Why The Surge In Consumer Demand For High-Tech Home Gyms May Just Be Getting Started

Within days of gym closures being announced amid national shutdowns back in March, fitness enthusiasts were quickly forced to adjust their workout habits. Exercising from home became the only way to break a sweat and stay in shape.

Fitness equipment retailers immediately saw tremendous growth in sales of dumbbells, benches, resistance bands, and so many more items. 

Fast forward to today, even as cities and states go back-and-forth on the openings of local gyms, many consumers are evaluating the convenience and benefits of continuing to workout from home.

This has caused companies that were previously unknown names in the fitness industry to be propelled into the limelight as consumer demand spiked significantly.

From companies that strictly provide a software platform that enables video workouts to hardware companies that facilitate live group workouts, the wide range of options available to consumers is plentiful.

Peloton, one of the more notable names in the industry, experienced a 66% surge in sales earlier in the year as more consumers became willing to shell out thousands of dollars for hardware that connects someone to live classes and other riders.

Tonal, another in-home hardware fitness company, told reporters back in March that the company’s sales tripled at one point in the early days of March when people were being encouraged to stay home more regularly.

The athletic apparel company Lululemon made national headlines in June when it was announced that the company was buying the in-home fitness company Mirror for an estimated $500 million, which offers a wall-mounted screen for fitness workouts and personalized training sessions.

It’s not just hardware companies that are finding success right now. 

TrueCoach, a mobile fitness app that allows trainers to train clients online, experienced a 200 percent year-over-year increase in user growth in Q2, versus the expected 100 percent growth forecasted before the pandemic took hold. Numerous other similar apps appear to be seeing similar traction.

Joe Vennare, co-founder and COO at the health and fitness discovery platform Fitt, is one entrepreneur in the industry who regularly looks at the data to identify what trends may be emerging.

“Fueled by COIVD-19, digital and connected fitness will continue to grow in popularity. After the pandemic subsides, brick-and-mortar gyms will no longer be the center of the fitness ecosystem. But that doesn’t mean digital fitness wins by default, there will be more losers than winners as the market becomes more crowded and category leaders like Peloton pull further ahead,” said Vennare. 

Recent data from market research firm Reports and Data estimates that the global fitness app market will grow to $14.64 billion in 2027, with meaningful traction being derived from the pandemic and quarantine impacts.

The widespread availability of fitness tech is a win for health-conscious consumers. Like other technologies and consumer products, prices for today’s high-end items will eventually come down and become more affordable to a broader audience.

Meanwhile, traditional fitness businesses, including big box gyms not known for utilizing technology, are facing significant financial hardships in 2020. Some of the largest names in the industry, such as Gold’s Gym and 24 Hour Fitness have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for restructuring and financing to keep the businesses afloat.

As brick-and-mortar gym companies compete against tech-enabled software and hardware companies, consumers will continue to have increasingly more options. 

For the most fanatical of fitness lovers, it’s clear that they will be empowered to get their workouts in by any means, with or without technology.

[Disclosure: Mark Hall has a small and indirect investment in Tonal, through a syndicate. The company is included in the article because it is currently considered one of the competitive hardware players in the in-home fitness space.]

— to www.forbes.com

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