Naresh Krishnaswami, Business Manager, Cult.fit spoke with Business line for the business after the third Covid wave and the progress in the latest acquisitions of the company – the franchise Gold’s Gym India and the sports company Fitso. Excerpts:
How is the business recovery after the third wave of Covid?
In the last six months, people have shown a greater tendency to leave their homes and visit public places, including gyms, theaters and sports arenas. There is a clear difference after the third wave, which withdrew in January-February 2022.
In previous waves of Covid, the recovery of the fitness industry in terms of both revenue and revenue was limited to 50-60 percent, because a new wave of Covid would strike every few months and the momentum of growth would be disrupted. However, that is changing now. According to our understanding, the entire fitness industry is returning almost to pre-Covid levels. The recovery will be somewhere between 75 and 100 percent, depending on the business. For example, in sports centers and swimming pools, demand is again at 200 percent. In addition, the recovery in the various segments, between 75 and 90 percent, is growing month by month.
Cult.fit saw huge acceptance from customers of its digital training during the pandemic. What is the division of online to offline users now?
The division between offline and online users would be approximately 1: 2, for each online user of our platform there are two offline users. We have about 1 lakh subscribers to the digital platform, which continues to grow. In 2020, immediately after the pandemic, our online user base reached a certain level, which I think was artificial. This was mainly because everything was closed, so many people tried digital fitness this year. Obviously, the online user base is not close to these heights. However, we are seeing a healthy trend, users are switching between online and offline. People do two or three sessions a week at the center, and on odd days or two when they can’t come to the center, they do online training. We are still committed to digital fitness and continue to create more products there.
In the past, Cult.fit has talked about adding more technological aspects to its offline centers. What are these new additions?
We have installed screens in 40-50 percent of our centers and we are in the process of installing in more centers. These screens design the workout and movements that our member will perform, which allows the trainer to help individual users with posture adjustment or to help them increase or decrease movements. We see great success in this and we are also increasing it.
Another feature we’ve introduced over the last six to nine months is the smart workout planner. Users can enter their parameters, the workouts they like and dislike, and the planner creates a personalized workout for them. The planner can also take into account the machines available in the center, while offering training. In addition, the trainers help the users to use the machines correctly. . Our real focus is on how we can make the time of the users in our centers more productive with the help of technology.
How many coaches and Cult.fit centers are there?
We have 1000 trainers on our payroll. This does not include trainers who work with our partner gyms, which we do not own directly, but are listed on our platform. We stimulate the demand for these gyms, but we do not hire their trainers. There will be several thousand trainers in our partner gyms.
We own 160 Cult Centers, and the rest of the gyms / centers are added either through a franchisee program or in a pure market model. We have about 40 franchise centers in 20 cities.
In the market model, the already existing gyms come to our platform and are co-branded as Cult centers. They do not sell their own membership or list on another platform. The cult stimulates the search for them through membership. We have about 200 partners in this model. In total we are in about 32 cities. It’s just a cult. We also own the rights to the Gold’s Gym franchise in India, which is distributed in 80 cities.
What is the update for the partnership with Gold’s Gym?
Nearly 25 Gold’s Gym partners have been made live on our platform and we hope to get another 50 to 75 live partners by the end of the year. As of the entire Gold’s Gym network, about 100 will be available on the Cult platform by the end of the year.
Curefit acquired Fitso from Zomato late last year. How is this business going?
The lion’s share of supply, as well as consumer demand, is in two sports, swimming and badminton. So, these two sports are the main focus for us, but we continue to offer other sports, including tennis, squash and football. We are currently present in three cities – Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. There is a lot of room for growth in existing cities. So we will expand in them over the next six months and then move to some of the other cities next year.