February 2, 2023

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Amaresh Ojha, Business Head, RoundGlass Gympik
The market size of the global fitness industry surpassed 96 billion USD as recently as 2019, with over 170 million people choosing to stay fit each day. Despite the pandemic-induced disruption, the industry witnessed a rapid increase in the number of gym subscribers and fitness enthusiasts in the last two years. What worked in the industry’s favor was its resilience and adaptability. For instance, in response to the shift to remote working amid the initial lockdowns, the fitness market offered remote workout solutions to allow fitness enthusiasts to follow their fitness regimes virtually. Here’s taking a look at this development in detail.
2021: The year of virtual, hybrid, and personalized fitness journeys
Amidst the several challenges faced during the outbreak, people took out time to find newer ways to lead healthier lifestyles and take better care of themselves. A recent report observed that 75% of Indians were consuming home-cooked food, 54% were exercising regularly, 47% were going for consistent health checkups, and 30% were upgrading their fitness regimes using advanced apps and devices. The fitness apps, for instance, saw a 156% increase in their total downloads, the highest in any country during the pandemic. Through a variety of fitness and wellness apps, fitness enthusiasts were not only meeting their daily walk and body workout targets but were also practicing mindfulness and meditation on the go.
In the latter part of the year, fitness trends in India grew and thrived exponentially. Thanks to the increased pace of the vaccination drive across the country, people began to combine their home workouts with their weekly training sessions at gym studios. This led to the rise of hybrid fitness regimes. The new model has led fitness enthusiasts to follow more flexible routines without compromising on personal coaching or community interactions.
Fitness technology was already established as a buzzword even before the pandemic. However, after March 2020, smart wearables such as smart wristwatches and bands became more popular among Indian fitness enthusiasts. Industry reports show that the Indian wearable market grew 170.3% year-on-year in Q1 2021as more people started taking note of their heart rates, calorie intakes, sleep cycles, and daily water consumption.
All in all, 2021 was the year of massive transformation for the fitness industry. From virtual classes to the adoption of free fitness apps, the year has paved the way for more inclusive, accessible, and personalized fitness experiences in the country. Astride of the tech wave, the coming years will see the fitness industry embracing more tech-based solutions to deliver enhanced, personalized, and more holistic experiences to fitness lovers.
2022: The year of digitalization, artificial intelligence, and innovation
The new year will take fitness technology trends to a whole different level. And a part of it is expected to grow due to the increasing cases of Omicron, a recently mutated virus, which is expected to hit 1.5 lakh cases by February next year. While the projected third wave will encourage more people to adopt online and hybrid workout modules, it will also create space for large-scale tech innovations to emerge and prosper in the fitness domain.
Besides personal motivation, recent developments in the tech space will influence the innovation trajectory of the fitness industry. One such development is the rise of the Metaverse. Advanced fitness tech of the future will enable fitness lovers to pursue their fitness goals with the help of highly immersive and interactive workout games. Designed using VR and AR-based technologies, the games will encourage movement-based cardio exercises, music-mapped routines and newer fitness activities such as boxing, sword fighting, and dancing among others.
Working out in the Metaverse will also allow users to organize group training, cycle racing, and running sessions with their friends from different corners of the world.
The fitness metaverse will be supported by apps to make the fitness journey of users more immersive and compelling. Blockchain-based apps, for instance, will allow users to earn tokens by completing tasks and modules on fitness apps. These tokens can further be used to buy fitness equipment, unlock new modules, and book live coaching sessions.
The rise of online fitness classes has been just one chapter in a long story of innovation in the fitness industry. With the virtual fitness market expected to hit almost 60 billion USD by 2027, people worldwide will be able to enjoy superior experiences enabled by tech-led training sessions. The advance towards such a future has already begun.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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