The Impact Of Coronavirus On Global Activity
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, it’s had a major impact on physical activity levels for our 30 million plus active Fitbit users around the globe. Our mission has always been to help people around the world get healthier, and it’s more important than ever to do so during these challenging times. That’s why we’re sharing our best tips on how to try and stay healthy, keep active, and manage stress while staying indoors.
But first, we wanted to share the impact of COVID-19 on global physical activity so far based on what we’ve seen in the Fitbit data. As communities adapt to social distancing, it’s no surprise that almost all of the countries we studied experienced a statistically significant decline in average step count compared to the same time last year. See a summary of global activity levels in the map below.
The Impact of Coronavirus on Physical Activity All Over the World
The severity of the decline in steps varied from country to country, with European countries showing a more dramatic change, ranging from a 7% to 38% decline in step counts during the week ending March 22, 2020.
Fitbit data scientists established a baseline for normal activity levels around step count in each area by analyzing the activity of millions of Fitbit users with similar characteristics during the same week from the previous year.¹ According to this analysis, during the week of March 22, 2020, the United States saw a 12% decline in step count.²
In the graphic below, you can see how step count behavior has changed over time on a country-by-country basis. For example, the deviation from normal activity for this time last year occurred much earlier in the year for countries like China and Hong Kong, which were the first to face COVID-19. There are also reasons for optimism, as you can see that step counts are starting to rise again in China, Japan, and Hong Kong.
In Europe, the largest reduction in step counts was seen in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Romania, and France in the week ending March 22, 2020.