Locked gyms due to Coronavirus outbreak! How fitness industry sees innovation and growth

Published: April 27, 2020 1:01:04 PM

The fitness industry is increasingly leveraging digital opportunities for a connected experience with customers.

coronavirus, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus in India, coronavirus impact, coronavirus impact on fitness industry, coronavirus impact on gyms, gyms functioning during COVID-19Whether big or small gyms, everyone is bearing the brunt of what the world is going through. (Representative image: Reuters)

By Prateek Sood

With countries across the globe under lockdown, work from home has become the new normal. Moreover, with the financial markets plummeting, the epidemic has put lives to a standstill. Though the efforts to curb the impact of global pandemic are in full pace, it is still unclear as to when normal life will resume.

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Amidst the catastrophic outbreak, the fitness industry has found itself in a dissimilar position, especiallythe digital fitness brands. As the digital brands are already equipped to offer remote fitness options to its customers, digital studios are witnessing an uptick in demand as a result of people being prevented from going out to gyms and fitness centers. However, the traditional fitness studios are grappling to explore innovative ways of doing business, such as launching live streaming fitness sessions and pre-recorded online classes.

Fitness Centres Ailing

The cascading effects of the pandemic continue. With the country being under lockdown for a long time now and no clarity as to when we will be able to start our normal routine, the situation remains gloomy. Among many other industries, the crisis has hit the fitness centres hard. Whether big or small gyms, everyone is bearing the brunt of what the world is going through.

However, the situation is more worrisome for small players as they don’t have the budget to go digital and spend big on digital advertising. Big brands or established fitness studios are coming up with different initiatives to make sure that their consumers stay healthy inside their homes.They are increasingly launching online training sessions, a mix of both live and pre-recorded classes, where gym members are instructed on how to perform their workouts at home, with or without certain equipment.They have also been putting more into their digital marketing budget to make workout from home possible.

Unlike the scenario in Europe and America where delivery of all the products, essential or non-essential is on boom, the Indian government has only permitted delivery of essential products. The fitness stores who supply fitness equipments are eagerly waiting for the lockdown to end or the government to start delivery of non-essential products so that they can revive the business that is running completely dry as of now.

Pulling the Strings on Digital Opportunities

The fitness industry is increasingly leveraging digital opportunities for a connected experience with customers. Home workout apps with classes on Zumba and Hooping to Yoga and Crossfitare witnessing a tremendous upsurge among millions in self isolation, helping them ease anxiety and stress caused by the crisis.

Many fitness influencers are taking the opportunity to promote exercise in the context of general well-being when people are unable to go to the gyms and mental stress is taking a toll on many amidst lockdown. Fitness coaches are holding daily live PE sessions on YouTube and Instagram. This is helping many influencers with increased engagement as they rely on monetisation from social networks, making it a smart move all around. For influencers who previously focused on gym-based workouts, there is an opportunity to capitalise on the changing habits of consumers, and to branch out into content that focuses on health and well-being when everyone is scared due to the spread of the virus.

Summing It All Up

As the cascading effects of COVID-19 continue to spread, gym owners and fitness solutions suppliers remain worried. Meanwhile, various fitness brands are building a stronger online presence and discovering new ways to connect with customers with an aim to build a highly loyal and enthusiastic customer base online. In search of light relief from the unnerving situation, people are actively searching for online sessions, group yoga, home workout guides and much more.The improvement of online fitness content, availability of and accessibility to free courses and online support are a few silver linings that have accompanied these uncertain times.

(The author is Director, Grand Slam Fitness. Views expressed are personal.)

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