The Rise of the 24-Hour Home Gym
In 2020, when safety protocols forced gyms to temporarily close their doors, homebound consumers were left wondering where, when, and how they could break a sweat?
Thanks to a new generation of internet-connected exercise machines and a wide variety of exercise equipment, homebound consumers discovered they could create a 24-hour gym of their own - right in their homes. The concept of consumers buying their own workout machines was now on the forefront of their minds and wallets.
Last year, consumers stocked up on in-home exercise equipment, ordered new fitness gear and subscribed to virtual fitness classes at a feverish pace - all in the name of staying fit and staying sane.
'The past year in home fitness was unlike anything we have seen prior,' said Becky Alseth, Chief Marketing Officer of Nautilus, Inc., the maker of multiple fitness equipment brands, like Bowflex and Schwinn Fitness. 'People quickly pivoted to home fitness from their usual gym routines so they could keep exercising.'
Before 2020, in-home fitness was a 'predictable' category, with sales hovering around $3.6 billion, said Alseth. Last year, revenue from sales of health and fitness equipment soared to $2.3 billion between the months of March and October alone, according to the Washington Post, with treadmills and stationary bikes being among the most in-demand items. Nautilus saw its net sales grow by 81.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period the year prior.
Of course, gym equipment takes up a lot of space, which Alseth believes was the reason why more-compact items like kettlebells and dumbbells flew off the shelves during the first few months of the pandemic.
Different products, different price points, same desire to work out
When it comes to buying fitness equipment, consumers have shown different fitness priorities and different budgets. Bowflex, a Nautilus brand and Synchrony partner, sells a variety of products at many price points, from free weights to top-of-the-line stationary bikes.
'We've consistently maintained a broad product assortment as part of the Bowflex value proposition. We also give consumers a choice in how to pay. They can pay with a credit card, and we also offer financing to make our products affordable for all sizes of budgets,' Alseth adds.
Providing flexibility in payment options has proven to be one of the best experiences for consumers. Through special financing options and more - consumers are able to create their own gym with their own budget, says Darrell Owens, SVP, Leader - Lifestyle, at Synchrony.
For Nautilus items like SelectTech dumbbells and indoor cycling bikes - which typically retail for under $1,000 - consumers often pay with credit card. When it comes to purchases above $1,000, Alseth says consumers are more likely to use promotional finance to solve for their personal affordability and budget.
For those consumers that are experiencing sticker shock, monthly payments for exercise equipment can be lower than a monthly gym membership, said Owens. Fitness machine retailers now are offering a multitude of payment options at checkout, helping shoppers choose the best and most affordable payment solution for them.
'U.S. consumers have been eager to continue a physical activity routine, both in-home and outdoors. But they're also focused on managing a budget,' said Owens. 'Synchrony's payment and consumer finance solutions for companies like Nautilus help make the in-home gym an affordable and manageable option for consumers.'
At-home gyms, virtual classes
It isn't all about the exercise equipment. Consumers are also turning to health and fitness apps to stream on-demand fitness classes. U.S. health & fitness apps saw 405 million installs in 2020, an increase of 22 percent from 2019, according to Sensor Tower's State of Health & Fitness Apps 2021 report.
'Subscription-based fitness apps provide the variety of exercise programs and trainer-led videos to keep users motivated and active,' said Alseth.
'JRNY, our digital platform, gives subscribers access to workouts that adapt to their fitness levels and lets them connect to their entertainment subscriptions, like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+,' she added.
As gyms across the country are beginning to reopen, the at-home fitness trend may be the way of the future. In a recent report by The New Consumer, 66 percent of people surveyed preferred working out at home during the pandemic. People will still work out at a variety of locations - but working out from home will continue to be a major part of a person's calorie-burning routine.
'The at-home gym is open 24/7, whenever the consumer needs - and wants - to work out,' Alseth said.
Synchrony Financial Inc. published this content on 08 September 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 08 September 2021 14:21:03 UTC.