There’s an upsurge of fitness products bought across verticals: Rajat Khurana, ASICS

Rajat Khurana, Managing Director - India Operations at ASICS Corporation
Rajat Khurana, Managing Director - India Operations at ASICS Corporation

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to take a hard look at their health and wellness. Building up immunity and a stronger focus on hygiene has become the need of the hour. The recent Yoga Day saw several companies emphasise on the need for people to increase their fitness levels, pay more attention to their nutritional requirements and indulge in some form of physical exercise as people remained mostly confined to their homes.

ASICS Corporation, a leading global sporting goods company, has been committed to nurturing the world’s youth through sports. Rajat Khurana, Managing Director - India Operations at ASICS Corporation, has been at the helm of the company in the country since January 2013.

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Giving his observations on the greater emphasis on health, Khurana told Adgully that since the lockdown, there has been an upsurge of fitness products being purchased across verticals. Citing a recently conducted global survey by ASICS, he said, “We have found more than a third (36% globally; 89% in India) of the runners around the world are more active now than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic began – despite most sports being brought to a standstill by social distancing measures. Meanwhile, figures from fitness-tracking app, Runkeeper, show that runners of every level are clocking up more strides, more often. Also, during April 2020, the app saw a 252% rise in registrations globally (31% in India) and a global increase of 44% in monthly active users compared to the same time last year. It also reported a 62% spike (globally) in people heading out for a weekly run. Put in context, in the days around Global Running Day on June 5th, there was a +47.3% (globally) increase in people running compared to last year.”

Furthermore, runners across the board are keen to keep their active habits going when this crisis is over. Nearly three-quarters of runners (73% globally; 83% in India) say they want to continue running as much as they are now after the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end while seven in ten (70% globally) people who exercise regularly are determined to hang on to the important role sport and movement is currently playing in their lives. Among those who only took up running after the COVID-19 crisis started, nearly two-thirds (62% globally) say they plan on sticking with it in future.

While ASICS has refrained from advertising in these tough times and respected consumer sentiment, the company has still seen an increased interest in its fitness/ training category products. “We recently conducted a campaign to promote mental health wellbeing through our initiative – ‘Comeback Stories’ – which had our brand athletes, Rohan Bopanna and Manika Batra, joined in on Instagram Live conversations with a moderator, which discussed the low points of their career and how they bounced back from those setbacks. This campaign provided motivation to the listeners to remember comebacks are always stronger. In another campaign – #StaySafeStayStrong – we aimed at enabling our patrons to keep working out even while staying indoors by giving them new avenues to find home workouts routine, since we know how important it is to remain both mentally and physically fit. This initiative was widely appreciated by our consumers as it not only helped them stay fit, but also made them believe that ASICS' sticks to its founding philosophy of ‘Anima Sana In Corpore Sano’, which translates  to ‘A Sound mind in a Sound body’, even during these tough scenarios,” Khurana added.

ASICS’ focus is on providing a seamless experience to its patrons shopping on the omnichannel. The company has launched its new running shoe, Novablast, during this period, along with the ASICS Run Mixer ,App which enables the runner to create melodious tunes based on the rhythm of their footsteps while running.

Also, in addition to that, ASICS is helping the world to sustain and grow its new-found love of running by launching a series of new initiatives aimed at helping the world's runners stay active and connected. These include: Calling on runners of all levels to share their stories of how it has helped them via #RunToFeelContinuing to listen to runners of all levels through ongoing research to better inform upcoming ASICS innovations and initiatives including a new virtual running format in September, offering free access to the ASICS Studio at-home workout app for everyone from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic through the end of summer (August 2020).

In order to increase its engagement with the customers, ASICS has been hosting virtual races powered by Race Roster and Runkeeper to motivate runners and let them compete together safely, allowing free access to the #RunToFeel Challenge in the ASICS Runkeeper app, with new challenges being added each month.


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