The fitness industry faced an enormous disruption resulting from pandemic-related shutdowns beginning in March. Gyms and studios were forced to shift to an online format overnight, a near impossible task for facilities reliant on specialized equipment and personal training.
However, as quarantine continued from weeks to months, sales data revealed consumers were becoming more comfortable with at-home workouts. Many were introduced to the notion that exercising at home may be just as effective as going to the gym and that there is an ease of access to programs geographically far from them. While at-home fitness is not a new concept, the pandemic certainly accelerated its need. Fitness technology and equipment sales increased dramatically, as did the amount of online workout subscriptions and streaming services. This has created more opportunities for startups focused on adapting to the latest era of digital fitness. Even if consumers become unwilling to pay for said subscriptions as time goes on, the amount of free resources via platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are virtually endless.
As the pandemic continues, so do the aftershocks for brick-and-mortar gyms. Many gyms filed for bankruptcy, including Gold’s Gym in May and 24-Hour Fitness in June. Even those that did not file for bankruptcy took major hits to staffing and membership numbers. Experts predict that as gyms and studios reopen, numbers will most likely not return to what they were before. If they do, it probably be some time as concerns for safety and budget resulting from the pandemic are predicted to have lasting effects on consumer and governmental behavior.