What Does The Future Of Fitness Look Like?

Broll Property Intel’s latest Retail Snapshot, The Future of Fitness, takes an in-depth look at how COVID-19 has affected the fitness industry, how people are staying fit while confined to their homes and what social fitness in post-lockdown society could look like.

Before lockdown, fitness fanatics enjoyed almost 24-hour access to gyms and other social fitness venues. Weightlifters were lifting weights; runners were hitting treadmills at length; group cycling classes were a daily occurrence. The question is: how has the abrupt shutting of gyms and cessation of group fitness affected the industry?

Understandably, brick-and-mortar gym owners are struggling while their doors remain shut. Equally annoyed are the gym-goers, who need to satisfy their fitness fix to remain in peak physical condition. According to the report, global year-on-year e-commerce sales of fitness equipment have increased dramatically during lockdown periods, as people find ways to remain in shape without being able to swipe their gym cards.

According to the Retail Snapshot report, US year-on-year sales of vitamins shot up by 166%, with fitness goods – like yoga mats and other equipment – increasing by 170%. However, most impressive of all has been the sale of weights (dumbbells, barbells) which has grown by 307% year-on-year. These figures can only mean one thing: people are setting up their own home gyms.

It seems that South Africans are also taking advantage of the e-commerce convenience, by stockpiling – among other things – fitness equipment. Local e-commerce retailer, Takealot, announced that treadmills and other home gym equipment were on their top 10 list of items sold during May 2020.

However, the rise of the home gym hasn’t beaten commercial gymming just yet. Broll Intel’s Retail Snapshot uncovers a new model in the fitness industry, where gym owners are ensuring that their patrons have access to the equipment they need to stay in shape. Members can either buy or rent fitness equipment from the gym during lockdown, so they can exercise on the standard of equipment they are used to.

Another fascinating insight offered by the report looks at the top health and fitness mobile apps downloaded during lockdown. Second on the list of free Google Play Store fitness apps is one to help lose belly fat, and third is an app for equipment-free home workouts. Other health and wellness apps popular among South Africans are mindfulness apps, weight loss apps, and even chakra-opening apps. While mobile apps have allowed individuals to keep fit during lockdown, commercial gyms such as Virgin Active and other personal trainers have been hosting live workout sessions, thanks to modern communication technology, which further encourages their members to work out regularly.

The question remains – what will the long term effect of the closure of fitness centres have on the property industry? Another concern is that of sporting venues, which rely on ticket-buying event attendees to remain afloat.

This is not to mention the amount of money lost in contracts and advertising revenue. According to the Retail Snapshot, the pushing of the 2020 summer Olympics (to be held in Tokyo, Japan) back a year is going to cost roughly $3-billion in sports sponsorship agreements.

With industries reopening, what will commercial gyms and other social fitness venues look like in the new norm, as social distancing and regiment disinfecting protocols remains a pertinent factor while the world waits for a vaccine and/or for the pandemic to end?

The insightful Future of Fitness report from Broll Property Intel is an insider snapshot of where the fitness industry is at right now, what has put it here, and how social fitness fits into the new-normal health and wellness industry of tomorrow.