“New Year, New You!”—Sound familiar? Every January, people make their New Year’s resolutions and embark on a journey to become a better version of themselves. In fact, according to Statistic Brain, 21% of Americans made a New Year’s resolution involving weight loss, and a further 5% made a resolution to start exercising more back in 2017. For many, this type of resolution involves joining a gym. For others, it involves investing in their own exercise equipment. According to TraQline’s own data, 34% of people purchase exercise equipment in order to lose weight (Q3 2017).
Stationary Bikes Ascendant
When it comes to large exercise equipment, consumers’ enduring favorites are the Treadmill, the Stationary Bike, and the Elliptical. But over the years, we’ve seen a shift away from treadmills and ellipticals – moving towards the stationary bike.
While the popularity of treadmills peaks during the first quarter of every year (routinely making up approximately 25% of exercise equipment purchased that quarter, per TraQline), sales are relatively flat overall. However, in the last couple of years, the mix of unit sales of treadmills have started to fall slightly. In the four quarters that ended September 2016, Treadmills made up 24% of exercise equipment sales, but that fell to 23% in the four quarters ending September 2017.
Ellipticals have also been trending down for the last few years. In R4Q September 2016, ellipticals made up 13% of the sales mix of exercise equipment. In R4Q September 2017, that fell significantly to 11%. Unlike treadmills, ellipticals do not see that first quarter spike in sales; they are a bit more variable in when their sales peak for the year.
On the other hand, the Stationary Bike is gaining ground. Sales mix increased significantly between the four quarters ending September 2016 and the four quarters ending September 2017 (17.7% to 19.2%). Some of the increase in stationary bikes’ popularity could be due to the increasing popularity of spin classes and availability of connected devices, such as Peloton’s spin bike, that allows users to stream spin classes from home—for a monthly fee.
Popular Equipment Brands
Just like the nebulous “lose weight” resolution, consumers don’t have an overwhelmingly favorite choice when it comes to exercise equipment brands. Despite being #1 for most popular brands, Nordic Track only makes up about 7% of exercise equipment sales- almost half of all sales of exercise equipment come from a myriad of other, smaller brands. Additionally, despite the high cost of exercise equipment, 15-20% of consumers don’t know the brand they purchased. Once the data is broken down to look at popular types of equipment, some patterns become more apparent.
For example, Nordic Track tops both Treadmill and Elliptical sales, making up 17% and 14% of sales respectively for the four quarters ending September 2017. For other equipment such as stationary bike, incline trainer, and rowing machine, Nordic Track has a much smaller share.
Additionally, Proform brand makes the top 5 lists for treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes.
Interestingly, almost all of the top 5 brands for treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes make all three products. However, they may only be known for one particular type of equipment.
Overall, the brand name on exercise equipment isn’t a major draw for consumers. Features, price, and quality are all more important factors, with only 17% of consumers saying that brand was an influence in their purchase decision (TraQline R4Q ending September 2017).
The lack of any one clear “winner” in exercise equipment brands indicates that there is opportunity to be had for new brands to establish themselves.
While there’s no “one easy stop” for consumers who’ve made a weight-loss related resolution, less-specialized, National outlets are their top choice for making home gym equipment purchases. Amazon, Walmart, and Sears are the top outlets for exercise equipment, and maintain their top statuses within treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes. Amazon in particular has grown significantly over the past year—currently 20% of exercise equipment is purchased on Amazon.
But don’t count specialty sporting goods stores out entirely just yet. As they continue to add stores nationally, Academy Sports + Outdoors has demonstrated directional growth from R4Q September 2016 to R4Q September 2017, and Dick’s Sporting Goods had significant growth between those same time periods.
Why they buy
While competitive pricing is the largest influence on consumers’ decision on where to shop, it’s not the only factor that consumers consider. Having a good selection of products is important to almost 1/3 of all consumers when they select an outlet to purchase from. For retailers looking to gain an edge, having not only a good selection, as well as opportunities for consumers to try out those selections, could help gain an additional edge over online retailers.
Consumers who are hoping to make healthier choices in the coming year routinely turn to home gym equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes. Brands like Proform and Nordic Track have made their impression on the market at retailers such as Amazon and Walmart, but there’s still ample opportunity for brands and outlets alike to draw consumers’ eyes as they set out to make good on their new year’s resolutions.