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COVID-19 and Digital Adoption in the Fitness and Wellness Space


Key findings:

  • Average on-demand shopping traffic across channels is up 565%.
  • Free trial to paying subscriber rates have remained steady.
  • Video streaming bandwidth rose 849%.
  • Monthly subscriptions are up 2,150%.
  • Annual subscriptions are up 255%.

This is a difficult and historical time for the fitness and wellness industry. In order for clubs to stay afloat, many have developed digital streaming offerings to maintain revenue and engagement from their members.

Since government shutdowns are in place, there has been a substantial growth of members turning to paid virtual workouts, live classes and other specialized digital content. We covered some of the main ingredients for going digital now and long term here. While the influx of traffic and adoption of streaming fitness is sky high with current circumstances, “going digital” is here to stay. Use the following data to help round out your digital strategy as you dive into the solution now and for long-term future growth.

Streaming Video Adoption Report — Fitness and Wellness Industry

We’ve compiled data points across our Video On Demand (VOD) platform providing an overview of streaming video conversion and use among on demand fitness and wellness clubs. This includes clubs that went digital overnight — some within 48 hours. These numbers help highlight the massive migration from an in-studio experience to a digital experience.

30 Days of Premium Streaming Fitness Data

Please note, all the data collected below is a comparison between February 15 – March 15 and March 16 – April 16, 2020. These are averages across our fitness portfolio.

Website Traffic for Streaming Subscriptions

Below we’ve highlighted a few of the different digital channels shoppers use to find streaming fitness classes. No surprise that consumers turned to search and social media. Email also saw a fivefold increase in traffic.

New Visitor Traffic

  • Direct: 748%
  • Organic Search: 518%
  • Social Media: 578%
  • Paid Search: 448%
  • Email: 532%

Website Conversion Rates for Streaming Subscriptions

It’s important to note which channels consumers are using to purchase streaming subscriptions. That way, clubs who are offering a digital streaming service can market their product on the highest-converting channels.

Ecommerce Conversion Rate Increase

  • Direct: 587%
  • Social Media: 292%
  • Email: 277%
  • Organic Search: 95%
  • Paid Search: 59%

Free Trial and Premium Memberships to a Streaming Subscription: 

Over the past nine weeks, we’ve seen VOD platforms quadruple their growth of subscribers on a free trial — some growth as large as 10x. Here’s what we saw as platform averages.

  • Percent Increase of Free Trials Initiated
    • 264%
  • Percent Increase of Paying Subscribers
    • 355%
  • Monthly Subscriptions Purchased in last 30 days
    • 2,150% 
  • Annual Subscriptions Purchased in last 30 days
    • 255% 

Right now, digital streaming products are typically offering extended free trial periods for their subscriptions — anywhere between 14 to 90 days. The free trial conversion rates have held steady. While the numbers have exponentially jumped from stay-at-home orders, the free trial conversion rates have not dropped. Currently, there are no signs of slowing down for free trials that roll into paid membership.

Content and Engagement 

With our platform nearly quadrupling in a matter of weeks, we’ve seen usage data soar. Bandwidth is one of the metrics used to understand how engaged a subscriber base really is. We also noted how content production sped up to meet the demand. 

  • Percent Increase of Bandwidth in 30 Days
    • 849%
  • Percent Increase in Minutes of Video Uploaded
    • 167% 

We are using almost 8.5x the amount of bandwidth from before club shutdowns. We also saw content production become a remote operation.

What We Expect to See

The data is dramatic. The compounding increase in streaming fitness is startling, although not entirely surprising. While the initial surge in shoppers and memberships isn’t as extreme as the initial few shutdown days, the traffic is certainly net higher and maintained performance. Here are a few things we believe we will see in the next 30 to 60 days.

More content produced and stored. 

Remote production helped on demand brands meet the sudden increase in demand. However, we’ll expect to see more content uploaded and watched in the coming month or two.

Multiple subscription service purchases. 

With the absence of clubs, we expect to see more consumers paying for multiple, often varied fitness subscriptions. 

More annual subscriptions.

The takeoff of monthly subscriptions is a staggering increase. There are more, new consumers now looking to try virtual fitness for the first time. Monthly subscriptions are easier to sample. Now that some familiarity is established, we’ll look for a rise in annual subscriptions in the near term. Fans might want to lock down a year for a lower monthly price having sampled the subscription.

Ashley Podoll

Ashley Podoll is the marketing manager for Intelivideo, a video on demand platform focused on the health and fitness industry. For more information about the streaming fitness business, email team@intelivideo.com or visit intelivideo.com for more information.

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