Still Pumping Up: Video/TV Screen Virtual Usage High For Fitness Consumers

The virtual video world of fitness may not be done with you, even as some gym/health clubs continue to see members returning and COVID-19 issues continue.

Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau says member growth and visitation from executive members are holding against the Omicron variant, according to a CNBC report.

Before the current spike, U.S. gym visits for October were down just 8% from 2019 pre-pandemic levels, according to tracking data from investment firm Jefferies.

What we don’t know is how many overall video fitness enthusiasts are consuming content two years into the pandemic. That said, we have some hints by looking at the most high-profile player in the group: Peloton.

In November 2021, Peloton said it had 2.5 million connected fitness subscribers for its most recent quarter, via its subscription video platform, which has a starting price of $13.99/month. Those numbers are up 87% versus the year before. Connected fitness subscriber numbers are a subset of the overall 6.2 million members on the platform. Plus, Peloton has more than 887,000 paying digital-only subscribers -- up 74%.



Still, perhaps one telling sign is the number of total workouts for the quarterly period ending in June dropped 10% to 134.3 million (versus the quarter ending in March), even as its annual retention rate is over 92%, says the company. With rising vaccinated rates, fitness enthusiasts feel more comfortable in going back to a gym, which could be a contributing factor.

Peloton Interactive investors might analyze all this data in a direction that means slower growth -- which has resulted in the company’s stock price sinking a massive 76% since the beginning of 2021 -- now at $35.25. Another big part of this investor move had to do with a faulty initial design in its Peloton Tread treadmill, after it recalled 125,000 machines, due to a number of reported injuries -- including the death of a 6-year-old child.

Also, consumers are looking for alternatives in the virtual video world of fitness. Apple Fitness+ just joined the game big time, added to a growing list that includes NordicTrack/iFIT, Echelon, Proform, Mirror, Tonal, Bowflex, Myx Fitness and Zwift.

All these companies are looking to pull in more video time from U.S. video/TV screen users, just like the video game industry has in recent years.

While it doesn’t seem to matter whether Covid virus issues are around or not, the bigger question is whether time spent with virtual fitness content -- on-demand or live -- will see flex more muscle in 2022 and beyond.

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