Every year, activity tracking platform Strava extrapolates user data identifying the trends under the Year in Sport banner.
For 2021, a year when in-person races and gym attendance began to rebound, Strava’s report sheds light on the shifting landscape.
Strava’s Top Line
As we detailed in Issue No. 158: Tracking Strava’s Rise, the company is gearing up for its next move. In particular, the platform is trying to prove it provides premium value to a massive global community.
At a high level, the stats support massive engagement:
- 95 million total athletes
- 2 million new athletes join every month
- 1.8 billion activity uploads
- 20 billion miles covered across all activities
Walk the Walk
All recorded activities—30+ sports—were up 38% from the previous year. But some increased more than others.
In line with the outdoor recreation revolution, uploads for walking and hiking showed the largest continued growth, rising 2x and 1.7x YoY, respectively.
In particular, walking is now more popular than ever (at least in the context of Strava data).
- All ages and regions logged more walks, reaching 668.7M miles in total.
- Routine walkers record 2.5 to 4 hours per week.
- Cyclists and runners who also record walks are 16.1% more likely to still be active six months out.
- Female runners and cyclists are 2.4x more likely to upload walks as men.
New PRs, New Challenges
With a global audience, Strava’s activation of its “athletes” retains its local feel. Through geographic and worldwide challenges, as well as a “Kudos”—Strava’s equivalent of a like button—the platform is fostering a community for activities typically done solo.
And with 189K Strava Clubs created and 9.6B Kudos given in 2021, social inspiration and group mentality has proven beneficial for both new and existing users.
- Users who set a New Year’s resolution-type goal on the app were active on average two more hours than those that didn’t.
- 1.8x as many runners set new personal records [for 5k, half-marathon, etc.] than in 2020.
- Total club members grew by 37% YoY.
- Group challenges doubled in 2021 from 2020 — a 4x increase from 2019.
- Half of all challenge participants logged more activities in the 30 days after joining than before they signed on.
Takeaway: With an uncertain indoor future, collective rediscovery of the outdoors, and huge advances in wearables and endurance tech, a continuation of the running and cycling booms is both expected and well-documented. Yet, the sustained increase in walking—and the desire to share it with others—could be the first baby step toward ending inactivity.
Read Strava’s full report here.