Analysis of 1.8 billion activity uploads from Strava’s global community of over 95 million athletes shows lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme weather on athletic activity.
Strava, the leading social platform for over 95 million athletes and the largest sports community in the world, today released its annual Year in Sport data report, revealing that the pandemic-era sports boom shows no signs of slowing. It also shows how extreme weather events impact athlete behavior across the globe.
In 2021, global activity rates on Strava continued to rise to new record levels, with over 37 million uploads per week, totaling 1.8 billion public uploads over the past 12 months.
Though the gradual return of some in-person events and races in 2021 has been much-anticipated for athletes, demand for community and connection online remain at an all-time high.
This year’s 38% increase in activity uploads follows 2020’s surge of 1.1 billion uploads (a 33% increase vs. 2019). Strava welcomed 2 million new athletes per month to its global community, which collectively logged over 20 billion miles this year.
“Even as the global athletic community endured another year of pandemic disruptions and restrictions, we saw a persistent desire from athletes to stay connected and keep one another active. Athletes from every country on earth recorded and shared their runs, bike rides and lunchtime walks. And in turn, the community encouraged one another by doling out 9.6 billion kudos,” says Michael Horvath, Strava CEO. “Every effort counts on Strava, and our team is thrilled to provide a platform for anyone who sweats to connect with their peers, find new places to be active, set goals for themselves, create clubs and challenge their friends. Strava is committed to creating positive impact in the areas that matter to us and our athletes: climate change, environmental racism and equity & inclusion in sport,” adds Horvath.
Notable findings from the 2021 Year in Sport include:
The pandemic-era sports boom isn’t slowing. Strava upload rates for all sports increased significantly, along with a notable surge in personal bests.
- More than 1.8 billion activities were uploaded to Strava over the last 12 months.
- A 38% YoY increase in activities in 2021 builds on 2020’s sport’s surge.
- All sport types saw huge growth, with walking (2.0x) and hiking (1.7x) showing the strongest continued YoY growth in 2021 alongside yoga and other indoor workouts.
- In 2020, walking grew by 3.0x, and hiking grew by 1.9x YoY.
- Among runners who joined Strava in 2020, almost twice as many set new personal bests in 2021 (5K, half marathon, etc.) this year compared to last year.
Starting the year off with a goal makes a difference. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to tackle a goal with others.
- Athletes who set a goal for the New Year were 2 hours more active in January than those who didn’t.
- Half of all Group Challenge participants uploaded more activities in the 30 days after starting a challenge than in the 30 days prior.
- Since its launch in May, Strava’s revamped Maps tab has generated over 120 million suggested routes for cyclists, runners, and walkers to explore.
- Total club members across Strava grew by 37% on top of a large increase from last year.
- Over 189,000 new Clubs were created on Strava this year.
Walking is more popular now than ever, and women in particular realize the value.
- More people than ever are uploading walks to Strava. This rise in popularity spans all age groups, genders and regions.
- Female runners and cyclists are 2.4x as likely to upload walks as males.
- Athletes who regularly upload walks record 2.5 to 4 hours per week.
- Cyclists and runners who walk are 16% more likely to still be active in six months than athletes who don’t.
Extreme weather and hazardous air quality impact athlete behavior around the globe.
- During the Texas freeze and power crisis in February, there was a -57% decrease in outdoor activities.
- During the heatwave in Oregon over the summer, outdoor activities dipped -23%.
- During the snowstorm in Madrid in January and the flooding in Nagano in August, indoor activities increased 55% and 56% respectively.
*Strava’s Year In Sport 2021 analyzes public activity uploads on Strava between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. Private activities, and activities from athletes who have opted out of any Strava features are excluded from aggregated insights.
2021 Strava Community Totals at a Glance:
- Over 95 million total athletes.
- About 2 million new athletes join every month.
- 1.8 billion activity uploads in the last 12 months.
- 20 billion miles covered.
- 189 thousand Strava Clubs created.
- 9.6 billion Kudos given.
Download the full YIS 2021 report: https://blog.strava.com/press/yis2021/
Strava is the leading digital platform for athletes and the largest sports community in the world, with over 95 million athletes in 195 countries. If you sweat you’re an athlete, and Strava’s mobile apps and website connect millions of active people every day. Strava gives athletes simple, fun ways to stay motivated and compete against themselves and others without having to be in the same place at the same time. All athletes belong on Strava no matter where they live, which sport they love or what device they use. Join the community and make the most of your sport with a Strava subscription.