Consumers Adopting Digital Fitness Solutions: Survey With more than 50,000 respondents from across multiple geographies, a Gympik survey tracks key wellness trends such as mental health, emerging fitness solutions, and new industry challenges

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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The novel coronavirus outbreak has had a drastic impact on every aspect of daily life, whether personal or professional.

The survey titled "COVID-19 Fitness Behaviour Survey' draws insights from the responses of over 50,000 fitness enthusiasts from multiple regions. It maps the changes brought by the pandemic upon the fitness behavior of the Indian consumer. The report reveals trends related to holistic fitness, as well as novel challenges that the Indian fitness industry faces in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The paradigm-changing shift towards digital fitness

A significant finding of the survey details the future shape of a post-pandemic reality. The Gympik survey highlights how consumers have adopted digital fitness solutions to counter the physical restrictions posed by the pandemic.

The extended lockdown drove a massive surge in the demand for virtual classes for yoga by 87 per cent and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio workouts such as Zumba by 72 per cent, aerobics by 67 per cent, and pilates by 22 per cent. Moreover, an overwhelming 84 per cent of fitness enthusiasts tried live-streaming fitness classes at least thrice during the lockdown—marking a significant increase over the corresponding numbers in 2019, which stood at 29 per cent. During the lockdown, 77 per cent of Indians also tried to stay fit by combining household chores with virtual classes and DIY (do-it-yourself) home workout routines.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, it was the younger audiences who led this charge in the demand for virtual fitness. Consumers between 25 and 34 years of age were the most willing to adopt digital fitness solutions, with female users (60 per cent) being more open to virtual classes than male users (40 per cent). Major urban centers such as Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi/NCR dominated the country's virtual fitness landscape.

Going back to the gym: Concerns, possible solutions, and the way ahead

The report also analyzed consumer's enthusiasm toward resuming gym workouts with strong sanitization, social distancing, and spot temperature checks emerging as the key areas of concern.

As gym owners gear up to resume operations, implementing better on-premise sanitization can help them allay such concerns and get their business back to pre-pandemic levels. With customers also open to continue paying for digital fitness post-lockdown, they can also look at implementing hybrid physical/digital memberships to make their business more viable, sustainable, and future-ready.

Holistic health in the pandemic: The challenges and solutions

The social isolation enforced during the lockdown has had a major impact on the mental health of India's fitness enthusiasts. Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of the respondents felt the COVID-19 situation has worsened their mental health, with 45 per cent of them admitting to being more anxious and 37 per cent feeling more sadness than before.

Meditation and mindfulness apps have found favor with fitness enthusiasts across the country during the lockdown.

More than half of the surveyed audience (55 per cent) was also exercising at least 3-4 days a week—a big change from their pre-COVID-19 exercise behavior. A significant majority (74 per cent) worked out to build their immunity, while 53 per cent of working professionals exercised to reduce health-related risks.

Speaking on the findings, Gympik founder and chief executive officer Amaresh Ojha said, "We are living in extraordinary times, with the entire world in the grip of an unprecedented healthcare crisis. It is only natural that holistic wellness has become a non-negotiable priority. Through this survey, we wanted to understand how Indian fitness seekers are dealing with the physical limitations imposed by the lockdown. We have also dug deeper into the larger fitness landscape, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic, to identify the challenges it faces, as well as possible solutions."

"It is extremely heartening to see tech-enabled solutions are providing a viable and long-term alternative to physical, gym-based fitness. Through these findings, we want to empower owners of gyms and fitness centers with the insights they need to strengthen their business. We want to help build a diverse and value-driven fitness ecosystem that caters to the specific needs of all stakeholders and paves the way for a fitter and healthier India," he added.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

Former Staff

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