At-home fitness may outlast coronavirus pandemic as digital offerings keep customers engaged

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At-home workouts have been the go-to solution since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and with new cases surging and winter approaching, the trend may be far from over. 

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Companies first saw an influx of new members amid widespread lockdown orders when droves of Americans were holed up inside and gyms were shuttered. Companies are preparing for continued demand as cold weather is likely to keep even more fitness junkies indoors.

At-home fitness has always been a part of people's lives, however, due to technological advancements and social media, working out at home has come a long way since the early 1980s when American actress Jane Fonda and others took over the scene with VHS exercise tapes. The videos sold tens of millions of copies and ignited a swath of TV workout programs, according to the BBC. However, the outdated tapes are a far cry from the virtual trainers and live-streamed classes that many are privy to today.

This new technology is a key tool for many companies in helping to keep consumers both motivated and inspired especially amid the current climate.

CORONAVIRUS ACCELERATES STREAMING FITNESS CLASS INDUSTRY

In a recent earnings call, Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau noted that the company's United We Move initiative, which offers free at-home workouts through its social media pages, "continues to see strong results." The program has reached 45 million viewers in 36 countries since the pandemic began, Rondeau said.

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Planet Fitness isn't alone.

Total connected fitness subscriptions for Peloton climbed to more than 1.33 million at the end of the quarter and total digital subscriptions grew 382% to over 510,000.

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All of its fitness members completed more than 90 million workouts across over 17,000 classes, up 332% year-over-year. As a result, the company says it's continuing to "ramp content production" producing over 2,400 new classes in the last quarter alone.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
PTONPELOTON INTERACTIVE100.01-25.45-20.29%
PLNTPLANET FITNESS INC78.11+10.88+16.18%
NKENIKE INC.128.99+0.05+0.04%

Moving forward, the company expects to see "elevated engagement levels, higher penetration of digital subscriptions, and continued fitness and wellness programming investments," according to an earnings report.

For Nike, it's all about "dialing up" its digital ecosystem and "leveraging" its entire digital portfolio, Heidi O’Neill, Nike president of consumer and marketplace, told FOX Business.

This includes Nike.com, the Nike app, Nike Run Club app, the Nike Training Club app and Nike social channels. Nike Run Club alone welcomed more than 1 million new runners in March and saw a 42% increase in runs logged, the company told FOX Business.

Home fitness company Mirror sells full-length mirrors that give consumers access to on-demand workouts. It also saw a surge in business with workouts per household growing 70% during peak COVID months, a company spokesperson told FOX Business.

Mirror saw a noticeable rise in users under the age of 20, which grew five times during the peak months of the coronavirus pandemic. The company attributes this growth to an increase in adults moving home or teens starting remote schooling.

As winter looms, Tuck Barre & Yoga, a Philadelphia-based yoga studio with four locations throughout the city, has even restarted its free barre classes, which are livestreamed on Facebook, in order to give consumers a needed boost, the company told FOX Business.

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About six months ago, Tuck Barre & Yoga launched a full on-demand platform, offering 200 barre and yoga classes for roughly $10 per month. The company also offers a Zoom schedule for people who need a "routine" and accountability, the company said.

According to market research firm NPD, fitness equipment sales overall have grown by 72% as of August 2020 compared to the same period last year.

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