With Home Gym Equipment Sales Up, Will Gyms Suffer More?

by Matt Weik

Over the last few weeks, we have witnessed some sad news in the fitness community where gyms have been announcing closures (for good). One such gym chain that seems to be taking the pandemic the worst is Gold’s Gym who has come out and said they will be closing more than 30 locations due to the President and Governors saying gyms must close during these times. Yet, one area that has exploded over the last month is home gym equipment.

Good Luck Finding Home Gym Equipment in Stock Online

Data from Adobe Analytics has shown exponential growth of the home gym equipment category and with a quick search online, you’ll see this is accurate if you’re looking for your own home gym equipment and find everyone is sold out. Adobe Analytics has published information showing that e-commerce sales of home gym equipment increased 55% in a five-day period during the pandemic. Even more staggering is that they also have shown that comparing sales to last year (which grew 70% from February to March 2019), this year during the same timeframe the sales have grown 535%.

It doesn’t matter what brand of home gym equipment you’re looking for, everyone seems to be sold out or have extremely low inventory. While no one has been price-gouging, the demand has skyrocketed as more people are looking for ways to stay healthy while staying at home. Even used gym equipment businesses are selling through their inventory quickly and have needed to ramp up their staff to make all of the extra deliveries.

Consumers are buying ellipticals, bikes, treadmills, kettlebells, resistance bands, dumbbells, squat racks, universal gyms, barbells, weight plates – whatever they can get their hands on. Even eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace are wiped out of home gym equipment being sold by private sellers.

Then you have all of the home fitness brands that have interactive software that is helping exercisers stay fit through videos and interactive platforms. You can think along the lines of Peloton, NordicTrack, and many others that provide subscription-based software to help users get motived, stay on track, and get the results they desire while making the software fun and entertaining.

With the hockey stick growth we have seen in the home gym equipment market, how will this affect gyms and gym memberships?

The Death of Gyms Has Only Begun

I’m a gym rat – I love being in gyms. I love working out on new pieces of equipment and trying new things. However, I also have my own home gym that I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars building. That being said, it saddens me to say this or even think about it, but I feel that there will be many gyms that’ll never recover following this shutdown. And not necessarily due to the shutdown itself and having to still pay for their overhead and expenses during the pandemic. Rather, I see people seeing that they can actually get in a great workout from the privacy of their own home without the need to get in their car and drive to the gym. This will lead to many people forgoing the gym and canceling their membership.

As mentioned earlier, Gold’s Gym is closing some of its locations. Gold’s is a HUGE gym chain and has been around forever. If they are hurting, imagine what is happening with the smaller mom and pop gyms you find on the corner of smaller cities. While most gyms are turning off their memberships and not charging members, some are still collecting monthly dues which is frustrating members and causing them to cancel their gym memberships. What are they doing after they cancel? Going online and buying home gym equipment.

People are doing anything and everything they can to fit in a workout and get in some form of exercise. There are many gyms, trainers, and experts in the industry publishing free workouts, exercises, and programs online that anyone can use in their home or even outside. What does this do? Well, it helps people in a tough time, but also shows many people may not need a gym membership to get in a great workout, stay in shape, and effectively lose weight.

Again, this is going to cause a mass exodus of people from gyms and drastically reduce the number of memberships. In the same breath, the die-hard gym-goers will not be affected at all and they are probably sitting in front of the television waiting for the announcement from their governor saying gyms are opening back up and they’ll be immediately jumping in their cars and heading straight into the gym to get their swole on.

Something else we need to consider is that people right now are looking at their expenses. From all of the memberships a gym may have, a small percentage is made up of active members who use the gym regularly. What does this mean? It means people are joining a gym, paying the monthly fee, and not going. While this is great news for the gym, it’s bad news for the individual who is paying for something they don’t use. This then turns into bad news for the gym because that individual who just realized they have a gym membership they never canceled is now going online or calling the gym to cancel their membership immediately.

Even When Gyms Reopen, People May Not Rush Back

Even when the green light is given and gyms open back up, I don’t think everyone will rush back like a group of eager buyers on Black Friday when retailers unlock their doors. Home gym equipment will still be in play and people will hold off and see what happens at their gym and if people start getting sick before they consider going back (if they go back at all).

One thing I’ve recommended for my clients to purchase over the past 15 years has been home gym equipment. Now, I’m not telling them to spend $10,000 on tons of pieces but rather invest $100 in a good set of resistance bands so you never have an excuse why you can’t exercise. That said, good luck finding resistance bands right now, but if you can find a good set, I would strongly recommend you buy them as a solid piece of home gym equipment you and the whole family can use and benefit from.

It’s going to be interesting to see how all of this plays out and what happens to the private gyms and chains out there. Will they come back strong or will home gym equipment eliminate many of them?

What are your thoughts? Let us know down in the comments. And do you miss the gym or have you improvised?