Covid-19 continues to impact various industries and their supply chains. One of the latest industries experiencing drastic shortages in supplies is the gym and exercise equipment manufacturing market. With stay at home orders being implemented and certain states closing gyms indefinitely, people are starting to wonder where and how they will work out. Because of this, many people have been panic buying fitness equipment. This massive surge has caused shortages to arise.
In the United States, the gym and exercise equipment manufacturing industry generated $2B in revenue in 2019. Of this, 65% of the equipment comes from foundries in China. The massive shutdowns of factories have caused production rates to drop significantly. In addition, many US retailers are having a hard time obtaining their products since a large portion of their items are outsourced to Asia. The low production and difficulty getting products to America paired with an increase in demand has severely strained retailers' supply chains. A popular equipment manufacturer Rogue Fitness outsources their kettlebell production to Asia. Their inventory initially dwindled because of factory shutdowns and it continues to drop because of high demand. They hired a foundry company in Rhode Island to start manufacturing kettlebells to work to get rid of their backlog.
Some of the most sought after equipment are dumbbells, kettlebells, benches, and resistances bands. Kettlebells have risen in popularity and demand due to their versatility in various types of workouts. Not only has the US experienced shortages of these items, Australia is also facing this issue. People in Australia were purchasing damaged kettlebells for over $400.
Various studies and retailers have confirmed this sudden growth and desire for fitness equipment. Yelp conducted a study in April 2020 and found that the interest in fitness equipment rose by 500% in the United States since March 2020. Stackline also studied e-commerce trends in March 2020 and found "weight training" to be the eighth fastest growing category. Colorado based Rep Fitness said they recently did more sales in one day, than it normally does in a month. Brompton Bicycles recently confirmed that they are fully booked with orders for the next seven months and will not be able to fulfill any future orders. Peloton saw sales surge 66% in the first three months of 2020. They also ended the first quarter with more than 866,000 subscribers that have either bought their bike or treadmill. Although Peloton has seen a spike in sales, the company has been unable to keep up with not only demand, but their customers' needs. Consumers have been recently complaining about delayed and even cancelled deliveries, as well as poor customer service. Peloton has noted on their website that deliveries can take anywhere between six to over 10 weeks.
Fitness equipment has become the latest sought-after commodity. Retailers' supply chains are struggling due to the locations of their manufacturing facilities as well as the drive in consumer demand. The shortages have caused price markups and severe difficulty for consumers to obtain these items. Going forward, it would not be surprising if some of these equipment retailers look to move some of their manufacturing operations closer to or in the United States.