Athletic Shoe Sales May be Down, but Home Fitness Equipment Sales Are Way Up

The home fitness market is experiencing double and triple-digit percentage sales increases as people continue to look for ways to stay in shape with gyms closed.

“The sports industry is experiencing unprecedented growth and high demand for a distinct mix of products during this adjustment to an extended stay at home,” The NPD Group senior sports industry adviser Matt Powell said in a blog post today. “The consumer lifestyle shift as a result of the current circumstances has put the sports business in a unique position compared to most other industries. I anticipate we’ll see a renewed emphasis on health and fitness for the long term.”

According to NPD data provided in the post, there was a 130% increase in fitness equipment sales for March in all categories such as cardio machines, free weights and more. Several specific areas logged triple-digit gains, most notably weight benches, which experienced a 259% increase, followed by free weights (181%), stationary bikes (170%) and yoga mats (146%).

The post also explained that things such as goals and nets, basketball hoop systems and balls saw growth with families looking to find ways to reinvent recess for kids with schools closed.

In March, NPD data shows $13.5 million in sales came from soccer, lacrosse and hockey goals and nets, golf nets and screen sales climbed 144% and swinging and putting mats increased 138%. Also, basketball hoop systems increased 110% and basketballs and footballs — driven by junior sizes — saw double-digit gains.

NPD also noted children’s BMX and adult leisure bikes powered the cycling market with sales increases of 56% and 121%, respectively, and independent bike shops saw a 20% increase in bike service and repair sales.

Brands in the athletic space are better prepared than others to capitalize on these increasing trends. For instance, Nike revealed its first-ever shoe specific to indoor cycling, the SuperRep Cycle, at the start of the month.

Although the home fitness market is experiencing increases, athletic footwear sales in Q1 2020 took a major hit.

Powell stated in a note on April 22 that athletic footwear dollar sales declined from January to March 2020 in the mid-teens. He also said limited-edition shoe releases in January helped increase sales by roughly 10%, February’s numbers dipped in the low single digits and March declined by 40% with the pandemic sweeping through the U.S.

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