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Retail Industry Updates

Consumers Will Continue to Get Fit at Home in 2021


With many gyms closed during the pandemic, consumers took to exercising at home — buying equipment and embracing online training mechanisms. It was a boon for retailers that sell exercise equipment and will continue to be in 2021, according to a study by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

From March to October, health and fitness equipment revenue more than doubled $2.3 billion, according to The NPD Group. Treadmill sales soared 135% while stationary bike sales nearly tripled.

Indianapolis-based ACSM said millions of adults were affected by fitness facility closures in 2020 and forced to find innovative ways to be active at home. So it’s not surprising that more than 4,000 health and fitness pros surveyed by ACSM identified online training as the new top trend in fitness for 2021. Online training moved up 25 spots from its number 26 rank in 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every person and industry this year, especially those in health and fitness,” said ACSM Past President Walter R. Thompson, lead author of the survey. “It caused fitness facilities to close and restructure services. Plus, the challenges of engaging clients at a distance resulted in the use of some very strategic delivery systems. As we deal with the lasting effects of the pandemic, new systems like online and virtual training are critical to ensure the continued physical and mental well-being of people around the world.”

According to the “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2021,” some of the fitness trends are:

Online training: Developed for the at-home exercise experience, this trend uses digital streaming technology to deliver group, individual or instructional exercise programs online, according to ACSM.

Wearable technology: Includes devices like fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices that can count steps and track heart rate, body temperature, calories, sitting time and sleep time.

Body weight training: Uses minimal equipment, making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.

Outdoor activities: Hiking and biking.

Strength training with free weights.