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Health and Fitness Under COVID: Who’s Flexing Their Muscles Now?

The coronavirus lockdown has forced gyms and fitness studios to shutter – and now, both the fitness industry and consumers are seeking new paths forward. We were able to discover where the market is headed – without breaking a sweat – by analyzing a group of health and fitness apps that specialize in activity tracking, online training, meditation, and diet management.

Fueled by fresh mobile data from 200MM+ US monthly active users, we were able to track the workout “footprint” moving from studios to apps. We uncovered which apps have captured the “swelter-in-place” growth. And we profiled the personas of different app users to generate people-based insights for you to use on your next customer engagement or acquisition marketing plan.

Who’s pumping up their growth?

Virtually every health and fitness app we analyzed has experienced growth as the lockdown progressed. Meditation and diet apps, such as Calm and Lifesum, grew more modestly – perhaps indicating that the work-from-home life is less stressful and people are putting their diets on hold while quarantining. Other apps – like Buttocks Workout and Fitbit – experienced more dramatic growth as people pursued new opportunities to achieve their fitness goals. Perhaps most notably, the use of the LA Fitness app skyrocketed. This shows that at least one fitness studio brand is connecting well with its members – even though they can’t go to the gym in person.

Where fitness studio and gym customers are turning?

Using our place visitation and app ownership data, we found that people who have worked out in studios and gyms in the last 180 days are now augmenting their health on these at-home workout apps. As the economy reopens, these apps might be the first place studios and gyms should go to lure their customers back.

Weightlifters and runners are different

While weightlifters and runners share many of the same apps, there are differences. Weightlifters are more likely to use Google Fit to track their activities; runners prefer the more runner-friendly Fitbit. Likewise, weightlifters more attuned to muscle building and definition are bigger users of apps that track diet.

Women and men have differing fitness goals

We performed a demographic analysis to discover how women and men differ in their fitness preferences. We learned that female fitness enthusiasts take a more holistic approach, skewing toward meditation, meal plan, and activity tracking apps. Males heavily prefer training apps – except for the female-dominated Buttocks Workout, which focuses on sculpting toned legs and a tight butt.

The young want rewards while the old want a good night’s sleep

By comparing age groups, we uncovered some key differences among consumers. Younger people are motivated by the rewards earned through Sweatcoin and Pushup apps. Older users are using Calm to meditate and gain more restful sleep. For middle-aged people, it’s all about actively training and tracking their activities through apps like Nike Run Club.

Spanish speakers say “si!” to working their abs

Comparing different language speakers, we found that Spanish-speaking fitness enthusiasts are more obsessed with ab workouts than pushups. And while Fitbit’s 8MM user base includes more total Spanish-speaking users, Runtastic enjoys a larger percentage of Spanish speakers among its users.

Fitness app users are open to competition

While big-name workout apps like Google Fit, Runtastic, Nike Training Club, and Strava all saw an uptick in new users as the pandemic hit, we wanted to see how loyal their users are. So we studied Runtastic users and found that a significant percentage of them also have other apps – with Google Fit being #1. This suggests that competitive apps have a good shot at luring new users from their competitors.

These are just a few of the insights to be gleaned from analyzing health and fitness app user data. Whether you’re a fitness app provider seeking growth or a gym chain plotting to re-attract its clientele post-COVID, TrueData’s competitive intelligence and ML-powered recommendations can help you ensure your competitors feel the burn – not you. Contact us for a demo today. 


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