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In-Home Fitness Brands See Opportunities To Grow Subscriber Bases During Quarantine

April 7, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Self-isolation can best be described as both incredibly boring and strangely taxing, perhaps even more so for people balancing work, kids and the worry that comes with a global pandemic. For many people, finding an opportunity to work-out during the day has offered a respite from the strangeness of self-isolation. 

Shutterstock_1445395694 Healthy young couple doing exercises with dumbbells at home. Fit young woman with man doing weights workout indoors in living room.

An article in The Atlantic summarizes the benefits of exercising, “Even more than usual, we have a very good reason to exercise: Working out contributes to good health, which in turn helps us maintain sturdy immune systems. Making moves seems especially beneficial now, as people spend more time at home, far from the friends and family they usually see, and probably glued to the news. Exercise is well known for its mood-boosting abilities, and many of us could use a lift.”

Many gyms, studios and fitness instructors have taken their classes online, offering live-streams, pre-recorded classes, YouTube channels and more to give their clients something that feels like the gym experience they were so used to, or to reach new consumers who want to start exercise regimens while self-isolating. And for fitness brands that already streamed their classes, the coronavirus crisis has provided major upticks in business. “We have seen incredible engagement from current subscribers as well as new subscribers since the coronavirus began to keep people at home. [The first week of April] we saw a 220% increase in subscribers and a 79% increase in usage vs. the same time last year on Beachbody on Demand,” said Beachbody Co-Founder and CEO Carl Daikeler. 

Beachbody Sees Huge Surge In Subscribers Since Self-Isolation Took Effect

Beachbody had a built-in advantage as a fitness brand at the time the coronavirus self-isolation began, because its business model is already designed around streaming workouts of different types from a variety of instructors. There is no need for complicated equipment, and the streaming infrastructure is already refined. “We have been selling fitness and nutrition content for over 20 years and have seen several evolutions, from VHS to DVD and now to digital streaming. Regardless of the format, we have always maintained a holistic approach to helping people get fit and lose weight,” said Daikeler. 

Since the start of the coronavirus, in addition to increased membership enrollment, Beachbody’s free kids classes on Vimeo have “seen a huge spike in usage of over 13x,” according to Daikeler. The Beachbody CEO believes many of Beachbody’s new customers will stick around once self-isolation ends because of the benefits and value of the $99 per year service. 

Peloton Offers Extended Free Trial Of Its Popular App During Coronavirus

Shutterstock_1291114891 Home fitness workout woman training on smart stationary bike indoors watching screen connected online to live streaming subscription service for biking exercise. Young Asian woman athlete.

Although Peloton has suspended delivery of their treadmills and changed the way they deliver their famous bikes because of coronavirus, the brand has extended the free trial of its Peloton app to 90 days. “I think all of us knew we were part of something really cool before, and right now I feel like the Peloton community has become a real lifesaver for a lot of us,” said Denis Morton, a Peloton instructor since June 2017. “Exercise is our refuge now. A lot of times we get into this mindset like, ‘Oh I have to work out, and I don't have the energy for that.’ But then this becomes like a little oasis in our day.”

The Peloton app offers thousands of classes including yoga, running and strength training. Peloton recently stopped producing live-stream cycling classes, but still offers pre-recorded classes for bike enthusiasts. 

Barre3 Promotes Discounted Equipment And Free Trial

Barre3, which has studios all over the country and hundreds of online workouts, describes itself as “a full-body balanced workout combining strength conditioning, cardio, and mindfulness. Our mission – and the driving factor behind every move we do in class – is to teach people to be balanced in body and empowered from within.” 

During self-isolation, barre3 is offering 15-day free online trials and 10-50% off props and clothing. In b3 Magazine, the online magazine of barre3, the brand directly addressed its “barre3 tribe,” offering encouragement to members rattled by the coronavirus upheaval. “Maybe rather than watching the news, we’d be better served by streaming a workout from our local studio or from barre3 online.” Adding, “When we take just ten minutes to connect mindfully with our bodies, we tap into deeper currents of energy and calm.”

CorePower Yoga Streaming A Special Collection Of Online Classes

Shutterstock_1226534068 Calm lady with Afro hairstyle, dressed in sportswear, meditates on floor in empty room, listens spiritual practices lessons on laptop computer, poses in lotus pose, tries to relax. Yoga concept

Yoga is a great option to tone the body and settle the mind, the latter of which is certainly beneficial during a pandemic. Many yoga studios, including CorePower Yoga, are offering membership specials and free classes during self-isolation. The Denver-based studio has addressed COVID-19 closures directly on their website, offering tips and blog posts on creating soothing practice spaces at home, meditation during these challenging times and general self-care and well being. Additionally, CorePower Yoga has curated a weekly collection of live-streamed yoga classes free to anyone, including non-members. For unlimited access to more than 250 classes, subscriptions are $19.99 per month.

The future is uncertain. When society will return to “normal” is hard to say, but for now it’s important to stay healthy and mindful. Brands that can offer simple comforts, either by being reliable and present for their existing customers or by offering something new or discounted to people stuck at home looking for a physical outlet, are likely to gain loyalty, brand engagement and gratitude from consumers during this difficult time.

Are You Looking To Increase Your Membership Volume?

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) can help drive traffic to your membership page with digital media targeting audience profiles with a high propensity to become ongoing subscribers. DMS has a long history of working with companies to develop and scale subscription marketing initiatives that exceed campaign expectations.

Contact DMS

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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