How has Matrix Fitness experienced the impact of COVID-19?
We’ve seen a dramatic change to business since the start of COVID-19, but as a global company, Johnson Health Tech [the parent company of Matrix Fitness] is stable and has worked hard to adapt at every stage of uncertainty.
There’s been decline in commercial sales, but on a positive note, in response to lockdown and home fitness becoming such a vital cog in many people’s daily routine, the sale of our home and wellness equipment – brands such as Matrix retail, Vision, Horizon and Fujiryoki – grew by 99 per cent in H1.
With nearly 300 owned Johnson retail stores and five manufacturing warehouses in Shanghai, Taiwan, Vietnam and the USA, Johnson Health Tech is able to own all components, from the first development phase through to manufacture, allowing us to maintain the highest quality standards with minimal costs to the customer.
This consistency has been key through turbulent times. And due to the increased consumer demand for home equipment, the opening of our warehouse in Vietnam has been timed to perfection when it comes to managing consumer at-home products for the foreseeable future.
How has the company been supporting its staff and customers?
Johnson Health Tech is strongly built on family values, and therefore the health and safety of our team and clients has remained a top priority. We have taken every extra measure we can to protect them. As it stands, a large proportion of our team are still working from home so that we can fully abide by social distancing restrictions.
For those that need to be office-based, we’ve organised a shift system to ensure we keep numbers at a safe level. Our warehouses have been made COVID-19 safe and all of our service team have been provided with relevant PPE.
What is Matrix Fitness doing to sustain the UK fitness industry?
We’ve been working closely with ukactive to support its Fit Together campaign, which was launched to provide operators with practical resources for a safe and successful return to business.
We’ve also placed a real focus on our support and service efforts throughout this time, assisting with COVID-19-safe equipment layouts and moving or holding stock in our warehouses where required.
The reopening of the industry, encouraging confidence in consumers and maintaining business is a collective responsibility. Physical activity has a vital role to play in our resilience and recovery from COVID-19 and therefore, the industry has to unite.
We’ll continue to work with our customers, key accounts, partners and ukactive to ensure the industry has the necessary tools and protocols in place to keep the nation active.
How will COVID-19 shape Matrix Fitness UK moving forwards?
It is inevitable that we will have to restructure our business. Despite the fact that globally the business is stable, we can only assume that our market will continue to feel the impact for at least 6-12 months yet. We will need to future-proof and reorganise ourselves internally in order to thrive moving forwards.
As part of this, we will be relocating our Head Office as a way to help drive costs down whilst pushing efficiencies within the business. On a positive note, we are still projecting significant growth as a company and our aim is to maintain our position as the fastest growing fitness brand in the world.
What are your predictions for the industry?
Physical activity was at record levels before the pandemic, and during lockdown we saw new activity habits forming, as even the more sedentary took to exercising at home in order to keep fit and active. We’ve also seen an influx of research into the benefits physical activity and fitness can have on immunity and long-term health.
Now there’s a focus on fitness and health, there’s an appetite for facilities to open, but also for them to offer outdoor and digital, at-home options, so people can access their fitness journey anywhere, anytime.
It’s our job to work together as an industry to provide a safe environment to reignite the confidence of the nation and encourage them to build on the great activity habits started during lockdown.
It’s undoubtedly a very challenging time, and as an industry we will still be feeling the impacts of COVID-19 on business for some time to come. But it’s also a time to encourage change, adapt the way we operate and to really listen to the needs of our customers.