The fitness industry is currently undergoing a shift in the way it operates. One of the most recent developments has been that more people are looking for at-home fitness regimes, personalized workout solutions, and virtual fitness sessions. As technology makes it easier than ever to find workout videos, exercise equipment, and fitness experts, at-home workouts are gaining prominence. Hybrid gym models and on-demand fitness content are trending. The survey titled ''At-Home Fitness Regime Is the Top Fitness Trend in 2022" is an attempt by GoodFirms to examine the changing dynamics of the fitness industry and collect relevant data to understand the impact of the pandemic on the fitness space. The survey conducted between 15 January 2022 and 24 January 2022 reveals current trends, consumer preferences, challenges, and opportunities in the fitness industry. The research also seeks to understand how fitness establishments are responding to the changing consumer attributes and business environment and what the future holds for the fitness industry.
- 56.1% of People Workout at Home
- 43.9% of People Bought a Fitness Equipment for Exercising at Home after the Pandemic Struck
- 53.7% Use a Wearable Device to Monitor their Fitness Activity
- 65.9% State that Pandemic Has Appended their Fitness Regime
- 17.1% of Fitness Aspirants have Opted for Virtual Fitness Subscription Service or On-Demand Fitness Content
- 40% of Fitness Clubs have Tapped into the Hybrid Models
- Growing Demand For Certified Fitness Professionals
- More People Are Opting for Personal Fitness Coaching and Training Programs
- 41.5 % Prefer Group Workouts
- Mental, Emotional, And Spiritual Health Get Equal Importance As the Physical
- Short Workouts Are a Trend
- Challenge 1. Canceled Memberships and Return Delays
- Challenge 2: Liquidity Issues
- Challenge 3: Endless Spiral of Disinformation
- Challenge 4: Supply Chain Issues
- Challenge 5: Gaining Consumer Confidence Back
Covid-19 brought considerable changes in the fitness routine for most who had a regular workout regime. Stepping out to go to the gym, attend yoga or other fitness classes was replaced by the living room, terrace, or virtual workouts. Online stores saw soaring demand for yoga mats and dumbbells. Fitness companies were left to think a lot about catering to the new demands in 2020. The year 2021 saw a balance between health, fitness, and wellness, a rise in at-home workout solutions, meditation technology, wearable technologies, and workplace wellness. These are likely to continue in 2022, considering the Virus variants and the new normal.
This research titled: "At-Home Fitness Regime Is the Top Fitness Trend in 2022: GoodFirms' Survey" is an attempt by GoodFirms to examine which dynamics of the fitness industry have changed after the pandemic and what are the challenges and opportunities in the future. This research study aims to understand the current trends driving the primary domains of the fitness space and how the fitness industry is responding to the physical, mental, and spiritual wellness of fitness consumers. Along with the identification of the most relevant attributes, the research also uncovers the key challenges in the fitness world and suggests solutions that mitigate them.
Survey and Data Analysis:
GoodFirms Survey-"At-Home Fitness Regime Is the Top Fitness Trend in 2022: GoodFirms' Survey" conducted in January 2022, reveals historic and dramatic shifts in the fitness industry, trends that are shaping fitness activities and consumer behavior, challenges to confront, and opportunities for the futuristic fitness establishments. Let us have a look at the most significant fitness paradigms in the post-peak pandemic era exposed by the latest survey.
56.1% of People Workout at Home
Home fitness has taken on a new role since the pandemic. With fitness studios and gyms closed around the world during the peak pandemic era and restricted ability of movement, it was inevitable that people were ready to explore exercises that would keep themselves 'fit' within four walls. More people started working out at home, and the trend continues even amidst the uncertainty with the new variants of the virus. 56.1% of respondents surveyed by GoodFirms reported that they workout at home. As people are still working from home, the trend of home-based fitness is likely to continue.(1)
At-Home Fitness Solutions Are on the Rise
Natural immunity and a healthy body without any chronic diseases are the best shields against the virus during the pandemic. The sedentary lifestyle with continuous sitting at computer desks with negligible physical activity is linked with loss of immunity, higher rates of obesity, and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. People now understand the value of physical activity and exercise for staying fit. However, as more people are working from home, people are more drawn to at-home fitness regimes rather than joining traditional gym membership programs.
The interest in at-home fitness solutions is at an all-time high due to various reasons:
- Convenience and affordability are major reasons why people now prefer at-home fitness over traditional gyms.
- At-home solutions make it easier because they work around people’s schedules and allow them to try out different exercises without committing too much money or time upfront.
- Some people are not keen on going out in public during times of heavy traffic and inclement weather.
- For many, it can be difficult to balance work and family life with the time and energy they need to go to the gym and exercise on a daily basis.
- Some people with privacy concerns are reluctant to go to the gym because they don't want their progress or routine to be public knowledge.
Walking and Running are the Most Followed Fitness Activities
43.9% of People Bought a Fitness Equipment for Exercising at Home after the Pandemic Struck
People are Gravitating towards Personal Home Gym Space
People now realize that it might not be safe to always rely on public spaces like gyms for their fitness routine. People realize that they need to take action for their health and since it's hard to make time for gyms, investing in at-home fitness equipment is a prudent solution for many. As the pandemic continues its wrath, people are gravitating towards personal home gym space(2) and investing in fitness equipment for at-home exercise routines.
This new trend in exercise and fitness is also helping to combat the pandemic spread. People are prioritizing their health during this hard time while trying to save themselves from the virus.
43.9% of respondents have bought fitness equipment after the pandemic struck. The demand for smart exercise equipment and tools that offer gym experience at home has been considerably high during the pandemic. Fitness equipment sales grew by 170% during the pandemic.(3) There is a propelled demand for dumbbells, Yoga mats, resistance bands, benches, and at-home exercise items.
53.7% Use a Wearable Device to Monitor their Fitness Activity
Wearable Tech is Gaining Momentum
The world of fitness is transforming at a rapid pace with tons of new innovations that are redefining how people get active and stay healthy. Wearable fitness trackers are the go-to devices for those interested in tracking their activity levels. Wearable tech has evolved into an essential accessory for anyone looking for an easy start to a healthier lifestyle or wants to transform the way they run, workout, and do everyday tasks.
53.7% of respondents reported using a wearable device to monitor their fitness activities.
There are many different wearable technology options on the market that can help people become healthier and more active. Consumer wearables are redefining the parameters of the health behavior assessment.(4) From Fitbit to Apple Watch to Google Glass, from weight loss monitors to calorie counters, from heart rate monitors to high-tech clothing, these devices have been taking over as the world's newest trend in health and fitness.
65.9% State that Pandemic Has Appended their Fitness Regime
People Now are More Engaged in Fitness Activities
From the moment the pandemic began, the world has changed. That includes how people now engage in fitness activities. As anyone can be infected with the pathogen, and no one is immune to its effects, everyone needs to stay healthy in an era where fitness is key to survival. And health means more than just not getting sick. It also means adopting a lifestyle that promotes well-being. And it's not just about running marathons but creating a healthier lifestyle that includes better food choices and more exercise.
65.9% of surveyees state that the pandemic has appended their fitness regimes.
17.1% of Fitness Aspirants have Opted for Virtual Fitness Subscription Service or On-Demand Fitness Content
The Boom in Online Live and On-Demand Exercise Classes
Now people can simply put on their headphones, sign up for an online class, and workout from home. This new trend is live and on-demand fitness. The fitness industry is witnessing a boom in online live and on-demand exercise classes. People can join with high-quality video calls, interactive games, voice-over audio, and other features to get an efficient workout at any time of day or night. It's also cheaper than traditional gyms because there's no need for expensive equipment or the physical presence of staff.
17.1% of respondents surveyed by GoodFirms have opted for any virtual fitness subscription service or on-demand fitness content. The popularity of these channels is being driven by millennials who are not interested in traditional gyms. With online streaming apps like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook LIVE, etc., On-demand services have also made it possible for individuals to hire fitness trainers to train them at their convenience. Fitness instructors are now using online channels to broadcast their classes to reach a wider audience.
There are a plethora of benefits to this way of working out, including convenience, accessibility, cost, time management, and focus on individual needs. It helps people who are often too busy to go to a gym or have limitations that prevent them from going to a gym. Also, people who have a busy lifestyle might want to be able to workout at any time of day or night. Online sessions allow people to work at their own pace. If they want to speed up the video, they have the ability to do so.
Virtual Fitness Market size is set to exceed USD 30 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 28%. (5)
40% of Fitness Clubs have Tapped into the Hybrid Models
Hybrid is changing equations in almost all industries. Many fitness SaaS providers were already working on virtual fitness classes and the tech that enables them. Therefore, when the pandemic struck, many advanced gyms were quick to adopt the hybrid models. Jessica Armstrong of TeamUp, says “Many gym and studio owners have completely tapped into the hybrid opportunity to run their businesses in-person and online with online classes and on-demand content and have been able to open up some additional revenue streams because of this.”
People at 6 a.m in one country might want to take a class which is offered by a gym expert in another country at 8 a.m. ‘’Hybrid gym membership is the most popular trend. Hybrid gym membership provides convenience and is more appealing to most consumers’’, says Darryl Higgins, the founder of Athlete Desk.
Hybrid gym models fill the void that consumers feel while completely isolated and remote fitness programs. Sense of community, social interaction, and support from fellow gym mates are lacking in fully remote fitness models.(6) Hybrid gyms allow their customers to attain gyms physically in a few days and attain the rest of the program from virtually connected sessions. Also, in case of complete lockdowns, hybrid gyms have the ability to shift to fully virtual sessions until normalcy is restored.
The future of the gym is hybrid.(7)
There is a Growing Demand For Certified Fitness Professionals
Fitness aspirants know that starting any training regimen with trainers with up-to-date knowledge and valid certifications ensures the best results. Certified personal trainers are educated in exercise physiology, anatomy, kinesiology, biomechanics, nutrition, psychology, time management, and behavior modification. This allows them to work with clients in an individualized setting or to be a part of a team at the gym.
Certified professionals can help change members’ workout routines and get an improved fitness plan. Hiring a certified professional helps gyms design a custom workout plan for their current members and ensure the success of their fitness goals. Gyms and fitness centers are hiring certified professionals to better assist such members on their journey of health.(8)
More People Are Opting for Personal Fitness Coaching and Training Programs
Exercising at home can be isolating, and it can be hard to stay motivated. Also, deploying correct techniques, tracking progress, and keeping oneself accountable is challenging without a fitness expert to guide through the process. Therefore, more people now need personal fitness coaching. The fitness space is seeing a rise in home training with the personalized accompaniment of professionals.(9)Personal trainers track workouts with wearable devices, listen to client needs and goals, provide motivation, and suggest new exercises.
41.5 % Prefer Group Workouts
There are many reasons why 41.5% of people prefer group workouts. Group fitness classes often provide a sense of community and can be motivating for those who find it hard to get motivated to workout on their own. Socializing with others can promote a healthy lifestyle, as well as offer emotional support when going through difficult times in life. Group workouts can be an affordable alternative to personal training. From Tabata to Zumba, many people are trading their personal workouts for an experience with others and are inclined towards group workouts over solo routines.
Mental, Emotional, And Spiritual Health Get Equal Importance As the Physical
85% of people surveyed by GoodFirms asserted the importance of emotional, mental, and spiritual health to promote overall physical wellness and quality of life. Some respondents follow meditation practices, or Yoga, or pursue hobbies to keep their emotional and mental quotient in perfect balance with their physical body. Many believe that there cannot be a great immunity system or perfect body shape without the four pillars of emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health-these aspects are interconnected and enhance workout sessions and keep the brain focussed and active.
43.9% supplement their workouts with meditation.
As COVID-19 spread, it resulted in greater morbidity and had disastrous effects on people's mental health. Therefore, mental and emotional well-being becomes more important than ever. (10)
Short Workouts Are a Trend
High-intensity interval training programs short bursts of high-intensity bouts of exercise are trending.
Challenges and Opportunities in the Fitness Industry:
The contemporary fitness industry is facing various challenges owing to the refocusing, realignment, and redefining of the consumer mentality. Consumers and government regulatory bodies are demanding greater accountability from fitness establishments amidst the pandemic. Fitness consumers are seeking pandemic-focused and efficient service models that address the needs and changing demands of modern fitness consumers. However, even in these unprecedented times, abundant opportunities arise for those who can foresee, innovate, re-imagine and transform to appeal to whole new groups of consumers.
Some of the top challenges in the fitness industry and their solutions, as revealed through our survey and expert insights, are as below:
Challenge 1. Canceled Memberships and Return Delays:
The pandemic caused distress to the viability of fitness clubs and gyms. Even when allowed to reopen, capacity restrictions kept the clubs under revenue pressure. Many clubs saw an exodus of members who canceled memberships. With mask mandates, members felt discomfort while performing physical activities and chose to workout at home instead.
In some countries, where two doses were made mandatory to hit gyms and clubs, return to gyms got further delayed for many members. Job losses, the decline in business revenues, and other financial constraints amidst the pandemic forced members to cancel their memberships.(11)
Reverse the Pandemic-led Membership Loss
Clubs are still struggling to attract new members and maintain their current ones. All of this is happening because of COVID-driven membership loss. Fitness clubs can reverse this trend and keep members coming back again by following the below tips as suggested by experts:
- Find out what your members want: Look at what your members want and need by surveying them or inviting them to talk to a customer service representative about their experience at your club.
- If they mention something that you don't offer, try to find a way to include it in your business model.
- Services such as VIP membership, personal training, classes, and workshops can all be offered remotely so members can continue to workout no matter where they are.
- The key to a successful fitness business is the ability to make customers feel like they're part of a community. This can be accomplished by offering services that not only encourage health and wellness but also create an environment where people spend time together.
- Offer services such as stress relief, mental stimulation, and socialization opportunities for people who find it hard to get out of the house.
Challenge 2: Liquidity Issues
The fitness industry as a whole is in a state of flux. The cost of traditional gym memberships has risen to an all-time high, making it difficult for many people to afford. Reduced membership levels and frequent closures created liquidity challenges for fitness clubs and gyms. The increased expenditure due to covid protocols and regulations further stressed the bottom line.
While this trend is not exclusive to health clubs, they have been hit the hardest because their business models require long-term contracts with high upfront fees. Many fitness clubs lost their potential to survive such a critical financial juncture. The outcome is a decline in the number of fitness centers across America.(12) Liquidity issues forced many fitness centers out of business.
Renegotiations for Rental and Lease Arrangements
Fitness centers are struggling to stay afloat due to low-profit margins. In addition, fitness centers also face rising rent costs caused by gentrification in many areas. As a result, many fitness centers have had no choice but to close their doors. Businesses can seek revised rental/lease agreements to lower operating costs and apply for lower loan rates to sustain themselves for the medium term.
Offer Customized Pricing Models
Gyms can redesign memberships and offer price flexibility to accommodate the needs of both offline and online members.
Partnerships between wearable companies, fitness application makers, fitness influencers, and fitness studios can go a long way to facilitate enhanced consumer engagement and bring the consumers back into the fitness regime.
Challenge 3: Endless Spiral of Disinformation
Half-knowledged fitness influencers and self-proclaimed fitness stars are becoming major stress for the fitness industry. These influencers, who often have an enormous and often unsolicited following on social media sites such as Instagram, frequently post their training and diet regimes. Even without any valid credentials and unscientific fitness programs, they manage to get a community following. Brands and businesses approach them to endorse their products, and many of the 'inspired' ones fall into the endless spiral of misinformation.
Provide Authentic Content
There is a meteoric rise in fitness content available on digital channels such as Youtube and social media sites. However, a huge quantity of such content is mediocre, unscientific, and created by influencers who may or may not be experts in the field. So, there is a huge scope for mainstream fitness providers. The core fitness clubs that want to remain relevant have to offer digital fitness experiences and high-end content to keep their member base intact.
Fitness enthusiasts expect services that fit their current lifestyles and requirements. Fitness centers offering both virtual and physical workouts can achieve member retention goals. Integrated fitness alternatives with live classes, on-demand sessions, customized fitness options, along affordable and flexible pricing plans will help fitness providers bridge the revenue gap.
Although there are challenges, a digitally integrated approach will help the fitness industry to reach the untapped market.
Challenge 4: Supply Chain Issues
It's been two years since the pandemic struck and took lives, homes, businesses, and sanity. We still have no idea what caused it or why it came back. Anyway, after the pandemic hit, there was a major shortage of fitness equipment because companies couldn't get any new supplies from overseas. Owing to the pandemic, customers experienced longer waiting for products and rescheduling of deliveries. Now that things are getting a little better and production has resumed, many manufacturers have restructured their services to keep up with demand. Some of the supplies, especially supplements, are still a major issue.
Fitness Equipment Manufacturers Can Rethink Their Strategies
The pandemic has caused fitness equipment manufacturers to rethink their strategies. Many have already taken into account the changing needs of their clients and are trying to address the demand spike, particularly in the home gym equipment category. Manufacturers should focus on connected devices that provide a digital fitness experience and home gym support. Combining the same with AI, virtual reality, and machine learning can create more opportunities for manufacturers. Manufacturers have to concentrate on providing equipment that is more than just for use in gyms or sports clubs. For example, the pandemic left behind many people who were permanently disabled. Fitness equipment manufacturers can provide support for those who need equipment during their recovery.
Challenge 5: Gaining Consumer Confidence Back
COVID 19 is a major stressor and a dominant source of anxiety for millions of people around the world. With its fear around, it is difficult for gyms and fitness studios to gain lost consumer confidence. "Gyms with spatial issues or tighter spaces have suffered the most because many people still view a hot and heavy exercise class in a small room as having the potential to be a super-spreader event," says Mitchel Heard, the owner of Strongevity.
Reviewing Floor Space Utilization:
Reviewing and reallocating gym space to ensure maximum social distancing and a safer in-person gym experience should be one of the topmost priorities of gym businesses.
Support at-home Fitness Routines
When it comes to fitness, people generally fall into one of two categories: those who like the social environment of a gym or club and those who prefer to workout at home. Many people are rarely able to make it to the gym or fitness club because of their busy schedules. To help them still manage their health, gyms should offer services that let them maintain an active lifestyle without ever having to leave their homes. Fitness operators also need to rethink how they market themselves in order to reach such customers. Gyms can offer classes that can be attended in-person at home via online streaming services for workouts to accommodate members who prefer exercising on their own. Zoom integration and gym management software are supporting safer fitness regimes such as workout from home.
- The fitness space has seen a shift in consumer behavior.
- 56.1% of people workout at home post Covid-19 outbreak.
- Walking (78%) and Running (46.3%) are the most followed fitness activities.
- 43.9% supplement their workouts with meditation and 31.7% with strength training
- 43.9% of people bought suitable fitness equipment for exercising at home after the pandemic
- Fitness is now much more focused on at-home digital solutions that make it possible for people to workout from home or from any other location.
- 53.7% use a wearable device to monitor their fitness activity
- 65.9% state that they have appended their fitness regime post Covid-19 outbreak.
- 17.1% of fitness aspirants have opted for virtual fitness subscription services or on-demand fitness content
- 41.5 % prefer group workouts
- 40% of fitness clubs have tapped into the hybrid models
- 39% of respondents specifically follow fitness-based nutrition
- There is a demand for certified fitness professionals
- Short workouts are a trend
- Liquidity issues, canceled memberships, misinformation, weakened consumer confidence, and supply chain issues are major challenges in the fitness industry.
Future of Fitness Industry
Gyms and fitness studios are the first ones to get restrained during the pandemic surge. The threat of forced shutdowns is always lurking in fitness centers. Establishments that are quick to adopt the online mode and invest in digital platforms for providing virtual access to their customers can evade any unpleasant market situation. Also, with attractive membership offers and personalized service offerings, gyms are in a better position to attract new members.
The health and fitness club market is projected to witness a CAGR of 7.21% by 2026.(13) However, the future of the fitness industry will depend much on how efficiently the commercial fitness establishments and individual fitness service providers adapt to the changes that the industry faces and what new models, products, services, technology, and specialization will the fitness industry leaders will be able to develop to address the needs of the future fitness clientele.
The future commands the fitness industry to develop customized products and services, provide digital avenues of fitness through continuous connectivity, and create safer fitness spaces. Advanced touchscreen machines, improved network connectivity, and interactive streaming facilities are going to be a big drive for the at-home workout equipment market in 2022.
Fitness consumers are seeking new experiences. Safety, convenience, and affordability are dominating their preferences. There are fitness enthusiasts looking for incremental improvements in their fitness regimes; some are seeking an active life to increase their immunity, some want to move from isolated settings to community-based fitness groups, some want to regain their lost shape, and some want mental and physical well-being.
The fitness world is constantly evolving, and those who keep consumers at the forefront of this change will survive and thrive. With reexamined value propositions, hybrid incorporation, and customized offerings, the traditional gyms and fitness studios can entice fitness consumers.
We sincerely thank our Research Partners who participated in the survey.
About the Research
The survey consisted of multiple-choice questions, open-ended questions, and space for additional comments. Fitness experts and fitness enthusiasts participated in the research that was conducted between 15th January 2022 and 24th January 2022. The survey was sent electronically to a defined and selected list of fitness professionals/enthusiasts and a general audience. A total number of 410 respondents, including ACSM certified fitness professionals, nutritionists, gym owners, fitness software providers, and individual fitness trainers, participated in the survey.
Total Countries: 11
India, United States, Canada, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Romania, South Africa, United Arab Emirates