The pandemic has changed life as we know it. Indians learned to live with lockdowns and adapted to a ‘new normal’. This period also witnessed a considerable disruption across industries, including fitness and wellness, giving birth to remarkable innovations, insights and opportunities.
The accelerating movement to the virtual landscape and the importance of digitalisation skyrocketing in a post-Covid-19 world led to the transformation. On the fitness front, a new breed of fitness enthusiasts came into the fold. Turbocharged by the pandemic, the demand for virtual classes for yoga, HIIT workouts and overall well being took the spotlight. According to a survey by InterMiles, almost 1 in 2 Indians increased time spent working out, elevating focus on improving fitness and building health.
What do we look forward to? With hybrid models coming in across sectors, the fitness industry will also retain a virtual component- a phenomenon with exponential market potential. Keeping the new normal in mind, here are some of the trends I foresee:
Wearable tech: Even before the lockdown, wearable tech became a necessity gadget. However, now everyone is tuned to consciously check pulse rates, heart rates, steps taken, and continue challenging themselves to get fitter. Data also shows a massive surge in the purchase. According to the International Data Corporation, the Indian wearables market grew 170.3 per cent year-over-year (YoY) in Q1 2021, between January and March, shipping 11.4 million units.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): We live in a period of incredible innovation. AI-backed with the deployable data is enabling brands across the board to offer smart fitness and wellbeing solutions. Today, several platforms showcase live instructions from trainers and AI-enabled tracking to monitor workouts in real-time, making it more personalised for the users.
Job surge: With the fitness industry observing one of the most significant leaps to online development and becoming digital, the need for fitness specialists and nutritionists has increased. Online fitness coaching became a lucrative business and an attractive and mainstream career option in no time, with many applying to become certified trainers and even earning specialised fitness certificates by taking online fitness courses.
The holistic well-being: 2020 highlighted the need to focus on our mental health in tandem with physical fitness. People are increasingly opting for brands with holistic solutions and offerings, including muscle fitness to yoga and meditation courses online. The direction clearly indicates how change is allowing the industry to pivot, build and continue fostering communities.
In-person: Much like the education sector, the fitness sector will also have pre-recorded online classes that one can follow. These will be either free or competitively priced, and all one will need is access to apps like Fittr to begin their virtual fitness journey. Additionally, demand for personal trainers will also increase who will come home or conduct a virtual workout session. This one-on-one interaction with an expert will remain constant.
What does the future hold? Overall, the restructuring and rise of digital in the Indian fitness industry that’s helping users adopt wellness and join the fitness movement remotely while driving growth is encouraging and exciting. Settings such as workout arenas, recreation centres and gyms are places where people meet, socialise, and even form friendships, which will be back in business. However, what we can continue to expect is the best of both worlds, making India fit.