What Commercial Gyms Will Be Like After COVID-19

What Commercial Gyms Will Be Like After COVID-19

The coronavirus or COVID-19 led to the mass closure of commercial gyms and fitness studios globally. This has led to the rise in popularity of both home gym equipment and online fitness classes.

According to slackline, a retail intelligence firm, ”weight training” is one of the fastest-growing categories in e-commerce, with over 300% year on year increase.

”Fitness equipment” is another category that has seen a lot of attention, with a 170% increase.

Empty Shelves and Lack of Supplies

Almost every fitness retailer, including the likes of Kmart and Rebel, found themselves with empty shelves after an initial panic spike from people fearful of lost gains and those who can’t imagine a life without exercising.

On the other hand, online fitness classes surged in popularity as buff celebrities and personal trainers started using zoom and similar platforms to conduct online classes.

Commercial gyms have also responded by renting out their equipment, holding live classes, and selling online courses.

In the wake of drastic changes in the fitness industry, it poses a very important question: what will gyms look like after cOVID-19?

The State of Commercial Gyms after the Pandemic

1. Gradual Recovery

Since most individuals will continue to exercise remotely, with some being fearful or unable to commit financially and others regressed to lazy behavior, commercial gyms should expect a gradual recovery and should actually consider enticing return through incentives like offering discounts on memberships.

The fitness industry might have a recovery curve similar to the one penned by Everett Rogers, a renowned sociologist.

He discovered that early adopters represent around 16 percent of the overall market, with the early majority and late majority following, after a substantial lag.

Also, there is a chance that the size of the overall market might not be as big as it was before the coronavirus and so, many commercial gyms may have to come with new business models if they wish to stay afloat.

Gyms may be forced to provide online courses and think of how to enforce social distancing as well as cleanliness to ensure clients’ hygiene concerns are catered to.

2. Budget and Specialist Gyms Take the Win

Usually, generalists succeed in uncertain and fast-moving industries as they can adapt.

Specialists, on the other hand, tend to succeed in uber-competitive sectors as they have a differentiator that can’t be easily copied.

So, specialist gyms like Crossfit, reformer Pilates, and martial arts have a chance of recovering faster than their counterparts.

That’s because they’re characterized by one on one & group training, social bonds, expensive gym equipment, specialist trainers, and complex progressions.

These are aspects that aren’t easily replicated at home, particularly for people serious about getting their blackbelt.

Generalist gyms, however, provide a value that can be easily achieved at home.

So, unless such gyms offer budget options or have a loyal client base, recovery might be tough.

Weight stack gym equipment - Fitness Expo

3. Bankruptcy

The gym industry was already a competitive place before the pandemic, thanks to the introduction and popularity increase in numerous ways of working out and staying fit in recent years.

As a result, the United States health and fitness industry has spiked in value, clocking in at $30 billion as of September 2018.

However, due to all the factors mentioned earlier, it’s highly unlikely that commercial gyms will have an easy time getting back on their feet. This is not just for gyms alone.

According to stats, over 50% of small businesses cannot survive under the current social distancing measures.

4. The Real Estate Conundrum

If you own a generalist gym with a huge floorspace, you might be thinking about relocating to a smaller space in order to save on rent money.

However, this might not be an ideal solution, given the social distancing measures in place. This is without a doubt, one of those damned if you do and damned if you do not, equations.

Regardless, social distancing will decrease the maximum capacity of most commercial gyms, which will have an impact on the membership numbers. If you cannot go to the gym because it is full, why keep paying?

The Takeaway

It is the ability to survive that defines winners and losers in business, and this is no exception in the fitness industry. The ability for commercial gyms to restrategize around the new realities will be directly proportional to their chances of succeeding.

Contact Fitness Expo Store for more helpful tips on how you can stay fit during this pandemic COVID-19.