As US fitness tech giant Peloton continues to expand internationally, a new report suggests the fitness industry is feeling the impact.
The American survey from user insights platform Alpha, which examined how ready US consumers are to train at home rather than in the gym, found 7% of those questioned currently subscribe to an in-home fitness class like Peloton, while 54% are interested in buying an at-home fitness system.
By contrast, 27% of those who work out at least once a month said they currently have a gym membership, but only 11% said they prefer the live environment of fitness classes.
The findings mirror recent workout trends identified in the UK. An Active Lives Survey released by Sport England in March found that swimming and cycling have decreased in popularity by 283,000 and 93,000 respectively between November 2016 to November 2017.
Yet the number engaging in circuit training or high-intensity interval training at least twice a week has increased by 518,000, with 47% of those participating in such activities aged between 16-34. Figures show 20% do their interval training sessions at home and 75% in a leisure centre or gym.
According to Ian McCaig, Co-Founder of London-based connected fitness startup Fiit, these trends all point to one thing for the future of interactive home fitness: it will become a better experience and bigger market than the traditional gym model.
“The global gym market is currently worth $80billion and growing at 4% year on year,” McCaig wrote in a recent post on the topic via LinkedIn. By contrast, “digital fitness” stands at $7billion but is growing 10 times faster at 40% and is estimated to make up a quarter of the gym market in the next few years.
“I don’t see the gym transforming enough to get more people into their facilities but I do see interactive home fitness gaining mass market adoption and marginalising the gym industry,” he added, pointing to the ability of home interactive fitness to “perfectly bridge the gap between convenience and motivation”.
“Peloton is certainly the biggest success story to date,” wrote McCaig, noting that the US company recently valued at $4billion has 600k people signed up to its streaming workouts. “If they were a gym they would be the fifth biggest in the US. Whoever becomes the market leader will no doubt become the Apple of fitness.”
Exercising at home isn’t without its obstacles, however, and research released by Fiit points to the fact there are currently 150k fitness apps available to the consumer, yet only 2% continue to be used after 30 days and just 1% after 90.
The Alpha survey also found the two primary sticking points stopping consumers from investing in an at-home fitness system is a lack of space in their home (34%) and the high price point (24%).
Peloton bikes currently retail at £1,895, plus £39 a month for a subscription to unlimited video classes and live streaming. The brand also offers a $19.49 a month digital membership offering over 10,000 live and on-demand instructor-led classes for varied exercise methods including running, walking, bootcamp, strength, stretching and yoga.
In an interview with Fast Company, Alpha Co-Founder Nis Frome said he believed any obstacles to the growth of the home workout model will soon be overcome as prices drop with tech advances and adoption continues to grow. Furthermore, he believes the key advantage home gym equipment has over the standard gym model is its potential for customisation.
“Generally speaking, over the last 15 years, products that offer a tailored, individual experience – think Netflix or, earlier, the iPod – tend to perform better over time than those offering a generic experience,” said Frome. “Clearly most of America doesn’t own a Peloton or attend SoulCycle. But at some point that was also true of cell phones or HDTVs.”
This month Peloton launched into the UK, opening a three-week pop-up store, dubbed “Peloton House” in Covent Garden. Next year it plans to transform the space into a studio where UK instructors will stream and record their own classes.