How fitness app Strava is riding COVID-19 era's wave of virtual workouts

·Reporter, Booking Producer
·2 min read

Peloton (PTON) might be suffering growth pains whipsawing its stock, but the pandemic-era virtual fitness boom seems here to stay.

The pressures and uncertainties of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are still keeping many isolated at home and away from physical gyms, and creating opportunities for fitness platforms like Strava.

Currently, there are approximately 95 million users (which Strava calls athletes) on the app, with two million new users joining per month. Co-Founder and CEO Michael Horvath told Yahoo Finance that during the pandemic, people began to "look for community and connection when they couldn't find it through their regular life."

In 2021, the platform saw a 38 percent increase in activities, building on a surge in 2020. Most popular activities include walking, yoga, hiking, while athletes in the U.S. alone contributed to 1.2 billion miles cycling and 387 million miles running on the app in 2021.

Horvath says the app is "built around the principle that people keep people active" with the opportunity to build a community that helps "motivate you to reach your fitness goals."

(Courtesy: Strava)
(Courtesy: Strava)

The subscription-based app, which connects with 400 different devices and apps including Peloton and Apple Fitness+ (AAPL), costs $59.99 dollars per a year. Fitness conscious users will "get extra motivation and more fun...more discovery of what's around you," or can opt to use the free version to access its key features that will "motivate you," Horvath explained.

On the app, there are more than 30 different activities, both indoors and outdoors, including everything from Crossfit and the Elliptical to a Windsurf or Kitesurf Session.

However, there's an additional draw for 'athletes' to connect with others who share a similar passion on the app. According to Horvath, its clubs feature can be considered a key indicator of "how people are coping with all the disruption that's going on in their lives."

For the past two years, Strava proved to be profitable, according to the company, based on its adjusted EBITDA. At the close of 2021, revenue was up 68% and from 2019 to 2020, revenue grew 71%, Horvath noted.

"What we are building is something that is universal...for anyone who wakes up saying 'I'd like to have some activity in my life today', Strava is the place for them," he added.

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at bdipalma@yahoofinance.com.

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