Subscription-based workouts are reaching millions of people right now and chances are you’re one of them. From Peleton to Mirror to Fitness+ by Apple, people are increasingly shedding the physical gym to sweat in their own living rooms.
It’s no shock that COVID-19 accelerated how fast subscription fitness services are becoming what retail experts call a ‘mega-category’. Gyms were particularly hard-hit by the pandemic last year, having to close down for months for health and safety reasons. Health club members, many of whom were self-quarantined, turned to other options to continue their fitness routines. Those options were online and a fitness revolution took off.
Fortunately, Kinetic high speed internet plans are more than capable of keeping people connecting to their workout of choice.
In case you’re one of the rapidly-shrinking pool of people who don’t know how subscription fitness services work, it starts with the purchase of equipment. In Peleton’s case, it’s a stationary bike with an interactive video screen; for Mirror, it’s a specially equipped full-length mirror and camera system. Both products, and those like them, connect to live or on-demand content that guide you through your workout.
People are signing up in droves. According to a September 2020 article in Modern Retail, Peloton saw revenue up 172 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of the year alone. Mirror, which was purchased for $500 million by Lululemon, brought in $170 million in revenue last year while Nike reported during its fiscal fourth quarter earnings report that more than 18 million workouts were logged through Nike Run Club and Nike Train Club.
Altogether, reported the Washington Post in January 2021, consumers spent $167 million on just the top five mobile fitness apps last year, a 40 percent increase from the year before. Last May alone, in fact, 3.3 million people in the U.S. downloaded at least one of these apps, a 43 percent increase over the month of January when new year’s resolutions typically boost such purchases.
One other indication that these services have moved out of the luxury category and into the mainstream has been the celebrity status of many online fitness instructors, whose faces have been splashed all over mainstream and online media last year. Peleton’s instructors are particularly visible – see Ally Love’s day in the life piece for The New York Times, Vanity Fair’s piece on Robin Arzón or Cody Rigsby’s profile in Vogue and a piece on Alex Toussaint by ESPN, among others. Not to mention huge social media presences, which are turning instructors into modern reality stars.
“This isn’t a gig. This isn’t a six-month movie contract, you know?” Arzón told Vanity Fair. “This is something that is much more of a marriage; there’s an intimacy to what we do, being in people’s homes.”