Once again the trends in the Fitness Industry have taken market analysts by surprise. Two big opportunities have surfaced in March and April and now are commanding a good share of the fitness market. The first is Digital Fitness and the second is Garage Gyms.
Bernhard Mehl, an entrepreneurial coach and ergonomics engineer, in a recent article on KISIblog, says that after COVID appeared, the fitness industry, and especially location-based businesses, dropped as much as 10 billion in the year following the onset of the pandemic.
The pandemic didn’t necessarily catch the industry by surprise though. In 2019, fitness tech was already the leading fitness industry trend. Industry leaders had already realized the potential of virtual training and classes, from live streaming to uploading pre-recorded workouts, as it was widely recognized that online offerings could make services more accessible to members.
When a few live-stream companies began making their software available to gyms, online training took off. In 2019, 7% of users of a well-known gym software software used live streamed workouts. This number jumped to 80% during COVID 19. To my mind, this showed the resilience and forward thinking of the industry. As gyms and studios across the U.S. begin to reopen, it’s unlikely that virtual classes and training sessions will go anywhere.
“Consumers, for the most part, remained loyal to their local studios, as they appreciated the quick pivot to virtual offerings,” says Catalina Zbar, founder of Teomere Consulting. “But because the pandemic seems to be lingering longer than expected, those same consumers will continue to work out from home. In addition, however, they also plan on returning to their pre-COVID routines. The same gym software survey referenced above shows that 43 percent of users expect to go back to their previous in-facility routines in addition to virtual workouts.”
That’s all well and good, but what the industry was not expecting was that COVID would continue on into 2021. And when that happened a new star rose on the horizon; the Garage Gym. In a recent study, consulting company McKinsey revealed that Americans have changed the way they’re spending time at home, and at-home fitness is no exception to this trend, with a 12 percent increase in at-home fitness. With gyms closed during the pandemic and just now slowly re-opening, it’s no surprise that many fitness enthusiasts have invested more time and money into creating workout spaces at home.