The Impact of COVID-19 and Video Conferencing Tools on the U.S. Yoga Industry

Based on our findings, the impact on the yoga industry include increased participation in virtual yoga, instructors’ shift towards online classes as studios shut down, increasing demand for at-home yoga equipment, the shift towards a hybrid model, and the increased access to new audiences.

1. Increased Participation in Virtual Yoga

  • According to market research from Persistence, yoga classes (along with other activities such as support group meetings, and rehearsals) have significantly contributed to the increased revenue of the video conferencing market amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • With ample free time at home, the number of users following distance learning and online classes have spiked, creating a new user segment in the market.
  • Mindbody Business has reported that overall, there has been a dramatic shift towards the adoption of virtual fitness through live streaming during COVID-19. In 2019, only 7% of consumers have used live stream workouts. This number has increased to over 80% since the pandemic.
  • It further states that in April, 85% of consumers live-streamed on a weekly basis. Yoga and HIIT (high-intensity interval training)/Tabata/Bootcamp were the most popular. It was reported that 43% of consumers expect to go back to their previous routines and add pre-recorded videos and/or live streaming, post COVID-19.
  • According to Google Trends, there has been a notable increase in the interest in online yoga among the US online community from March 2020 and onward compared to the previous months.

2. Instructors Move Online as Studios Shut Down

  • As a result of quarantine restrictions, more yoga instructors in the US have begun to move online in order to connect with clients and stay in business. Such instructors are “typically contractors and are at the risk of being overlooked by unemployment protections.”
  • The Verge further states that online classes have become a critical offering for yoga studios, “many of which would otherwise see their income drop to zero.

3. Increasing Demand for At-home Yoga Equipment

  • An article from Research and Markets states that since the pandemic, there has been a 154% increase in the demand for yoga equipment. More people have been turning to yoga as a means to stay fit and relieve stress while at home and focusing on products that promote wellness and self-care during this time.
  • Other factors that led to the massive increase in demand is the lower cost of yoga equipment relative to other exercise equipment, ease of use at home, the availability of a wide variety of free and paid online classes, and the lower space required for storage.
  • The above information is not from a US-specific research report. However, since North America accounts for the highest market share of the global yoga industry (nearly two-fifths of the market), these findings would apply to the US.
  • This is also backed by the finding that 33% of consumers in communities with continued COVID-19 restrictions report working out more. The top reasons were the availability of more free time, access to virtual content and to mitigate stress.

4. The Shift Towards a Hybrid Model (Physical/Virtual)

  • According to the Global Wellness Institute, roughly half of boutique fitness customers plan to continue their routine virtually even after the reopening of studios (including yoga). While clients do intend to go back to studios, they also prefer the virtual component due to its multiple benefits and convenience.
  • Due to the sense of community, the real class in real-time, interaction, and accountability, the demand for live stream class/experience has been observed to be more dominant over on-demand, pre-recorded videos. It states that many consumers intend to add virtual services to their work-out routine (see graph).

Intention to add virtual services to their routine
Source Increased Access to New Audiences

  • The Global Wellness Institute has also reported on the potential of virtual fitness (including yoga) and its ability to expand and reach each new, under-served demographics.
  • An article from the US Chamber of Commerce states that the digital fitness and wellness space will get even more crowded during and after COVID-19. “The virus has shown the power of how even one yoga teacher can create audiences of millions using Zoom at home.”
  • There may be limitations in reaching this potential. Mindbody Business findings show that 62% of consumers participated in virtual offerings (live-streamed and/or pre-recorded workouts) exclusively from businesses they had physically visited before. However, 40% of consumers pay for virtual workouts at businesses they’ve never visited before.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

Yoga: U.S. Overview

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