The Rise of the Home-Gym Loyalist, and Other Fitness Retail Trends for 2023

When it comes to fitness, the pandemic may have fundamentally changed consumer behavior. Let's see how the rise of the home-gym loyalist is reshaping everything.

As we get into the full swing of Spring '23, it's clear that the world of fitness has become increasingly important to many consumers. The events of the past few years have highlighted the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, protecting our immune systems, and keeping our bodies in top shape. With this in mind, the fitness industry has experienced a significant surge in sales, as people look to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

And the numbers back up it up. According to Allied Market Research, the outdoor fitness equipment market is projected to grow from $1.5 billion in 2020 to $1.8 billion by 2030. Other research projects a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of over 5% in the same time span.

So how can your fitness brand earn a greater piece of this growing fitness pie? Let’s examine some of the strongest trends in the industry and how your retail stores can ride these waves to higher profits in 2023.

Strong Home Gyms Sales

During the pandemic, the fitness industry saw a surge in home gym related sales. While that has cooled as the world (and the gyms in them) have opened up again, many gym rats have made a permanent switch to becoming home-gym loyalists as sales continue to remain strong. This is evident when seeing the decline of gym, health, and fitness clubs in the US, with a negative growth of 6.7%.

One way to take advantage of this continued trend is to expand your home gym equipment offerings. Retail brands can attract customers by offering a wide range of home gym equipment options including everything from basic workout gear like resistance bands and dumbbells, to larger equipment like treadmills and exercise bikes, as well as recovery equipment such as massage guns. By providing a range of options, retail brands can cater to customers with different budgets and fitness goals, and attract a wider customer base.

Also, as the demand for virtual fitness experiences continues to grow, retail brands can leverage digital channels to reach new customers and increase sales. This can include a more interactive online store, offering virtual fitness classes, and partnering with social media influencers to promote products. NordicTrack, for example, has leveraged digital channels by offering online coaching and personalized fitness plans, as well as virtual classes through its iFit platform. This has helped the brand attract a wider customer base and increase sales of its home gym equipment.

Continued Sales of Athleisure & Fitness Apparel

Looks like comfy sweatpants and yoga leggings are here to stay as the US athleisure market continues to grow at a 8.1% CAGR. Retail brands already in athleisure are continuing to see strong sales, but also more competition as new brands enter the scene and legacy apparel brands also get into fitness clothing.

Staying ahead of the competition in athleisure all comes down to brand loyalty. Consumers of these products tend to stick with brands they are familiar with, since they know what to expect when it comes to fit, style, and durability.

Your retail stores should focus on clienteling in order to endear your brand and products to your audience; delivering a personal, intimate shopping experience. Lululemon built their empire on this concept by providing a robust community experience wherever they have store locations. Nike, alternately, focuses on delivering both quality and status in the sports world to their audience. This has helped them win over a quarter of activewear sales in China, showcasing that they have the ability to appeal to a global audience.

Elevate your audience interaction with meetups and events at your retail locations. Or be vocal about a cause that is central to your brand and consumers, such as environmentally sourced athletic products. In fact, “athletic apparel arrivals described as “recycled” were up 642% for men and 388% for women.”

Fitness Beyond Just Muscles

Fitness isn’t just for fitness retailers anymore. Due to the pandemic, people have learned the importance of training both the mind and body. The trend is a holistic approach to health and fitness, with emphasis being put on eating right, meditation, calmness, and mental health breaks.

This opens up the world of fitness sales to more than just fitness retailers. Consumers are looking for products and experiences such as the Mind Body Project that fuses meditation with physical exercise.

Savvy retailers can take advantage of this trend by bundling or repurposing products to fit this new holistic health mentality. Candles, health food, music, art; the possibilities are endless, and your team can curate the right products for the right segment of your audience by examining their past purchase history, as well as their browsing history from your online store.

Leverage this data to showcase a selection of products that might entice shoppers into your retail locations. Research shows that athletic apparel shoppers are 44% more likely to shop in-store, so the right email or SMS promotion can be effective ways to increase foot traffic to your brick & mortar locations.

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