The pandemic is changing how consumers keep fit. A huge shift has and is taking place with the growth in online classes, personal training, one to one classes, outdoor exercises and home based fitness and the decline in gym memberships and activity.
Gym memberships take a hit in 2021
According to run repeat gym memberships have been the hardest hit with overall memberships down 60%. Only 8% of all adults see gym as the best option for staying fit. The drastic decline is highest amongst women in both the USA 58% and the UK 73.
Memberships are down and continue to trend down post lockdown, with studies showing gym membership cancellations increasing. This offers a bleak outlook for big box and and smaller ones that have suffered financially during lock down.
A combination of poor customers service, issues over membership, Covid refunds, failure to offer alternatives during lock down have all impacted on customer attitudes to gym membership.
The other important factor is why customers use gyms, with many customers questioning the annual cost, how much they use the facilities, and many during the lockdowns have looked and found alternatives such as online classes, video fitness classes on demand (VOD).
Moving forward the high cost of gym memberships will impact customers willingness and ability to stump up a regular monthly fee if they lose their jobs, or have to take reduced working hours, as furlow schemes unwind in the UK and USA.
According to Run Repeat over 50% of gym members stated that they did not intend to return to the gym.
One on One classes and Personal trainers see Strong Growth
Fitness is changing with demand for more personalised fitness training up by 47.5%. In the UK the figure is even higher with an increase of 159% of active UK adults are seeing personal trainers and nutritionists as their best solution to reaching their fitness goals in 2021.
NearYou has seen a 201% increase in 2021. Reflecting the belief that personal trainers, yoga reachers, Pilates instructors are the best to help customers achieve their fitness goals in 2021 than going down the gym. Instructor reviews by the public using the NearYou service reflect this view.
According to the survey women favour using fitness professionals to reach their goals 52.89% more than men.
That's also reflected in the NearYou figures that indicate that 80% of users are women accessing fitness professionals on the platform. This reflects that customers are looking for the best personal training to suite their schedules.
Online fitness classes stay strong
Online fitness classes, in particular Yoga and Pilates, and video on demand experienced growth as the best option to achieve fitness goals in 2021. The in-home fitness experience continues even as venues open up in August. The biggest growth in accessing fitness online has come from gym members (93%)!
The demand for online classes is high and will remain high, following a 134% surge in demand in 2020. The research indicates that growth in 2021 growth will flatten to around 17%. Not as much as the previous year but a healthy increase non-the-less.
Expect to see a growing number of customers using a mix of online and in-person activities to keep fit in 2021.
Outdoor fitness trends up in 2021
Exercising outdoors was voted the best way to stay fit in 2021 by 59.1% of active adults, increasing 14.6% from the start of 2020. Outdoor classes, running, walking, cycling, and outdoor fitness training is seeing a bigger increase in the UK compared to the USA.
The move to outdoor, fits in with lockdowns and is very much weather dependent. Whilst outdoor is popular in the summer months its fair to assume that as the weather get colder, and wetter this increase will dampen demand for outdoor fitness bootcamps and exercise.
Running classes outdoors is pretty hit and miss, even in summer months. Heavy rain, winds, very hot weather has affected outdoor yoga and dance classes forcing them to be cancelled or re-scheduled. NearYou has seen that outdoor classes are popular subject to the weather conditions. Find outdoor classes here.
In-Home Fitness in 2021
This has been one of the growth sectors in 2020 and 2021 in the USA. In the UK despite heavy TV advertising campaigns growth is much lower at 11% compared to the USA at 218%. It,s more popular amongst women than men. It would seem that customers see home based fitness equipment offers better value and more flexibility than a gym memberships.
The appeal of this equipment based fitness exercises, does not come cheap with the cost of the equipment ranging from $1,500 to $2500 plus monthly fees, plus a space in the house or garage to house the kit. Its clear that smaller homes in the UK will limit the appeal of in-home fitness equipment, compared to the USA and explains why the take up in the US was so dramatic.
The surge in use will ultimately plateau as the novelty wears off and the growth curve will flatten.
Fitness in so far in 2021
The fitness industry is experiencing an enormous change, the pandemic has in many ways impacted over many months how consumers access or participate in fitness activities. This makes planning and running a fitness gym, studio, or health club difficult as lockdown eases and in many cases impossible financially.
Opening up venues may see an initial rush of hard core gym fanatics, however, the less committed will be much harder to win back, the Run Repeat survey trends indicate that consumers feel gyms may not be the best way to keep fit and healthy in 2021.
This opens up opportunities for the best instructors to feed into this trend and run their own online and in-person classes using the NearYou platform. Fitness instructors join NearYou here.
A new ways to access Fitness in 2021
New services like NearYou that focus on offering multiple access points, online, in-person, outdoor and video (VOD) gives users the flexibility to pick and choose from the best personal trainers and instructors.
NearYou “Pay As You Go” services means customers just pay for sessions they attend or access online. This we believe is an unstoppable trend, if the economy in the UK and USA runs in trouble, the impact on disposable income will favour services like NearYou and the growth in outdoor activities.
Figures provided by RunRepeat:
Fitness Trends study published in the ACSM's Health and Fitness Journal surveyed 4,377 health and fitness professionals in 2020 to determine the top 20 most popular fitness trends of 2021.