Coronavirus Inspires Fitness Buying Binge That Tops New Year's


Thursday, April 2nd 2020, 5:31 am
By: CBS News


Many Americans skipping their usual trips to the gym during the coronavirus outbreak face the challenge of staying fit at home. That's led to a spike in online orders for products like kettlebells, treadmills and stationary bikes. 

Ecommerce sales of fitness equipment jumped 55% in a five-day period ending March 15 compared to sales earlier in the month, according to data from Adobe Analytics. The surge far exceeds even the increased demand that typically comes amid New Year's resolutions or before swimsuit season in the summer, Vivek Pandya, lead analyst with Adobe's digital insights team, told CBS MoneyWatch.

Last year, online sales of fitness equipment rose 70% from February to March. This year, by comparison, sales increased 535% during the same period, according to Adobe. 

While all types of fitness products tracked by Adobe have seen strong demand, products like dumbbells and free weights were in greater demand than bulkier, pricier products like treadmills and rowing machines. 

NordicTrack maker Icon Health & Fitness reported that sales of its interactive fitness equipment rose more than 200% since March 6 compared with the year-ago period. 

The Logan, Utah-based company "saw the potential wave of sales when we saw significant increases in iFit subscriber usage from two countries that were already on lockdown a couple weeks ago: China, 300%-plus increase, and Italy, 250% increase in iFit usage," a spokesperson said by email. "Now we are seeing spiking iFit streaming workout usage in New York, Washington and California, all big population areas under lockdown."

Rival fitness-equipment maker Peloton Interactive declined to disclose any information on its sales or subscribers. But the company's share up are nearly 30% since March 12.

The boom in home equipment sales comes as gyms and other nonessential businesses across the country close to curb the spread of the pandemic. The virus has killed more than 4,300 Americans.

Gold's Gym, a fitness center chain with hundreds of locations across the country, in mid-March said it was closing company-owned facilities, while leaving the decision of whether to follow suit up to the individual franchise owners. 

 
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SoulCycle, which has closed its 99 studios in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., in now pitching its newest studio, dubbed "your home," on its website. In addition to leggings and other workout apparel, the company is taking pre-orders for its "at-home bike," which costs $2,500 and comes with a digital screen and technology for streaming fitness classes. 

In Texas, Fighting Fit Boot Camp, a kickboxing studio in North Austin has reportedly switched to offering classes online through video chat and is selling members the freestanding punching bags used in the workouts, as well as renting them out on a platform called Ruckify. 

"We've been having to adapt very quickly," Forrest Caudill, the studio's owner, told a local news outlet. 

In Southampton, New York, one fitness facility had a novel approach to keeping members equipped, telling a local newspaper that those with unlimited memberships could request to have one of their 40 rowing machines delivered to their homes.