Connected fitness refers to apps, equipment, and other digital tools that monitor a user's heart rate and activity to provide personalized fitness programs and real-time guidance.
Next-generation fitness equipment goes beyond exercise videos, stationary bikes, and treadmills. These tools simulate the experience of working out in person at boutique gyms with a personal trainer, or in group classes. Connected fitness products tap into the equipment’s built-in versatility, on-demand workout libraries, live streaming, personalization, and online communities. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, social distancing practices have made exercising at home with connected equipment the preferred option—if not the only option—as gyms are restricted or subject to reduced capacity. Furthermore, closer to three-fifths of Americans do not plan to renew their gym memberships even post-pandemic.
Most startups seem to understand the importance of having a variety of exercise equipment addressing different user needs. Peloton, which initially launched an exercise bike, later launched a treadmill. Similarly, other disruptors such as Volava and Echelon and incumbents such as iFIT Health & Fitness and Life Fitness have expanded their product range from their initial launches. Some startups in the industry have focused on producing smart mirrors that are powered by machine learning and motion tracking which are versatile in supporting multiple workout routines. These new products are yet to be developed by the incumbents in the industry.
The at-home workout space has not seen partnerships between traditional players and new entrants so far. One reason could be the expertise traditional players have and the relatively low technology barriers against matching similar innovations. This has led to most traditional players choosing to develop their own products in-house.