STRAVA | USA vs GB | Who Won in the Lockdown Stats for 2020?

STRAVA Stats 2020

Strava has released its lockdown stats for the USA and UK. There have been many strikingly positive shifts in our activity levels.

First Up. This is Covid-year and there have been many material changes to our habits. Sometimes these annual roundup stats can be used to find niche snippets of info. Not this time. We’ve been behaving VERY differently.

Global Strava Headlines

  • Strava claims to have 73m registered athletes, increasing at 2million/month with 21.5m uploads per week (85m/month).
  • Takeout – hmmm. Do the math. 21.5m uploads mean, at most, 21.5m active users in an average week. That’s a lot of inactive accounts despite the impressive customer acquisition rate this year.

The following image shows the dramatic increase in uploaded activities in April/May. But, wait a minute, that chart shows only 16m uploads/week at the start of the year. Which means there has historically been a realistic MAXIMUM of 16m active Strava users globally. I would guess that a ‘real’ active strava user would upload 2 activities per week (maybe slightly more, on average) which brings the user base at the start of the year down to below 8m. Then let’s take Strava’s claim of 2m/month new users added this year; that probably reflects 2m real new and active users. Add those to the base from the start of the year and we are up to 18m currently active Strava users, probably now declining from a summer peak. The figure of 18m users then ties in nicely with 30m uploads ie almost two uploads per person per week #believable.


Country Headline Differences

Our governments asked us to ‘stay indoors’ differently at the start of the year and we can see from the outdoor runs+rides, below, that the draconian lockdowns in Spain and Italy were tightly enforced and people complied and stayed at home.

Spain, UK, Germany and USA all seemed to dramatically increase activity levels during the first lockdown when we were at home and outdoors exercising was permitted.  Here are 3 of those countries’ charts in more detail, although I’m not convinced that the baseline used to compare US and Germany is correct. ie their baseline was projected to rise whereas the UK’s baseline is relatively static. Maybe Strava think the UK market is already saturated for their services?



Sport Differences

Broadly speaking, as nations everywhere, our runs and rides doubled as we left the initial lockdown and I’m guessing our pool swims collapsed as many (all?) pools remained closed.

That stat certainly ties in with my personal experience of seeing lots more people working out during the day. I did at the time believe that the increase I saw was due to an overall increase in activity but it could have instead been that people who exercised at lunchtime at work were instead exercising from home…that appears NOT to have been the case, although it’s possible that gym closures and work closures together have manifested themselves in public suburban displays of sweat where Iive.




USA vs UK+IRL – Head-to head


Let’s start off with looking at who is working out.

These charts compare the increases in the average number of uploaded activities by age group. As you can see the young ladies are putting the rest of us to shame. Another clear trend is that more women have become more active across the entire population.

That said the underlying data will be skewed and I would bet that there were disproportionately less young people registered on the strava platform



Then we turn to WHEN we are all working out. Just looking at the January figures shows nearly identical y.o.y. trends for the times of day when we exercise. However, things clearly change in May as the lockdown effect kicks in. Runs and rides became more spread out in the daylight hours of lockdown, especially during the week when you were ‘working’ from home. Sunday rides are still early morning things but some of us started out a little bit later than normal.

Perhaps the September data are more interesting in that we have reverted back to following normal patterns. Perhaps this reflects our lives returning to normal (unlikely) or symbolises some form of weariness with the ‘new normal’ or perhaps cooler weather starts to deter those who were previously keener?

Getting Faster?

Did all that extra training work? Well, it seems so as there were LOTS more QOMS/KOMS created. Maybe we all got fitter or maybe there were just fewer cars on the road 😉 I did get a KOM but I was in a car at the time, so I swiftly had to delete that accident when I got home!

Strava Proves Its Sociability

Strava sometimes gets a bad rap as one feature or other slips into Premium-only. However, it seems that Strava’s community-oriented purpose is working well for all. There was a clear uptake in new clubs starting up and new club members joining and it’s great that the trend has continued through to Q3. Perhaps in the UK Strava has taken over some of the mantle of parkrun which has now been closed for over 6 months, those 1 million Saturday runners might have found Strava Clubs as their new sports community.

Alongside clubs, we also see that challenges have their place too. Not everyone is training for a Sub3 marathon. Many Strava users simply want to add a goal or purpose to their weekly workout efforts. Strava has definitely helped with that as athletes have challenged themselves and joined in challenges with others


That’s it.


Sources:  UK_Strava_YIS2020_PressBook_120120 (2) YIS2020_USA

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3 thoughts on “STRAVA | USA vs GB | Who Won in the Lockdown Stats for 2020?

  1. Interesting stuff; largely confirms what we’ve all been talking about with friends this year (via Skype/Zoom/Teams/WhateverApp), but never had the data to substantiate until now. What will be interesting to see going forward is if 2021 reverts back nearer to 2019, or whether the general change to more people working from home some/all of the time has a lasting impact, even post Covid-19.

  2. I know of a lot people who no longer do their once a week upload due to Parkruns being closed.

    Also, sport brands would pay handsomely to show ads to those 18 million.

    1. yes.
      i know the founders are against ads.
      I still don’t quite understand why strava doesn’t show ads.
      The maths is simple to work out the revenue. Conservatively strava would get $2 for every 1000 ad impressions. An easier fudge figure to work with might be $3 per 1000 sessions, although it might be slightly lower on mobile rather than desktop.
      As you say, a handsome figure.

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