Witness the Fitness

April 23, 2020


Born - Witness the Fitness


The stories and statistics are amazing in such a short period of time. In the UK alone home fitness has exploded in just 5 weeks, from Joe Wicks’ first “P.E with Joe” video amassing 6.6m views so far, through to the glorious weather bringing out families cycling together and STRAVA numbers going off the charts. Meanwhile every gym in the UK has been running Instagram live PT sessions daily, and there is no gym equipment available to buy anywhere.

The questions are twofold: Firstly, does this represent actual “growth” in fitness & exercise? Secondly, are the changes meaningful enough to become habit-forming and long-lasting?

Is this “growth”? For some of the brands playing in this space the answer is a resounding YES! One of the leading UK-based fitness “App” platforms has seen a massive spike in users on its platform since March (before lockdown in fact), with a fourfold increase in people using the “paid-for” version of their service. Similarly, one of our close contacts in the cycling industry has recorded that almost every single bike retailer has had a record April, with some recording their best month for new bike sales ever.

At the same time, there are 7,000 gyms in the UK that are currently closed – or operating on a virtual basis to serve almost 10m members. In the U.S. where gym membership has been rising for several years now – the numbers are massive, although this is as much social as exercise-driven in America. Has this membership continued to exercise during lockdown? The answer from the fitness app owners such as STRAVA, MyFitnessPal and others is YES!

Usage is up massively, app downloads and uploads of workouts are increasing still, and whilst Joe Wicks participation for P.E declined during the Easter break, as of April 27th views were up near 900k per day, keeping on par with the starting stats.

So, are these changes habit-forming and what do they mean for brand owners associated with this sector?

It’s important to remember that this behaviour is 5 weeks old, and (in the UK at least we’ll have 5 weeks more of lockdown as a minimum). Fitness habits usually take one month to lock in.

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