With adjustable dumbbells, skipping ropes, and yoga blocks flying off the shelves, the home fitness equipment market continues to be strong in 2021
In the summer of 2020, partners Rhea and Raunaq Singh Anand watched their friends and family immerse themselves in a newfound rigor of daily training. Behind the hectic endeavor was the belief that your body’s chances of contracting COVID are better than you meant to be.
They decided to make room in their Delhi home and build a gym. It was then that a business idea was taking shape. Less than a year later, the partners launched Flexnest, one of the first Indian fitness brands to sell 12 key products for home use only.
Rhea and Raunaq discovered that home gymnastics was all the rage in June 2020 when we believed the cure was just a magical vaccine away. The big picture, however, is that home exercise is becoming a lifestyle for many. Gyms may be back in business, but that doesn’t rule out the booming market for home fitness equipment. Even US President Joe Biden reportedly doesn’t want to give up his virtual lessons on his Peloton bike when he moves into his new home, and he’s 78 years old.
“Our goal is to make everything you could ever need for a complete home workout,” says Rhea. “We’re working with a design team from Germany to develop unique products that range from smart dumbbells, kettlebells, yoga mats to interlocking fitness tiles that fit anywhere in your home.” The specialty is space-saving, adjustable devices like dumbbells you simply switch on with a rotary knob and they can carry a weight of 2.5 to 24 kilograms.
While the brand is Pan-Indian, it is also in contact with fitness influencers in New York and Paris to keep an eye on the local diaspora market. Finally, there was a surge in fitness influencers like Chloe Ting and MadFit in India as well.
Dumbbells from Flexnest
Home high ground
Given the demand for fitness equipment, Amazon announced an ongoing fitness festival in the last week of December 2020 with significant discounts on equipment, trackers, clothing and more. “The sellers on Amazon.in have seen a significant increase in demand for products in the health and fitness category,” said an Amazon representative.
The e-commerce platform points out its search trends: “treadmills” have increased 1.5 times, “home gyms” 1.3 times and “weights” 1.2 times. Other sub-categories such as exercise equipment, fitness bikes, yoga, and activity trackers also enjoyed considerable acceptance, according to the company.
Sohrabs must-haves for beginners
- Sohrab Khushrushahi’s Academy SOHFIT is a coach for celebrities like Alia Bhat and offers virtual personalized training programs, bootcamps and challenges for friends. From his experience with online coaching, he says: “Beginners need equipment that offers enough variety to combine. Your equipment should be durable and not take up too much space. You don’t have to build an entire home gym, start with the basics and move on to more sophisticated equipment. “
- Skipping rope:
- It’s the best form of cardio when you can’t run.
- Dumbbells or kettlebells:
- Either is fine, you can buy a few different weights: heavier for the lower body and lighter for the upper body. If you don’t have access to it, resistance bands will work too.
- A plyo box or a sturdy bench:
- You can use it to do box jumps, step ups, chest presses, and more.
“It’s not like every other year that we see a bunch of fitness enthusiasts looking for memberships at the gym in January. People are aware that they are putting themselves and their families at risk by going to public classes. There are also restrictions on social distancing and wearing a mask during exercise in the gym, ”said Prachi Bhargava, spokesman for Decathlon.
The sports retail brand says fitness equipment accounted for nearly a third of its total sales for 2020, and nearly 80% of those sales came from indoor exercise enthusiasts – “mostly rowing machines (growing 315%) and self-powered Elliptical Trainer (grew 195%) ”.
The fitness center, Cure.Fit, focused on online classes and held 5,000,000 sessions a day with over 1,00,000 subscribers (they have now started reopening their physical rooms). “Our trainers and the app specifically indicate which equipment is required for a particular class,” says Tshering Wangdi Yolmo, Business Lead at CultSport, the training arm. “Our TPE yoga mat with stand marking was sold out within a week of its introduction. We’ll bring it back in February, ”he says. “Free weights (dumbbells, kettlebells), yoga accessories (mats, blocks, straps) and resistance bands do very well.”
The year in fitness
Given the investments people have made in equipment, COVID that is still on everyone’s lips, and the educators and trainees now used to an online format, it is likely that home training will continue in 2021 will stay here. Personal training online is cheaper for those looking for a trainer, commute time is reduced, and people have created a space to train at home.
- Gender bender
- Yoga straps and blocks are more popular with female customers compared to men, while free weights (5kg and more) are more popular with men at CultSport.
- Growth spurt
- Skipping ropes saw a 300% growth in newbies, while Decathlon saw over 250% growth in 50-kilogram weight kits.
- Age weight
- Users aged 35 to 50 mostly buy indoor cardio equipment from the Decathlon.
Then there is social media. With all of the online gamers, fitness influencers faced challenges, from Kitty Kalra’s one-minute squat for 14 days to Sohrab Khushrushahi’s 21-day (and his current 40-day).
The sporting goods retailer Grand Slam Fitness recorded maximum leads through July 2020. The top keyword search was “motorized treadmill”. However, there has been a significant drop in monthly leads via the IndiaMart ecommerce website. Grand Slam director Prateek Sood said in a press release that this could be because the gyms have resumed.
It could also mean that the future of fitness at home lies in smaller machines that can be easily tucked away. When parks and streets are open, cardio can be done outdoors, while strength and flexibility training is done at home. “All we can say is that it’s too early to predict consumer behavior and the trends ahead,” says Sood in a world where uncertainty was accepted as part of life.