September 12, 2022 – Fitness consumers are changing what they demanded two years ago in the darkest days of COVID Pandemic.
Then conventional wisdom tells us that gyms are dying because people would rather stay at home and work out than risk being exposed to healthy facility. Now, the opposite appears to be the case, with membership sales and attendance rising again in many brick-and-mortar stores, and those shiny at-home workout companies striving to offer more than a pricey hanger in a spare bedroom.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has permanently disrupted the fitness industry. One-third of brick-and-mortar gyms are permanently closed. Consumers stay at home, some get online training, others own new brands that become household names.
But the pandemic isn’t what it used to be, and it looks like the disruption could lead to some lasting changes, but not the way it first seemed.
Fitness consumers are winning. They’re getting more choice, more flexibility, returning to pre-pandemic pricing, and – observers hope – a greater awareness of lifestyle habits that directly affect how we stay strong to deal with new diseases, including strange new diseases. Ability to challenge health.
the big one
No brand has more ties to the pandemic than Peloton.High-end home bikes connect users with coaches and other participants around the world for group classes, races, and more, with sweat It’s in a weight room.
The brand wanted to be a major disruptor in the fitness world, and for a while.
It spawned other high-tech home gym equipment, such as the Tonal and the Mirror.It became so successful that it was used as an instant target for startups like, “We’re going to be the Peloton of home knitting.” It even got involved in “Sex and the City” when Carrie Bradshaw’s husband died mortally. “world heart attack using one.
But now, the popular cult-like magic is gone.
Peloton has reported six consecutive quarterly losses, including a $1.2 billion quarterly loss announced last month.The company has cut jobs, closed retail stores, started selling used equipment and started peddling products online Amazon.
Some observers said the company might have had better long-term luck without the temporary sales boom brought on by the pandemic.
“Peloton’s glory days in the pandemic era are now a distant memory as it struggles to stay afloat. Revenues are drying up, losses are widening, and shares of Connected Fitness Guru are down 92% from their all-time high set in January 2021, “The Motley Fool report.
(A Peloton spokesman said the company was unavailable for an interview for this article.)
The company isn’t the only one struggling.
Bike chain SoulCycle said last month it would close a quarter of its stores.Like many fitness businesses, SoulCycle had to close when the pandemic hit, and some didn’t reopen.
“This is another sign that consumers’ exercise habits will continue to change as the pandemic unfolds,” CBS report.
Companies that make home fitness equipment are also struggling. iFit, the parent company of NordicTrack healthy and Fitness abandoned plans for an IPO. Tonal opens mini-stores at some Nordstrom locations, slashes by a third staff.
Gym attendance on the rise
As the Peloton trend fades, consumers are returning to gyms and studios.They want to blend in with the crowd, get access to coaches, use more equipment than they do at home, and take on challenges in new ways offered by new brands like Pure Barry.
For example, low-cost chain leader Planet Fitness reported a 13.6% increase in sales in the second quarter of 2022 with a total membership of 16.5 million.
“As Americans seek value and feel the rising cost of everyday items like food and gas, our high-quality, affordable fitness experience is now more than ever,” said CEO Chris Rondeau. are more resonant.”
“We believe people will continue to prioritize their health and wellness, while becoming more cost-conscious, and we provide a welcoming environment for people of all fitness levels. In the second quarter, our join trend returned to pre-pandemic seasonality, Add about 300,000 people member.
The pandemic has put some new demands on cleaning, said Josh Leve, chief executive of the Fitness Business Association, a group of gym owners and other fitness establishments. professional.
“Members don’t want the best workouts, the most equipment, or the most classes right now,” Leve said. “It’s going to be about whether I trust my health to you and your team.”
Hybrid workouts let you do both
He said the rise of “hybrid” options, fueled by the lockdown, will continue. This has become a common gym product when owners offer online training to clients who are not allowed into gyms or studios during the lockdown.
“Before, when these businesses wanted to generate new revenue, they had to get more people in,” he said. “The opportunities are endless now. People can join your studio, but train remotely.”
Chris Craytor, chairman of the board of IHRSA, a global trade group for fitness, said consumers would not give up the option. industry.
“Hybrid fitness is here to stay,” he said. Consumers appreciate the option to exercise at home or in-store in a gym or studio. They’re used to it because many office workers are now reluctant to go back to spending 40 hours a week in the office.
“What we’re seeing now is more and more people coming back to the club,” he said, noting that consumers “have no hesitation” about COVID. “Consumers just want to get back into exercise.”
Some people want super low prices like they’ll find at Planet Fitness and other similar chains.
But they want something they can’t get at home: the social aspect of going to the gym or studio. This is especially true for older consumers, he said.
“The benefits of being in-person are invaluable, both from a technical standpoint of training and from a sense of community,” said Rosa Coletto, owner of Full Circle Fitness in Tustin, California. “Our senior population generally appreciates and prefers working in person to ensure safety, efficiency and potency. “
Strength training is another word for weightlifting, which often requires a lot of heavy equipment and more space to use it than many homes can provide. Some clubs have even reduced space for cardio equipment in order to offer more weights and other options, he said.
The main idea is to get people to exercise regularly to improve their lives and public health issues, such as obesity and medical costs – whether at home or at the gym.
With the pandemic affecting fitness and other industries so much, consumer needs have changed.
It used to be hard to find a new Peloton. Selling used now can be a challenge.
On Facebook, the Peloton Buy Sell Trade (BST) group claims over 200,000 member.
Nurse Olivia Hilton, who bought a Peloton in 2020 with a discount for paramedics, recently told her it cost $3,000 for “the bike that collects dust” New York Times.
After dropping the price from $1,500 to $1,200, she sold it on Facebook.
She feels guilty about selling it. But in the end, she said she decided “if you don’t want this thing anymore, just get it out of your house”.