Asia Pacific Update: August 6
In today’s edition, we take a look at how the fitness industry has cautiously re-opened in some markets while markets such as Indonesia and The Philippines still await the all-clear. We also dive into how Australia and New Zealand governments are playing a role in supporting community sports. Also, see how one fitness brand in India and the UAE pivoted its strategy to see an even larger user base than pre-Covid.
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Recovery Spotlight: Sports
Reopening of gyms and resumption of sports
In Singapore, many have flocked to sports facilities following their reopening on June 19. The Singapore Sports Institute urged those returning to sports to gradually build up the training load by 30 to 50% for more physically demanding games like football. ActiveSG swimming complexes have also reopened with longer opening hours to limit crowding in its facilities.
After nearly four months of closure, Malaysia allowed the reopening of the indoor sports and recreational sector. Training for contact sports such as football, rugby, hockey, kick volleyball, basketball and squash, as well as karate, taekwondo and an indigenous form of martial arts known as silat resumed on July 15.
Japan’s Sumo wrestlers resumed tournaments in front of audiences on July 19, a week after Japan’s baseball and football clubs opened stadiums to spectators. Originally scheduled to be held in Nagoya, organisers moved the Grand Sumo Tournament to Tokyo to minimise travel for wrestlers and officials.
Discovering new sporting interests
Camping and exploring the outdoors have emerged as popular recreational activities in South Korea. Sales of camping equipment more than doubled in the period from June 1 – July 25, compared to the same period last year. Tapping into this new trend, local food makers such as Hyundai Green Food launched a camping meal kit brand in June. Another emerging trend is the rising popularity of surfing. Yangyang county in the country’s northeast has become a hub for surfers eager to catch a wave.
Fitness enthusiasts in Indonesia will eventually be able to return to gyms once infection numbers stabilise. Fitness First Indonesia plans to limit visitor numbers to 50% capacity by requiring people to book a training slot on the new Fitness First Asia app. An Indonesian fitness provider, SPPOI Eminence, has reopened its health clinic while its gym is undergoing evaluation.
The Philippines’ Health Department had planned for businesses such as gyms and sports facilities to reopen. However, the reopening of this sector has been halted following re-entry into lockdown.
Government role in supporting community sports
New Zealand has released the first instalment of a NZ$265 million (US$174 million) funding package to help the local sports industry cope with the financial impact of the pandemic. The country’s Sports Minister highlighted that the initial NZ$80 million tranches would be used to boost community sports, help sports organisations run national leagues and upgrade facilities for global sporting events such as the jointly hosted Women’s Football World Cup in 2023 with Australia.
Australia’s Sports Foundation conducted a national survey that estimated the country’s 70,000 grassroots clubs would need A$1.2 billion (US$856 million) to survive the economic fallout of the pandemic. While the reopening of the sector would help grassroots clubs to start getting back on their feet, 93% of all clubs have suffered significant losses and require financial relief to help them recover.
Australian Sports Foundation Chief Patrick Walker hailed sports clubs as “the lifeblood of communities all over Australia.”
Media analysis of stories covering the following countries: Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia, Macau, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam
Period covered: 06 July to 06 August 2020
The Work of COVID-19: A quick digital pivot for Cure.fit
Pre-Covid, most of Cure.fit’s business came from their 270 brick-and-mortar gyms and studios across India and the UAE. With these closed due to the lockdown regulations, their business was drastically affected.
Cure.fit had to make a quick digital pivot and innovate across all its verticals—cult.fit (physical fitness), mind.fit (mental wellness), care.fit (primary care) and eat.fit (healthy food delivery). They shifted all their classes online, initially for free and then using a freemium model. With classes being held across all workout formats, the classes were given gamification features such as energy meters, group workouts (called squad workouts) and live class rankings. The brand also extended its Mind.fit online therapy services, featuring guided meditation sessions leading to massive five-fold growth. Once the relaxation of government regulations was implemented, Care.fit expanded to offer teleconsultation. This vertical saw a 10x increase and onboarding of over 1,000 doctors and therapists.
Weber Shandwick drove an integrated communications approach covering key media outlets, managing owned social media accounts and managed influencer engagement in which we focused on highlighting the brand’s unique offerings and tech capabilities, leading to broader adoption of online classes.
Cure.fit is the first and only fitness company in India to make the digital pivot quickly and successfully, resulting in growing their user base from 250,000 pre-Covid to 1.5 million (including free subscribers). They have also managed to expand their reach to Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets in India where they did not initially have a physical presence.
About COVID-19 Recovery Report:
- The content of this news bulletin is a summary of publicly available news articles on events and developments related to COVID-19.
- The views and opinions reflected by these headlines do not necessarily represent those of Weber Shandwick.