In times of COVID-19, a trip to the gym is not possible but Indians have found ways to keep themselves fit even at home. From attending online fitness classes to buying fitness equipment for home use, Indians are leaving no stone unturned to keep themselves physically healthy.
The demand for indoor fitness equipment has seen a significant surge since the lockdown was announced in March.
According to Prateek Sood, Director, Grand Slam Fitness, a chain of fitness stores that has been in the business for 30 years, “In the home segment, there has been a jump of 50-60 percent since April.”
“The fitness industry before the lockdown was fueled by commercial sales wherein people were buying equipment for B2B (business to business) use like for gym, offices, etc. But ever since the lockdown, there has been a remarkable shift in this segment because people are not going to the gym and existing gym owners cannot open the gym,” he said.
He also added that currently there are two kinds of people who have started investing in buying equipment for home use. “One type of buyer is who was not much aware but is now investing in fitness equipment. And then there is the committed fitness type who work out on a daily basis and needed a permanent solution as he/she does not foresee going to the gym in the near future. These two types of buyers have invested heavily in buying gym equipment in the last few months,” he noted.
Even on e-commerce platforms, the demand for fitness equipment has seen a surge.
A Snapdeal spokesperson said, “The demand for fitness equipment increased during the lockdown and continues to grow with more assortment having been added by the sellers in recent weeks. The demand over the last four months is nearly 60 percent higher than the corresponding period last year.”
“Due to lack of access to opportunities to exercise outside of homes, more users opted to buy equipment that could meet their fitness needs within their homes. The sale of fitness accessories picked up mid-April onwards and deliveries resumed from the beginning of May,” the spokesperson added.
What are fitness freaks buying the most?
“Largest selling items have been dumbbells, rods, plates, benches, few people have bought cardio machines like cycles. There has been a big shift to online fitness classes. Hence, people have started investing in small equipment which they can use for their group classes online. A pair of 10 kg dumbbells could cost Rs 3,000."
"There are economical cardio options also available like cycles which cost around Rs 16,000 and treadmills which could cost between Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000. But these are usually cheaper Chinese imports. If you are going for a long-lasting machine you are looking upwards of Rs 75,000,” said Sood.
On Snapdeal, products like push-up bars for chest and arm exercises, resistance bands and tubes for strength training, ab roller for the abdominal portion, grip exerciser for hand and arms, skipping rope, are high in demand.
“The increased demand in the category (home fitness equipment) has led to a corresponding increase in the assortment. Users are buying multiple products in the price range of Rs 500 to Rs 1,500 to meet the fitness needs of various family members. We believe that sales of such products will continue to be robust given their efficacy and the overall need to limit visits to public areas like gyms and parks,” added the spokesperson.
Which markets are seeing high demand?
“NCR takes the biggest chunk when it comes to demand for fitness equipment. Mumbai has been left behind because of the coronavirus situation there. Bengaluru has had a lot of good activity. Historically, Gujarat is a little behind but it is actively picking up in the current times. Also, consumers in tier II markets are actively buying but smaller items only,” said Sood.
Home segment resulting in high profitability
An interesting aspect Sood pointed out regarding the rise in demand for fitness equipment in the home segment.
“The companies that are seeing good growth in home sale for fitness equipment were doing this much business earlier as well. Just that we were doing the same amount of business via commercial sales. The profitability is high because with commercial sales you negotiate more because they are larger size deals but with home sales, the negotiations are lesser.”
Talking about sales, Sood said his company has done sale worth Rs 3 crore per month in the home segment for fitness equipment since the lockdown in March. He added, “if I look back last year, my numbers were very similar but this was from B2B side.”
Gyms are reopening. Will demand for fitness equipment for home use dip?
Sood believes there might be a slight dip in demand for the home segment with gyms opening up. From 60 percent surge, it could go to 50 percent, he added.
He also pointed out, “if I have to go by what’s happening internationally, more than 65-70 percent people won’t go back to gyms. So, this number is likely to stay stable (demand for home fitness equipment).”