With gyms and fitness studios temporarily shuttered earlier this year to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, consumers found alternate outlets to break a sweat — namely virtual on-demand fitness programs.
According to Matthew Schopfer, the head of research at the investment-management firm Infusive, while it is true that the pandemic was integral to this shift, the coronavirus ultimately served to accelerate a push toward digital fitness that had long been in the works.
Much like how Netflix and Amazon disrupted the way Americans watch television and shop, Schopfer said the on-demand fitness boom was another example of digitization infiltrating all aspects of our lives.
“We’ve seen this across all sorts of different industries and categories, whether that’s e-commerce or digital entertainment or food delivery, and also, of course, on-demand fitness,” he told Business Insider. “The rising penetration of digital consumption was already an ongoing global secular trend.”
Infusive’s early research also indicates that there will be a “permanent consumer behavior change” regarding how Americans exercise over the long term, Schopfer added.
“We’re less of the view that as soon as the economy reopens everything goes back to normal,” he said, adding that Virtual fitness “may decelerate from the current growth level, but broadly speaking, we think this shift toward things being more digital at the consumer level is really here to stay.”