COVID-19

Will gyms go extinct?

Jasmine Garsd Sep 17, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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People exercise in workout pods at a gym in Redondo Beach, California, in June. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Will gyms go extinct?

Jasmine Garsd Sep 17, 2020
People exercise in workout pods at a gym in Redondo Beach, California, in June. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images
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The pandemic has changed so much about our everyday lives, including how we exercise. Some gyms around the country have been tentatively reopening, but several have gone out of business thanks to COVID-19. Big names in the gym club game, like 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym and New York Sport’s Club’s parent company have declared bankruptcy.  

Meanwhile, for at-home fitness apps offering classes and communities, sales are skyrocketing.

This week Apple joined the fray with its subscription service, which includes yoga and running for about $10 a month. That’s a fraction of what most people pay for gym membership. 

Apple enters a crowded field: Peloton, Nike, Adidas and a bunch of other tech and athletic brands are already there. The online fitness industry is projected to grow by 20% over the next seven years.  

Joe Favorito, a sports marketing consultant and professor at Columbia University, says, “Anyone who’s in the fitness business that doesn’t have some sort of online component right now, and is trying to look back to where we were on March 13, is going to be in a lot of trouble. “

That includes small studios. Yoga instructor Jessica Sandhu’s students followed her onto Zoom. She charges about $120 for private sessions, and she says business is better than ever. “I’ve been very financially OK. I’ve never been able to save money as I have now,” she says.

In order for brick-and-mortar gyms to muscle their way out of this crisis, they may need to go hybrid.  Like Equinox. The high-end gym launched its online fitness app in mid-March. 

For gyms, it’s time to level up, or wipe out.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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