Health, fitness apps see more downloads amid lockdown

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Published: April 7, 2020 3:01 AM

CureFit claims that as many as two lakh people are attending its live classes every day on the app.

CureFit offers several services such as food delivery under eat.fit, health care clinics called care.fit and mental wellness service mind.fit.CureFit offers several services such as food delivery under eat.fit, health care clinics called care.fit and mental wellness service mind.fit.

Health and fitness apps have come up with new alternatives for people to remain fit while they stay indoors to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Apps such as CureFit and Fittr have introduced live workout sessions for users on their apps as well as on social media platforms, witnessing decent traction.

CureFit claims that as many as two lakh people are attending its live classes every day on the app. “The traction we are seeing for our live classes is even better than we saw in our cult.fit centres, where 80,000-90,000 people would work out every day,” said Naresh Krishnaswamy, head of growth and business at CureFit.

CureFit offers several services such as food delivery under eat.fit, health care clinics called care.fit and mental wellness service mind.fit. The start-up, however, is known for its fitness classes, which can be booked through its app. The company had to shut down 270 of its fitness centres (cult.fit) in wake of the nationwide lockdown.

Another fitness start-up Fittr (earlier known as Squat), too, reports that one-two lakh people are engaging every day with it during its live-streaming sessions on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The company has also created 60 WhatsApp groups, where its fitness coaches train people, and it plans to soon roll out a live streaming feature on its app, too.

“We have initiated several challenges and gamified the entire process so that people remain motivated to work out in these challenging times,” said Jitendra Chouksey, founder, Fittr.

Most of the apps were hit severely by the lockdown and saw a drop in their usage as the shutdown was announced. While CureFit suffered due to closure of its centres, Fittr saw a drastic drop in people taking up its subscriptions.

“We usually made Rs 3.5-4 crore in a month but we ended March at just Rs 2.7 crore. In April, we are expecting a slump of 60%,” informed Chouksey.

Companies are launching new features to increase traction. CureFit, besides live workouts, has also introduced live therapy consultations on its apps, teleconsultations with doctors and delivery of essentials like staples through eat.fit. Another app, HealthifyMe, has introduced a free immunity assessment test, hand-washing tracker and other immunity building tools on its app.

“Our new features like an immunity-focused tab and home workouts are seeing a lot of engagement. We have seen an increase in usage by 10-20% of our app over the last two weeks owing to Covid-19,” said Tushar Vashisht, co-founder and CEO, HealthifyMe.x

Most of the features are being offered free of cost and the companies might later monetise through them. Experts are, however, sceptical whether the traction gained through these apps would last and if these apps would be able to generate long-term revenues.

“While bringing people to their platform would be easy, it won’t be easy to monetise them. Though people may be downloading these apps, these apps will have to strategise to create a connection with consumers so that they can later cross-sell and monetise them,” said Amarjeet Singh, partner at KPMG.

According to Ankur Pahwa, partner for e-commerce and consumer internet, EY India, price points at which these services will be monetised when things return to business as usual will play a crucial role in their adoption amongst many first-time users getting on these platforms.

“While most users are getting on these platforms as they have extremely limited options to maintain health and fitness activities, they can choose to remain on the platforms if they see the value-add through attractive packages at the right price points,” he said. “These apps will need to find a way of giving users a holistic experience of integrated health, wellness and social through gamification, which will make using the apps more engaging compared to the traditional workouts.”

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