Megan Thompson works out on her exercise bike at home in New York City.
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Julia Yuryev still hasn’t caved and purchased a Peloton Bike, but the 38-year-old public relations professional is actively considering it.
Yuryev said she enjoys taking group classes at her local fitness studio. But since it has reopened, she doesn’t feel like the selection is enough. She said she may consider splurging on an at-home gym for her Los Angeles apartment, as many of her friends have already done.
“At-home fitness is still a consideration for me,” Yuryev said. “The yoga studio [near me] is only offering certain classes with such limited capacity. They’re scaled back … so not all the variety is there now because of the rules and the labor shortages.”
Those in Yuryev’s situation are increasingly opting for a hybrid approach. That could come as a surprise for some investors who bet that consumer fitness options were an either-or choice. Either consumers would break a sweat at home, as they had during the pandemic. Or they would revisit the gym once they received their Covid-19 vaccinations.
The stocks of Peloton and Planet Fitness reflect this thinking. Last year, Peloton shares surged more than 440%, while Planet Fitness’ stock eked out a 4% gain. This year, Peloton shares are down 36% to date, while Planet Fitness is up about 2%.
Visits to gyms on the rebound
While demand for home fitness equipment has slowed from 2020’s frantic pace, it is still growing. Sales in the United States surged 85% from 2019 levels to reach $3.7 billion last year, according to the NPD Group. Through August of this year, fitness equipment sales are up 20% from last year, and up 108% on a two-year basis, the market research firm said.
NPD Group was unable to offer a forecast for the category, but analyst Matt Powell said he expects the market to remain strong as people seek out activities to stay in shape. Sales typically ramp up again in January, he said.
Foot traffic to fitness centers, meanwhile, is on the mend. Visits were only down about 8% in early October compared with the same period in 2019, according to a tracking by Jefferies. Membership at gym chains LA Fitness and The Edge Fitness Clubs bounced back the fastest from pandemic lows, Jefferies said, followed by Crunch Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness. Mark Wahlberg-backed F45 Training is the biggest laggard, it said.
A customer wears a face mask as they lift weights …….