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How Can Sporting Goods Franchise Owners Capitalize on Home Fitness Industry Growth?

The coronavirus pandemic forced people to rethink their fitness routines and motivated people to re-create a gym or studio environment at home – a trend that's expected to continue into 2021 and the foreseeable future.

Recent research projects the home gym equipment market to grow at a compound annualized rate of 9 percent between 2019 and 2025. It’s a sign that many of the habits consumers formed during the pandemic are likely to remain.

At the same time, millions of Americans are facing economic challenges, forcing many to make their dollar stretch further. Sporting goods resale franchises like Play It Again Sports® are in a strong position to not only help consumers find in-demand products but also offer quality used fitness equipment at a lower price point compared to traditional retailers.

How Have Fitness Habits Changed?

The response to the coronavirus pandemic has been stark. As many gyms and fitness centers have had to shut their doors to the public, consumers have adapted to remain active wherever and whenever they can.

Instead of resigning themselves to a more sedentary work-from-home lifestyle, many consumers took to digital channels and streaming services to access content that would help them maintain their fitness routines. According to research from Comscore, there was a 147 percent increase in fitness-oriented video-on-demand streaming content in March 2020 – more than double than the next category, which was “Life and Home.”

For many, gyms and fitness centers are not only part of their physical fitness routine but also their social and mental health. To meet that demand, a growing number of gyms and fitness studios have developed streaming services that allow members to stay connected with professional trainers and their fellow members.

People have also spent the past year recreating the gym environment in the comfort of their own homes.

What Have Consumers Been Buying?

Even before the pandemic, the home fitness segment had been growing. Data from The NPD Group showed that consumer spending on home fitness products in the U.S. rose 2 percent year-over-year in February 2020 – reaching $2 billion in sales.

However, the sales trajectories took off in March and into October. Citing data from The NPD Group, a Washington Post article reported revenue from the sale of home and fitness equipment more than doubled, hitting $2.3 billion.

One of the leading categories is cardiovascular equipment. For example, treadmills have attained widespread adoption as an at-home fitness fixture for decades now. In conjunction with virtual training and remote group training through digital devices, demand for these products has skyrocketed. Sales for treadmills rose 135 percent and stationary bikes tripled. Sales of rowers jumped 31 percent in April 2020, The NPD Group found.

Meanwhile, there has been renewed interest in strength training equipment, such as kettlebells, dumbbells, free weights and others. A Play It Again Sports franchisee in Eugene, Oregon saw roughly 90 percent of his free weight fly off the shelves by the end of March last year.

In cold weather climates, there’s also been increased demand for cross-country skis, snowshoes and other outdoor gear – helping people cope with cabin fever and get outside to stay active.

What Role Do Play it Again Sports Franchises Play?

As the #1 sporting goods resale franchise, Play It Again Sports is dedicated to helping people in communities across the country stay healthy and active at a price they can afford.

Cardio equipment, sports gear and other fitness products often carry a heavy cost that prohibits consumers from creating an at-home environment where they can develop and maintain an exercise routine. Franchisees are able to offer discounts of between 40 and 90 percent off the retail price for quality used sports and fitness gear.

Meanwhile, Play It Again Sports’ buy-and-sell resale business model empowers consumers to bring in their quality used goods and sell them for cash on the spot. They can then turn around and apply that money to the purchase of other gear. It’s a mutually beneficial system that helps consumers get the most out of their used sporting goods and make their money stretch further.

Are you interested in learning about how you can bring a Play It Again Sports into your community? Find out more about franchise opportunities with Winmark by downloading our free Play It Again Sports franchise report here.