The Future of At-Home Fitness Equipment

By Jemima McEvoy Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The at-home fitness equipment market — treadmills, indoor cycling bikes, elliptical machines — is one of few to have actually benefited from the coronavirus pandemic. As the US population has grown to become more health-conscious, fitness equipment that people can purchase for their homes has gained popularity, resulting in massive industry growth. This has been compounded by the months-long public health crisis that’s kept people stuck at home. Here’s how the industry looks today — and what’s next to come.

Woman using a spin machine at home.

A Good Few Years For Fitness

The global home fitness equipment market is currently valued at $6.76 billion, according to an industry report published in July. People are increasingly drawn to the idea of putting a treadmill or elliptical in the corner of their living room, bedroom, or spare room, cutting down the time commitment and costs of buying a gym membership. Plus, the health benefits are apparent. Home fitness equipment includes devices and machines that help with the performance and monitoring of physical exercises at home. They help improve stamina, develop muscle strength, burn excess fat, stimulate heart rate, and maintain overall health and fitness, which contributes to a longer, healthier life.

A greater national emphasis on health and wellness has been a major contributing factor to the industry’s growth over the past few years. A prior industry report details the US market “increased significantly” from 2018 to 2019, due to many factors, largely based on shifting trends in North America, the largest region in the global home fitness market in 2019.

“The home fitness equipment market is expected to increase due to rising millennial population, growing prevalence of obesity, rapid urbanization, increasing incidence of chronic disease, surging sales of fitness equipment, [and a] soaring fitness conscious population,” the report concluded.

Major Players

The at-home fitness equipment market is extremely competitive and has only become more so as it has grown. What’s interesting about the market is that it’s dominated by both niche, local, and global players (not just large companies alone, as is common in a populated market), and compared to other markets of its size is fragmented, not consolidated.

The top five market players, as of 2019, according to a report from Mordor Intelligence, are Nautilus Inc., Johnson Health Tech Co., Amer Sports, Icon Health & Fitness Inc., and Technogym SpA. Large fitness companies have increasingly acquired their way into the mix, which has injected the market with increased legitimacy. Johnson Health Tech, which owns brands like Tempo, Matrix, Horizon Fitness, Vision Fitness, and Synca, acquired special fitness retailer Leisure Fitness to expand its product portfolio.

Another large contributor to the market’s success is Peloton - a trendy fitness company started in 2012, known for its at-home stationary bikes. The workout service has a net worth of $25.9 billion currently.

Coronavirus Curve

Most of these companies have seized a massive opportunity provided by the coronavirus pandemic. With people stuck at home and their gyms closed, few options for working out drove troves of consumers to at-home fitness equipment. According to industry reports, the market is expected to grow a whopping 40.4% in one year to reach $9.49 billion in 2020 because of the pandemic.

“The growth is mainly due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and other commercial activities that paved the way for increasing demand for fitness equipment for home-based workouts and improvement of online fitness content,” reads the report.

For example, Peloton saw sales surge 172% amid the pandemic as more than one million people subscribed to its streaming classes. The company’s shares are up more than 220% in 2020. Peloton has also seized the moment, offering new subscribers a free three-month trial at the start of the coronavirus crisis, and then releasing new options for its growing, diverse consumer base. Peloton cut the price of its most popular bike by 15% and introduced a higher-priced bike, with plans to release a lower-priced treadmill next year.

Pedaling Forward

Fair warning: this market’s exponential growth is not expected to last forever. In fact, analysts project that after this year of growth, the market will stabilize and reach $8.62 billion in 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of -3.16% (a 3.16% average decrease year over year).

The market has a series of limiting factors that will impede its growth. One is space limitation, which is expected to limit the growth of the market because many people live in cities or small homes that cannot accommodate large equipment like that currently on the market. Another is the high cost of the equipment. Despite the attempts of Peloton — and other companies — to make products more affordable, the prices are still generally high for equipment, making it a somewhat alienated industry limited to certain consumers.

However, potential limitations on growth may be outshone by new emerging trends that offer promises of market-expanding flexibility. One such trend is virtual reality fitness equipment, accessories, and apps which “not only inspire and motivate into working out and firming up the body, but also saves thousands of dollars on cross trainers, treadmills, and stationary bikes,” per the July industry report.

Any fitness junkies will have heard of the company Mirror, which uses virtual reality to turn a mirror into your own personal workout space—a cardio class, a yoga studio, and more. Mirror generated such a buzz that the young startup was quickly snapped up by Lululemon, which will pay $500 million to acquire the home fitness studio. This type of space-saving solution may solve some of the market’s woes. However, a hefty price tag still leaves these products alienating to the masses, a problem that’ll define the market’s future success.

About the Author

Headshot of Jemima McEvoy

Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.

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