If you, like many of us, were one of the people who thought the pandemic was going to be about sitting on the couch and getting unfit, you might have been surprised about how different things turned out to be.

According to Google Trends, the interest on search terms like fitness, fitness apps and at home workouts peaked in March and April last year, after the beginning of the pandemic, and though interest levels went down a bit right after the initial peak, they stayed consistently high during the last year.

Since gyms and sports centers have been forced to close their doors, fitness apps have been in the spotlight as one of the fastest growing app categories thanks to the boom of at-home fitness.

According to this report from Apptopia, in a group of American mobile video consumers surveyed by Penthera, 64% of participants said they spend more now on mobile fitness apps than the previous year. This was especially significant on those aged 18 to 44 (71%).

But which apps are winning the race? We can divide fitness apps into 3 types:

  • Regular apps you can download on your phone like Freeletics, MyFitnessPal, Nike Run Club, FitOn, Strava, etc.
  • Wearables like Fitbit (mentioned on the same Apptopia report as one of the most downloaded health apps of the year, only second to Calm) or Samsung Health
  • Hardware enabled apps like Peloton, Echelon Fit, Ergatta, FightCamp

Some of these apps are well-known players in the fitness space and the pandemic only increased the demand for them. Big companies like Apple and Amazon are also focusing on health and fitness, with Tim Cook himself saying Apple’s most valuable contributions to mankind will be in the field of health.

Some interesting stats and facts about these key players:

Fitbit: Still a fitness key player

  • According to Apptopia, it was the most installed fitness app in H1 2020 in the US
  • Only in the first half of 2020 it had 4.8 million installs
  • Not only does Fitbit have the most installs, and the highest number of daily active users, it also ranks fourth in in-app purchase revenue at $4.4 million
  • It’s not just workouts: besides them and the regular features of a wearable companion app, it also has personalized programs, mindfulness sessions and even 1:1 coaching on the coaching plan (source)

Peloton: the at-home gym undisputed king

  • Peloton saw a 5x increase in download of their app from February to March 2020 (source)
  • 2020 revenue was 1.8 billions, a 100% increase over previous year (source)
  • The company mande a whopping 100 million investment to improve manufacturing capacity and delivery times, which right now can take 8 weeks or more (source)

MyFitnessPal: it’s not all about working out

  • Though it features exercises, MyFitnessPal focuses mostly on a complementary aspect of workouts: food! Besides workout plans their biggest selling point is their calorie counter and it can be connected to Fitbit
  • It had 3.9 million installs during the first 6 months of 2020
  • In 2020 they had 200 million users, 20 million more than the previous year

More players in the hardware-enabled fitness tech space:

Though there are a lot of options out there for fitness enthusiasts, the truth is that there is a lot more space to grow, and there are other interesting apps and business models to look at, as most of the population’s workouts move online.

Other interesting players to watch closely in the hardware-enabled fitness category:

Apps for outdoors activity saw big increase too:

At the beginning it was all about staying at home, now we’ve also moved outdoors to exercise safely.

Exercise boosts the immune system which helps you fight infections, so now it’s probably more necessary than ever for most of us.

Apps like Strava, that help users track their stats, map or trails for cycling or running have seen a boost in the last year as well. Strava increased 2M users monthly on average last year. Yes, monthly.

And not only that, users were also more active on the app, which saw a record number of users complete their 5k challenge. The more popular activities with their 73M users? Running and cycling.

Running has always been one of the most popular outdoors activities and Nike Run Club’s success proves it. In 2020, Nike’s fitness apps were among the 20 most-downloaded apps of the year. According to Sensor Tower, the Run Club app was downloaded 15 million times. That’s almost 50% more downloads than the previous year.

Nobody knows what the future holds, but we’ve certainly seen health and fitness become more and more of a trend in the last couple of years. From fitness apps' huge growth in revenue to thousands of TikTok challenges, the consumers are becoming more interested in staying fit and healthy, and companies are looking to satisfy their demand.