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6 At-Home Fitness Brands Find Success With Digital Strategies

January 21, 2021 Sarah Cavill

Shutterstock_1495412588 Full length profile shot of a young man running on a treadmill at home

The focus on health and wellness in 2020 had roots in several colliding trends and behaviors: the years-long emphasis on wellness from high-end, celebrity-endorsed brands, the desire to stay healthy during the pandemic and boredom brought on by more time spent at home. Hamza Shaban for The Washington Post reports, “Health and fitness equipment revenue more than doubled, to $2.3 billion, from March to October [2020], according to NPD [a market research company] retail data. Sales of treadmills soared 135% while those of stationary bikes nearly tripled.” Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry adviser for the NPD Group, noted, “As soon as the lockdowns took effect, the home-fitness business took off like wildfire.” 

The closing of many gyms in the early days of the pandemic, and concurrent evolving habits, led many to turn to brands like Nordictrack, Tonal and Peloton, to get their workouts in. Peloton reported revenues of $758 million, a 232% increase year-over-year (YOY), and has subsequently acquired fitness equipment maker Precor to ramp up production capacity, after its stock was depleted and deliveries backed up. At the same time that fitness equipment sales soared, fitness app downloads, many of which are affiliated with in-home fitness equipment brands, also increased. Peloton saw 382% growth for digital subscriptions (first quarter fiscal 2021). Overall, The Washington Post reports, from “January through November of 2020, approximately 2.5 billion health and fitness apps were downloaded worldwide.” Fitness is a priority for consumers right now, and many at-home fitness brands are embracing the moment.

Digital Strategies Help 6 Of The Top At-Home Fitness Brands Connect With Consumers

The need to stay healthy, mentally and physically, is likely to keep fitness brands top of mind for consumers, and many at-home fitness brands are relying on digital strategies, including content marketing, subscriptions and partnerships with buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) providers, to stay relevant with consumers and drive sales. 

NordicTrack Offers Customized Work-Outs With iFit Digital Platform And App 

NordicTrack, which has been manufacturing fitness equipment since 1975, beginning with their famous ski machine, has since expanded into creating elite fitness equipment from treadmills to bikes and ellipticals. iFit, the brand’s subscription web platform and recently released app, has become an integral part of NordicTrack users optimizing their workouts, both on and off the machines, whether running, cycling, hiking, rowing or cross-training. According to Fit Rated, a fitness rating site, “iFit is still pretty unique in the expanding world of fitness video streaming thanks to its auto-adjust feature (when used with iFit-enabled machines). During workouts, your iFit trainer or the Google Maps location you are exploring can automatically adjust your machine. It will change your resistance, incline or speed depending on the machine you are using.” Icon Health & Fitness, which owns NordicTrack and iFit “posted revenue of more than $1 billion in the 12 months through September [2020],” reports Bloomberg.

Tonal Uses Machine Learning And AI To Create Digital Workouts 

Tonal

Tonal, described by the company as “an entire gym in your home,” combines the big screen, personalized-digital fitness craze with strength-training provided by resistance cables that go up to 200 pounds. Tonal uses artificial intelligence (AI) to conduct full-body strength assessments, allowing the machine to suggest weights at the beginning of a user’s fitness journey and throughout, offering real-time guidance on form and technique, increasing and decreasing weight and intensity as necessary. Workouts can be chosen a la carte, which are sorted by groups like “lower body” and “high intensity” or as part of goal-based programs users can choose when setting up their machine. Tonal has reported a massive 700% YOY increase in sales in 2020.

Octane Fitness Offers Informative Content To Complement Physical Fitness

Octane Fitness is focused on offering low-impact workouts with high-intensity results. The brand launched in 2001 with the mission to revolutionize elliptical machines and has since introduced a number of award-winning fitness machines that offer multifaceted workouts that are gentler on joints. In addition to Octane’s unique equipment, the brand offers a robust blog that includes recipes, motivational articles and do’s and don’t’s of fitness. Content marketing that complements a brand’s product and services can help build credibility and consumer loyalty.

Mirror Partners With Fintech Brand Affirm To Offer Monthly Payment Options

Mirror, the maker of the reflective-glass fitness device, was acquired by Lululemon Athletica, [and][Mirror] expected to [end] 2020 with $150 million in revenue, up from a previously projected $100 million,” reports The Washington Post. The unique at-home fitness system is literally a mirror that props against the wall and includes a variety of in-depth, guided work-outs. According to the brand, “Certified trainers from the country's top fitness studios provide motivation and live feedback, and advanced camera technology and proprietary algorithms deliver in-workout adjustments based on your goals, preferences and personal profile.” As with many at-home fitness brands, Mirror works with BNPL fintech company Affirm, allowing consumers to pay for their equipment by the month as they would a gym membership. 

Bowflex Introduces New Products To Continue Accelerating Revenue Growth

Bowflex

Started in 1986, Bowflex has long been known for their popular infomercials and celebrity endorsements. Recently, Bowflex introduced Velocore, a stationary bike that sways from side-to-side when in “Lean Mode,” creating an immersive experience similar to riding on the road. The Velocore is more than “fancy spandex, social media fame, and suburban hoopla” according to Bowflex, quickly distinguishing itself as an alternative to other popular stationary bike companies. 

The Bowflex Velocore also syncs with JRNY, the brand’s proprietary subscription fitness platform. According to a recent press release from Bowflex, “JRNY members receive voice-coached individualized workouts, trainer-led video workouts, integration with third-party cycling apps [Peloton and Zwift], and access to their entertainment subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.” Additionally, the JRNY platform uses “machine learning to create virtually an infinite number of personalized workouts that include motivation and praise and is based on an initial fitness assessment that learns and adapts as the member progresses.” 

Echelon Offers Tiered Pricing And Subscriptions To Appeal To A Wider Audience

Echelon, a fitness brand that offers a wide collection of at-home fitness classes and equipment has embraced a variety of tiered pricing to appeal to a range of users who may want different results and engagement from their workouts or have different financial goals. For example, the Echelon Connect Bike comes in five different versions, all at different prices, with some variety in the bells and whistles they offer. Similarly, the Echelon subscription memberships have tiered pricing and access, from the Echelon United Yearly Plans, which are the most expensive and comprehensive, to the basic FitPass, which offers access to all “off the machine” content, including yoga, strength training, etc. By offering tiered options, brands are often able to scale memberships, creating opportunities to build loyalties that lead to renewals and positive word of mouth from customers.

At-Home Fitness Will Continue To Thrive As Consumers Invest In Wellness

Fitness brands are leveraging the popularity of health and wellness right now, creating meaningful, personalized digital experiences for their customers that are having a lasting impact on the bottom line and the user experience. At-home fitness is likely to continue thriving, even as gym use returns, with consumer behaviors shifting and adapting to enjoying at-home workouts and the digital integrations that these innovative brands offer.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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