3 key trends for fitness and sports in 2021

Gumtree has highlighted three key trends that will impact the fitness and sports sectors in 2021.

January is synonymous with the two extremes – stretching budgets to deal with the hangover of December’s balloon expenses while enduring January’s 45 weeks until payday and all the ‘new year, new me’ resolutions we make to shift the extra love-handles that December (and the months preceding) left us with.

The two together are a big ask – January’s bank balance is low, and the cost of fitness equipment is high. If you’re determined that this is indeed your year to focus on getting a fighting fit, consider buying second-hand fitness equipment to lighten the ‘load’.

With almost 9,000 sport and fitness items listed on its site, Gumtree anticipates the following 2021 fitness trends.

Reaching new altitudes 

Anyone who’s climbed Mount Everest will tell you that cycling at Everest’s altitude is an almost impossible and foolhardy task, even if you’re an experienced and hardcore Mamil (middle-aged man in lycra).

However, everesting or doing enough climbing in a single cycle ride to match the 8,848-metre height of Mount Everest, surged in popularity in 2020 for pro and amateur cyclists alike, whether they were riding on the road or socially distanced stationary trainers. 

According to Strava, 2020’s everesting peak happened in June 2020, when over 400% more successful everesting rides were uploaded on Strava, compared to the same period in 2019. And, if simply completing such a monumental task wasn’t enough, cyclists on the platform made up for cancelled competitions in real life by competing for the everesting speed record on the platform.

As with all challenges, taking things one (or seven) steps further, 2021 is likely to be the year of completing a seven summits cycling challenge.

Getting in tune with tech 

Google’s acquisition of Fitbit was recently given the green light, which highlights that there’s no slowing down in the growth of the wearable tech space.

According to Statista.com, revenue in the wearables segment is projected to reach R250bn in 2021, and the smartwatch sector is expected to grow from shipping 66.5 million units in 2019 to shipping 105.3 million units by 2023.

Wearables have evolved from the early years of simple step counters, to now include temperature tracking, pulse oximetry and blood oxygen sensors, and continuous glucose monitors. Other innovations include heart rate variability, ECGs, respiratory rate and sleep patterns, all making the type of data that could once only be measured at a high-performance medical facility, available to anyone at home.

Stay home, go virtual 

Even though gyms are open under current lockdown conditions, many users prefer to train outdoors or at home, which makes it unsurprising that 2021 is likely to be the year of the virtual gym.

Platforms like Zwift have brought the Tour de France and other global routes into the lounges of cyclists, and Lululemon’s $500m acquisition of Mirror, the mirror-like device that streams workouts, is another boost for the virtual home gym market. 

Samsung has unveiled its plans for Smart Trainer, an addition to its growing line of fitness-focused apps and is designed especially for Samsung’s Smart TVs, using a webcam to track exercises.

Personal trainers have also adapted and taken their businesses online offering virtual training sessions to their customers at home. This trend will continue into 2021 and beyond as people start to see that virtual training sessions yield the same results as face-to-face sessions do.

If keeping up with all the fitness equipment and devices that 2021’s fitness trends require seems beyond your Janu-worry budget (with Februworry hot on its heels), you can always consider buying them second-hand.