Michel Fournier
Les Mills Media: CEO
Jean-Michel Fournier

The two largest generations of fitness users – millennials and gen Z – make up 80 per cent of the fitness market and are carnivorous consumers of 24/7 digital streaming, including exercise content.

Despite this demand for streaming and downloadable fitness content, it had only been adopted by 5 per cent of operators prior to the pandemic.

According to the Club Intel 2019 International Fitness Industry Trend Report, European club operators were clear leaders, with an adoption level of 14 per cent. Levels in other regions of the world ranged from 4 to 7 per cent.

"Since the COVID-19 outbreak started, we’ve seen an 806 per cent increase in sign-ups to Les Mills on Demand, as we’ve worked with our club partners"

Mobile apps – which are used by more than 80 per cent of people to connect with businesses – had only been adopted by 20 per cent of the fitness industry. So it’s clear there’s a lot of untapped upside in the digital home fitness space, particularly with much of the world currently in lockdown.

Les Mills on Demand (LMOD), which allows users to stream Les Mills programmes from any digital device, has seen significant growth in recent years, but since the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve seen an 806 per cent increase in sign-ups as we’ve worked with club partners to help them support members through the use of LMOD.

Clubs offering a co-branded LMOD subscription to members are able to boost member loyalty and keep them in the exercise habit at times like this, when they can’t make it to the gym.

As fitness moves from bricks and mortar to digital, operators who pursue tech assertively will be the ones who thrive in the next chapter of the industry.

Les Mills On Demand allows users to access 800 workouts at home
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/FT2020_1p42.jpg
The coronavirus pandemic has seen the fitness industry pivot to digital. We look at the longer-term implications
Les Mills, REPEAT, Barry’s Nordic, Lenus, Wexer, Playbook, Life fitness, Deloitte, Rasmus Ingerslev, Jean-Michel Fournier,Home fitness, fitness technology, on demand fitness
Latest News
Mid Ulster District Council (MUDC) in Northern Ireland has won a landmark VAT case, which ...
Latest News
The government has pledged to invest £100m in supporting public leisure centres this winter, as ...
Latest News
Gyms in Liverpool,UK, have been given the go-ahead to reopen, following a dramatic week of ...
Latest News
Be Military Fit (BMF) has completed a restructuring project, designed to transform the outdoor fitness ...
Latest News
Rod Hill, former president of TRIB3 and director general of Anytime Fitness Iberia, has signed ...
Latest News
Persistent and rising levels of lifestyle disease across the world have exacerbated the effects of ...
Latest News
Customer experience software provider, AskNicely, has announced it will host a new virtual event called ...
Latest News
In breaking news, HCM understands the UK government has removed gyms and fitness facilities from ...
Latest News
Globally, gyms have, on average, seen nearly 70 per cent of their pre-lockdown members return ...
Latest News
A UK government U-turn – just announced – will see gyms and leisure centres staying open ...
Latest News
"Dozens" of gyms in Liverpool, UK, have defied the government and stayed open for business ...
Opinion
promotion
Our world has changed since March and together, we are learning and adapting to how this sector can continue to thrive in this COVID conscious world.
Opinion: Why fitness clubs and facilities need to evolve in a COVID-conscious world
Opinion
promotion
In a post-Covid world, member experience is more important than ever before. Your customers’ expectations have been heightened as the coronavirus continues to dominate our everyday lives.
Opinion: Why member experience is more important now than ever before
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Volution explains how to drive the lifetime value of members through virtual engagement
In April 2020, two-thirds of the world’s gyms went into temporary closure due to COVID-19.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Annual Fitness & Active Brands Summit offering invaluable insight from over 40 leading industry speakers
Join the second Annual Fitness & Active Brands Summit and walk away with the expertise you need to transform your business model and maximise the US$59.23bn virtual fitness market opportunity.
Video Gallery
Freemotion FUSION Team Training
FreeMotion Fitness
The High-Intensity Cardio-Strength Training. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Les Mills UK
Committed to creating a fitter planet, Les Mills UK works with clubs and instructors to ...
Company profiles
Company profile: FunXtion International BV
Unlock your club’s digital potential with the FunXtion Platform. Deliver engaging and immersive digital fitness ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Fitness equipment
TRX Training: Fitness equipment
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Software
Volution.fit: Software
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
12 Nov 2020
Virtual, United States
Diary dates
17 Nov 2020
Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-03 Dec 2020
Virtual,
Diary dates
08-09 Dec 2020
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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