Edgard Corona is the founder of Bio Ritmo the corporate umbrella under which the Smart Fit sports clubs lie. The company has over 800 centers in Brazil and throughout Latin America.
Like everyone else in the sports industry, Edgard Corona was hit hard by COVID-19. He realized there would be major problems in January of 2020 when he saw what was happening in Italy. Immediately, he called a meeting of his team and put all expansion plans on hold. Smart Fit was planning on opening an additional 230 branches by 2020.
The centers were closed for 3 to 6 months in 2019 and have had a hard time coming back from the financial crisis imposed by the Corona Virus. Like all fitness centers across the world he was forced to close all of the Smart Fit centers, and he adapted with at-home fitness videos that were accessed more than 800,000 times per day. The shift to a blend of in=person and digital options escalated during 2020.
Now as countries are continuing their COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, sports experts like Edgard Corona are trying to figure out whether sports fitness centers will have the same popularity they had in the pre-pandemic days.
Edgard Corona like other sports experts believes there is strong evidence that at-home fitness routines will continue to be popular, but he also believes most consumers will return to the fitness center and he says marketing efforts are becoming more aggressive bringing more optimism to consumers. Even so, Corona, predicts that different markets will see differing responses. Boutique gyms may not be as trendy as they once were because of their higher price scale. On the other hand, large-scale sports centers will see more members and will transition into suburban areas where many consumers have moved.
Corona also expects safety and hygiene measures will continue over the long term but gyms will see their pre-pandemic flow and it will increase on a gradual basis because people realize now that they must stay healthy.