With gyms closed, fitness-conscious citizens are flocking to sportswear outlets to buy accessories and equipment.
Ever since the lockdown was announced to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Abhishek Singh, a 23-year-old fitness freak, was looking at ways to ensure his fitness regime doesn’t go for a toss. Despite digital consultations with his trainer, Singh knew there was no substitute to the workout sessions at the gym.
So, once lockdown restrictions were eased, he decided to find a way around it by setting up a mini gymnasium on his terrace by buying the necessary equipment from the nearest Decathlon store.
With social distancing norms and COVID-19 threat set to stay for the near future, many others like Singh have now decided to set up a mini-gym at home as there's no clarity over the future of public gymnasiums.
A Decathlon spokesperson said the company has witnessed a significant rise in demand for fitness products.
"Products for cycling, fitness cardio, yoga and running are among the top-10 purchased categories for customers looking to bolster home equipment for fitness, following the relaxation of the lockdown. We have noticed an over 141 percent volume growth in the sales of gym benches and bench racks and a 141 percent increase in demand for dumbbells kits or individual dumbbells. Sales of kettlebells have increased 151 percent. Other than fitness products, fitness accessories are also in demand and have seen an enormous increase in sales in May. Resistance bands topped the list, with growth in excess of 2,000 percent," the spokesperson said.
Decathlon has also taken a host of measures to ensure social distancing norms are adhered to at their stores.
Recently announced initiatives include a purely digital shopping experience called 'Scan and Pay' for customers looking to shop in-store. All one has to do is choose from the more than five thousand off-the shelf products, scan a barcode by using the Decathlon app and pay via a digital mode. This facility is presently available in 63 out of 74 stores. In over 50 percent of these stores, 25-50 percent of the customers are using 'Scan and Pay'. In certain cities like Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, it is over 60 percent.No such luck for local playersWhile Decathlon stores are welcoming visitors, a domestic company is yet to come to terms with the coronavirus-led disruption.
Shiv-Naresh, a domestic sportswear entity, which has been supplying sports products to numerous sportspersons and federations over the years, is yet to see sales picking up after lockdown restrictions were eased.
Its founder RK Singh lamented that it may be a while before things start to look up again for his business.
"Sales are negligible right now. With no sign of any sports events taking place, I doubt demand will return anytime soon. Online orders are also hardly coming in," he told Moneycontrol.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here