Workout Equipment Companies Increased Sales, But Are Americans Losing Weight?

By Thomas Price Thursday, November 5, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed significant aspects of day to day life for almost everyone. With stay-at-home orders and widespread shutdowns for physical retailers and places of business, people have had to make major adjustments in order to continue to do many normal activities. One of the most affected areas has certainly been fitness and exercise. With gyms unable to open, people have had to adapt through a variety of home workouts and online ordered equipment. With it, there have been major spikes in orders; however, has it made any difference in the overall health of Americans this year?

Spikes in Fitness Equipment Sales

Online sales for fitness equipment has shot up dramatically across nearly every ecommerce platform. The numbers have been staggering, with interest in fitness equipment online being up by over 500%. For certain retailers, this has resulted in unbelievable gains. eBay’s data on fitness equipment sales this year, when compared to 2019, paints a picture of this. Items such as push-up stands saw an increase of 200% in comparison to 2019. While this may be impressive in a nutshell, the increase in push-up stands is paltry compared to larger, more popular items. Dumbbells, weight plates, and kettlebells all saw increases of over 1000%. Dumbbells saw the largest increase in sales with a rise of 1980%. Weight plates and kettlebells saw slightly more modest gains at a mere 1335% and a 1000% increase in sales, respectively. For larger companies, these results have affected them to certain levels as well.

For Dick’s Sporting Goods, this has led to legitimate record sales for the company, which had been previously seeing a decline in overall revenue over time. During Q2 of 2020, Dick’s Sporting Goods saw fitness equipment sales rise by an impressive 130%. The retailer also saw solid rises for sales in other sports equipment such as goals and nets for various sports, which had grown by 38% to $13.5 million. In their Q2 quarterly reports, Dick’s Sporting Goods saw an overall net sales rise by over 20%, which led to the company’s single greatest quarterly earnings ever.

For exercise equipment retailer and workout subscription company Peloton Interactive, the year has shown even more success. In its most recent quarterly report, Peloton Interactive earned $0.607 billion in revenue. This marks an astounding 171.83% increase compared to the same quarter in 2019, showing the incredible rise of popularity in their service and equipment. This has resulted in their stock prices rising by roughly 350% over the course of 2020. In the first half of October, downloads for the Peloton app increased by 241%. All of this information is to firmly suggest more people than ever have purchased the tools and services to exercise and stay healthy over the year. However, that is not at all what has happened.

Health in the United States in 2020

In the United States, the adult obesity rate has broken a major milestone. In 2020, the obesity rate currently stands at 42.4%. This is the first time in United States history that the obesity rate has ever crossed the 40% mark, and is the highest obesity rate ever recorded for the nation. Since 2008, the obesity rate in the United States has increased by a whopping 26%. This becomes particularly concerning when taking into consideration the additional complications obesity can be responsible for when dealing with COVID-19. In fact, one of the most common underlying health conditions that are associated with severe COVID-19 symptoms, along with hospitalizations and death.

Final Conclusions

Despite record-shattering sales of home workout equipment and subscription services, Americans are no healthier than they were before. In fact, they are markedly less healthy. While companies like Peloton Interactive, which sells stationary bikes with live subscription workouts available, will look to further expand its scope and is very likely to do so, it seemingly has no impact at all on the majority of Americans’ health. While access to healthy foods at affordable rates plays a major factor, the success and expansion of the fitness equipment industry apparently play almost none.

About the Author


Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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