Fitness search trend study: analysing search results from the Covid-19 lockdown

Fitness search trend study: analysing search results from the Covid-19 lockdown

Paul Jenkins MSc Paul Jenkins MSc
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In response to national gym closures, Brits have been using lockdown to get into shape by taking their fitness into their own hands and working out at home. 

UK search data reveals that the interest in home workouts has skyrocketed during lockdown, with around 3 million Brits making fitness-related searches, compared to only 1 million for the same period in 2019.

To further compound this change in fitness search trends, the UK Government announced that gyms and leisure centres in the UK would not be re-opening on the 4th of July.

Subsequently, at a recent Coronavirus press conference on the 9th of July, it was announced that indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities can reopen from the 25th July. It was here Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden urged people to "work out to help out".

We analysed UK fitness search trends performed on google. The search figures suggest that many people have invested in their own gym equipment during lockdown to get their exercise fix, or used the extra free time to start working out at home. 

Specifically, we looked at home workout and fitness-related searches performed on Google, by the UK public, over the Covid-19 lockdown.

The below infographic shows the top 10 workout searches made by the public in May 2019 compared to May 2020.

Fitness-related search trends during the Covid-19 lockdown

Fitness-related search trends during the Covid-19 Lockdown

Further to specific fitness-related search terms increasing, our study also revealed significant increases in fitness-related parent topics.

Year-over-year search trend data

The global Coronavirus crisis has caused governments worldwide to enforce lockdowns and restrictions on travel. The findings from our study highlighted the health and fitness industry as being one of the hardest hit by the restrictions.

For example, searches related to the topic of home workouts, went from 232 000 in May 2019, growing to a staggering 994 000 searches in May 2020; a 4 x increase in search.

Additionally, searches related to the topic of abdominal training rose from 295 000 in May 2019, to a massive 881 000 in May 2020, yielding a 3 fold increase.

Other significant fitness search topic increases include:

  • Fitness equipment (including 135 topic-related keywords) 150k - 1.1m [633% increase]
  • Home gym equipment (including165 topic-related keywords) 1.6k - 148k [9150% increase]
  • 10 minute workout (including 236 topic-related keywords)  389k - 1.2m [208% increase]
  • Home workouts to lose weight (including topic-related 307 keywords) 334k - 1.1m [229% increase]
  • How to build muscle (including topic-related 202 related keywords) 305k - 522k [71% increase]
  • No equipment workout (including topic-related 172 related keywords) 202k - 970k [380% increase]


Summary and conclusion

This data shows the people of Britain have been using lockdown as an opportunity to spend more time engaging in home workouts to improve their health and fitness.

Nevertheless, with social distancing measures in place, visiting an indoor gym or sporting facility may never be the same again. In fact new safety measures could include a limited capacity, 2m spacings between equipment, single trainers only with "no spotters", and temperature checks at the door.

Furthermore, the new government “traffic light” system, that advises the British public about the risks of different activities, could potentially cause further gym closures if indoor gyms are found to facilitate spreading of the virus.

UK search data reflects the public response to health and fitness and the “new normal” which we believe will result in a large proportion of UK gym-goers seeking to improve their fitness by continuing working out at home even after gyms reopen.

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