Do People Still Want to Workout At-Home?

Fitness Industry

It’s a great question. A question I get asked a lot by both boutique studios and gyms as well as investors. There is some irony, as just a year ago some of the same investors were asking me whether people were ever going to go back to boutique studios and gyms or whether everyone would just stay at home riding on their Pelotons.

Surveys, would say yes - not just the ones during the Covid pandemic, but even recent surveys show that people are continuing to workout from home, just like hybrid working with options to work from home will likely now be around forever in many companies.

Here are a few of the older stats:

·       Most people (59%) now favor a 60:40 split between working out in-person at the gym and working out at home.

       Source: 2021 GLOBAL FITNESS REPORT LesMills

·       Among gym prospects, 65% say offering quality live or virtual classes would encourage them to join a facility.

        Source: 2021 GLOBAL FITNESS REPORT LesMills

·       35% of Americans started going to an in-person fitness class they discovered through virtual fitness.

        Source: 2022 Fitness Report by Mindbody

·       Three quarters of consumers reported attending live stream workouts from their go-to fitness business.

        Source: 2022 Fitness Report by Mindbody

But what about now?

Well, Momentive did a survey on wearable devices in September 2022. They asked 3,056 US adults, collecting data between the 2nd and 6th September 2022. The survey was focused around wearable usage, but there’s a lot of interesting data about fitness in general in the study. Some key findings:

1.     26% of U.S. adults surveyed go to a gym, fitness studio or health club at least weekly.

2.     57% of U.S. adults surveyed exercise at home at least weekly. So over 2X the number who go to a fitness location at least weekly.

3.     72% of weekly gym goers also exercise at home on a weekly or daily basis.

4.     33% of adults who exercise at home at least weekly go to a gym (or studio / health club) on a weekly or daily basis.

5.     31% of U.S. adults say they are going to the gym less often now than a year ago (2021).

6.     76% of U.S. adults say they are exercising at home more often or about the same as a year ago (2021).

7.     30% of U.S. adults use a wearable device to manage or monitor their health, with the majority owning a smartwatch.

8.     24% of U.S. adults plan on purchasing a wearable device in the next 6 months, with most planning on purchasing a smartwatch.

9.     For people planning on purchasing a smartwatch, 65% are considering it to monitor overall fitness / health, and 51% for tracking exercises and workouts - the top two reasons given.

10.  Apple is the leader in wearable device brand recognition (77%), followed by Fitbit, Samsung and Garmin (in that order).

Lot of stats - how do we at Tribe view all of that, and the at-home opportunity more broadly?

1.     I hear a lot of people in the fitness industry talk about reaching the 75% of the population who aren’t going to gyms and studios. So it turns out that 31% of the U.S. population, and 42% of U.S. adults who don’t go to a gym / studio regularly, are actually exercising at home. They aren’t all sat on the sofa watching Netflix.

2.     A significant majority of people going to gyms and studios are also working out from home. So if you own a gym or studio, yes your members are doing at-home workouts.

3.     People are going to the gym / studio a bit less than a year ago (both after the pandemic), but they are working out from home more.

4.     Adoption of wearables is increasing, fitness is both the #1 and #2 reason for purchasing, and we know independently that most gym / studio members own one.

5.     In another survey, 50% of consumers said their at-home workouts were not intense enough, that their at-home fitness regimens were less consistent, and that they struggled to find motivation.  Source: McKinsey

What should you do now?

1.     Omnichannel fitness really is here to stay.

2.     Your members want the flexibility of at-home workouts, and they want their at-home workouts to be more motivating. You can help them with that.

3.     There are thousands of people in your catchment area doing demotivating at-home workouts every week. You can help them too - whether you directly monetize it, and/or view it as a new member acquisition tool. For example, you could offer 10 at-home live classes per month, but make 1 or 2 of them ‘open access’ and advertise them (on social, etc) - your on-cost for having more people on at-home class is almost zero.

How can Tribe help?

1.     Tribe is a software company empowering local studios to create a premium experience for at-home fitness and wellness classes.

2.     Your online classes can be more compelling that just video chat, with more interactivity and gamification as well as better production quality.

3.     Tribe’s software already integrates with Bluetooth heart rate straps as well as all the most popular smartwatches - from Apple, Fitbit, Samsung, Garmin and Google / Wear OS.

4.     Tribe enables both live and on-demand leaderboards, for modalities that benefit from that. Across all modalities, we plan next year to pull weekly step count and other info into your member views.

5.     You can combine live and on-demand classes into a single experience, branded for your studio or gym.

6.     You can mix live and on-demand content in live classes, so your coach can sit on a sofa at home and lead a live class online, giving personal coaching to your members.

As we have written about before, no coach can give a premium experience over basic video chat. The SVP Digital at Barry’s said this of their own experiences at Barry’s early in the Covid pandemic at a Fitness Tech conference in Atlanta in October.

Want to win at digital? Give Tribe a try. We only win if you do.

Justin Marston

Thinker, writer, innovator, runner, Star Wars fan

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