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Exercise Equipment Market: 1, Pandemic: 0

One way that consumers across the country sought out endorphins during long stretches at home full of uncertainty has been through investing in exercise equipment. And with stay-at-home orders affecting much of the country for various lengths of time, many consumers turned to online shopping to fill the gym-sized holes in their social schedules. News outlets reported on the challenges of finding desired equipment (especially dumbbells) at reasonable prices. After my own fraught and expensive attempts to source exercise equipment at the height of the pandemic, I decided to look to TraQline’s data to put quantifiable data to my own anecdotal experience. Below, I dig into the data around how the Exercise Equipment market has grown during the pandemic, as well as what specific products are resonating with consumers looking to exercise at home.

Online Goes for Gold

While the percentage of Exercise Equipment sold online has been increasing steadily year over year since Q1 2019, the last three quarters have seen significant growth. In fact, 69 percent of all Exercise Equipment was purchased online in Q4 2020, up from 56 percent a year ago in Q4 2019.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amazon has grown significantly in unit share for the last 4 quarters and currently wins 31 percent of the total market. Amazon’s unit share growth is not reflected in its dollar share.

When isolating just online sales, Amazon is not showing such significant growth in unit share and is losing share in online dollar share. This is a strong indication that as shoppers are shifting to purchasing online overall, they are not averse to looking at traditional brick-and-mortar retailers’ online offerings.

While the necessity of staying home probably has played an important role in this shift, availability of products also played a role. “Product Selection” has seen a significant increase as a reason that consumers choose to buy from specific retailers. Additionally, the number of consumers who reported that they shopped three or more stores has significantly increased year over year (9.4 percent in R4Q Q4 2020 vs 7.9 percent the prior R4Q).

As noted before, online unit shares had been increasing since Q1 of 2019. Additionally, 72 percent of Exercise Equipment buyers have Amazon Prime memberships, which could also be continuing to nudge buyers towards making online purchases.

line graph showing change in online vs brick and mortar exercise equipment unit shares from Q1 2016 to Q4 2020
Source: TraQline US

Stationary Bikes Cruise to the Top

As consumers looked to stock their personal gym setups, certain pieces of equipment saw significant increases of unit share. For example, Elliptical machines, Multipurpose Machines, Rowing Machines, Stationary Bikes, and Treadmills all saw significant online unit share increases.

Of all these pieces of equipment, Stationary Bikes in particular increased their overall unit and dollar shares, while also seeing significant growth in online sales (27 percent unit share overall, 30 percent online unit share). The next most popular piece of equipment was the Treadmill, winning 19 percent of unit share overall (and 17 percent of online share). And while no one exercise equipment brand specifically took home the crown, Peloton has had steadily increasing YoY growth and has handled the shift with aplomb. Of all stationary bike brands, Peloton took home 25 percent unit share, driven in part by “recommendation”. Perhaps Peloton’s infamous commercial from last holiday season helped create a buzz around their bikes after all! In fact, the relatively high cost of Peloton bikes may be a contributing factor to the online dollar share increase for Stationary Bikes as a whole.

Recap:

While already comfortable shopping online for Exercise Equipment, this year saw an increase in consumers making purchases online. Amazon topped the retail unit share list with 31 percent in Q4 2020 (and won 43 percent of the online only share). Stationary Bikes won 27 percent of unit share overall in Q4 2020 (30 percent online only share).

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TraQline's Dave Stevenson, PH.D President & CEO
Dave Stevenson, PH.D
President & CEO

Before launching The Stevenson Company in 1995, President and CEO Dave Stevenson managed worldwide research for product development, distribution, advertising, and customer satisfaction. His roles, first as head of the marketing section of General Motors’ worldwide product planning group, and later as director of GE Appliances’ global economics and market research team, give him extensive experience in consumer as well as business to business marketing solutions. Mr. Stevenson holds a Ph.D. in statistics from Southern Methodist University.