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The 2020 Fitness Revolution – How The Exercise Industry Has Adapted

It’s almost as if the fitness industry has been in training for the challenges that 2020 has served its sector, with influencers and brands alike being put through their paces by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Following the closure of UK gyms on the 20th March, search engines were inundated with users looking for a solution to their resultant fitness woes, and the term ‘home workouts’ spiked immediately.

Influencers met the demand quickly, creating more ‘living room friendly’ content than ever before, with the hashtag ‘#homeworkout’ hitting 5.2 million uses on Instagram.

Using follower growth analysis, we’ve got an exclusive round up of the 10 most popular fitness influencers right now:

Joe Wicks has had an unrivalled impact on the online fitness industry with his PE lessons for kids. His first PE lesson had 806,000 streams live streams on day one, and 24 hours later it had reached 954,000 live streams. Using data from Ikifi and basing the average cost per follower at £0.005, we’ve calculated estimations of the average cost per sponsored post. Using this data, we’ve estimated that Joe Wicks can now charge £19,000 per sponsored post, compared to a rate of £15,000 prior to lockdown.

After 10 days his videos had been viewed more than 28 million times. Based on search volume, the most PE enthusiastic parents were in Twickenham, Southend-on-Sea, Bristol, Sheffield, and Edinburgh.

Courtney Black was also something of a fitness phenomena, using IGTV to share full body workouts as well as her ‘Courtney’s Classroom’ series giving users tips on a range of healthy diet-related queries. Courtney’s average cost for a sponsored post went up to £3,344 in August, compared to her pre-lockdown earnings of £1,646.

Krissy Cela, prolific Instagram fitness trainer, also saw her fitness page soar in popularity, with the cost of her sponsored posts going from £9,500 to £11,000 between 1st March – 27th August.

Google Trends data for ‘Courtney Black’ between 1st January 2020 – 27th August 2020

Individual influencers weren’t the only ones to meet this demand for fitness content, as brands across a variety of sectors also got involved with sharing wellness regimes. The likes of Superdrug, Boux Avenue, and Vogue all developed their own take on sharing fitness content, making the most of the consistent search trends around ‘self care’.

Google Trends data for ‘self care’ between 1st January 2020 – 27th August 2020:

Superdrug created workout content which sparked search demand around each release, and the same effect was enjoyed by Boux Avenue, as the brand utilised its partnerships with the likes of Courtney Black and Binky Felsted.

Fitness brands had a natural affinity for delivering wellness content, and when Gymshark made its online workouts free, search volume around the brand’s app peaked at multiple points afterwards as users committed to new habits. The brand gained 600,000 new followers between March and August, as Brits upped their fitness determination.

Google trends data for ‘average 5k run time’ between 1st January 2020 – 27th August 2020:

Not everyone’s a natural born runner though, and this is reflected in the new interest expressed in a range of less conventional exercise options. Searches for alternative, quirkier workouts have peaked at various points, as Brits searched for something other than pounding the pavements.

It seems as though we’re slowing our workouts down and looking to tone up with alternative fitness routines. Yoga With Adriene, a YouTube yogi phenomenon, has gained a loyal following with 1.4 million average views for her 30 days of yoga series, and ‘zoom pilates’ also experienced a boost in popularity.  Barrecore, a strength and conditioning focused workout, has experienced a spike in search popularity.

The popular running tracker app Strava also experienced unprecedented search surges, linked to the fact that running was the most popular lockdown activity, beginning with the ‘run 5 nominate 5’ and ‘couch to 5k’ . Across the UK, competition around recording a personal best peaked in mid-April when ‘average 5k run time’ searches hit their highest.

Google trends data for ‘barrecore’ between 1st January 2020 – 27th August 2020:

Brits have certainly prioritised maintaining a sense of normality throughout their fitness routines, turning to influencers for workouts better suited to the ‘working from home’ lifestyle adopted by many during the pandemic.

2020 has triggered a huge shift in how audiences approach fitness. As influencers and brands became more compatible with user needs, new habits may have been formed, seeing us work out at home in a slower, quirkier way than we did before.

A recent YouGov survey found that 62% of adults said they would feel uncomfortable returning to public gym facilities, which suggests that these new home based habits could be set to stay.

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Bethanie Dennis

Bethanie Dennis
01 Sep 2020