Despite a difficult start to the pandemic, many fitness companies were able to successfully pivot in 2020. For example, for Technogym, one of Europe’s leading firms, sales of fitness machines and online training programmes directly to customers rose by 50% in the first half of 2020. But after the initial boom came a bust in 2021. In general, companies struggled to match the growth they saw in 2020 while also dealing with added supply chain costs. Unlike the early days of the pandemic, customer demand is harder to come by in 2022 — and many of these companies are facing newfound headwinds and crises. Peloton, the subscription-based home bike exercise programme that allows people to participate in live group training sessions, also reported slowing sales. In its own latest earnings last November, Peloton missed its revenue goals and posted 376 million USD in net losses. Peloton spent 2021 spending heavily on improving its in-house supply chain following months-long delivery delays. Then, in December, Peloton faced a series of PR crises involving an episode of HBO Max’s “Sex And The City” reboot in which a main character passes away from a heart attack after completing a Peloton class.
But things are not all doom and gloom. When there is an industry crisis, they say that only the strong companies survive. That is why companies like Life Fitness have been performing exceptionally well despite the global headwinds. With an annual revenue of 160 million USD and 2,460 employees, Life Fitness is an up-and-coming player in the fitness machine arena. Their group’s brands – Life Fitness, Hammer Strength, Cybex, and ICG – are known to just about anybody who spends any time in a gym. Their equipment runs the gamut from cardio to strength training to small group training and accessories. That is why they are gaining market share in the Health Club, Hospitality, and Multi-Unit housing sectors.
One way that the company is gaining relevance, and therefore establishing staying power, is through innovative collaborations. Life Fitness has partnered with EVEN Hotels, which is committed to providing guests with an all-encompassing wellness experience—the type of experience once reserved for high-end spas and resorts—in a much more accessible form. “For us, that’s who we built this brand experience around, those people who need wellness travel because wellness is a way of life”, said Raul Ortiz, Vice President of Brand Marketing for EVEN Hotels. “The vision for EVEN hotels is to make wellness travel ubiquitous. It’s to put wellness travel on the major street corners in America where you would see any normal hotel. That’s when we’ll know we will have succeeded with this idea.” To do this, they are including Life Fitness equipment in bikes, and they are putting much more emphasis on hotel gyms. According to Mr Ortiz, “Gone are the days where you can get by with just a 250-square-foot fitness centre”. The numbers confirm this. Fitness on the Fly, a survey conducted by Life Fitness of nearly 500 travellers at O’Hare International Airport, showed that almost 80% say they use a hotel fitness facility while travelling. And, the main reason travellers don’t use a hotel fitness centre is the lack of equipment variety.
In order for businesspeople to stay on top of their game, they have to stay fit and active. Likewise, Life Fitness is rising up the fitness industry ranks via its proactive approach to partnerships and continued innovation. They are giving customers – all kinds of customers – exactly what they need. That bodes well for the company’s endurance.