Gyms move into homes

Spends on home fitness equipment have risen since the pandemic

Analysts say, fitness equipment will continue to be bought offline given that these are big-ticket products and touch-and-feel is an important aspect
Analysts say, fitness equipment will continue to be bought offline given that these are big-ticket products and touch-and-feel is an important aspect

The home fitness equipment category has registered growth in the past year. According to Grand View Research, this market grew to Rs 570 crore in FY21, from Rs 329 crore in FY19, as gyms shut down and awareness about fitness and health peaked during the pandemic. This segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.7% till FY25.

Much of this growth came from the online channel — online sales contributed 55% to this market, up from 45% in FY20. Companies such as Lifelong, OneFitPlus and Boldfit launched in-home integrated fitness products. The past year also saw new entrants in the home fitness equipment space, such as Fittyfy from home appliances company Inalsa, Tread (now and Delhi-based Flexnest.

All-in-one fitness

Lifelong, a digital-first consumer durable brand, has seen its at-home fitness segment grow more than twofold since last year, through sales from marketplaces and its direct-to-consumer channel. Bharat Kalia, CEO and co-founder, Lifelong India, says the growth in the home fitness equipment market has been led by treadmills, exercise bikes, and dumbbell sets, since June, 2020. In tune with the demand, the company launched combos of fitness equipment such as dumbbells with varying weights, rods, weight bars, gym accessories, etc, in the Rs 1,300-2,000 price range.

The past year saw companies launch connected fitness equipment — ones that can be connected to a TV, tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth. Mohit Mathur, co-founder and CEO, OneFitPlus, says, “Our focus is on providing tech-savvy equipment along with services like workout sessions, personal trainers, and dieticians free of cost to fulfill all fitness-related needs.” Consumers can check their workout speed, interact with other fitness enthusiasts, or play games with peers via the OneFitPlus application.

Flexnest, a fitness technology start-up founded early this year, launched Flexbike, a Bluetooth-enabled smart exercise bike in May, 2021. Through its app, users have access to on-demand classes, workout videos, virtual competitions and skilled instructors.

These high-end, high-tech products, Mathur says, are seeing high uptake. Since last year, OneFitPlus has expanded to 27,000 pin codes, from 15,000. Technology and gamification, he believes, will be a “gamechanger for the overall fitness market”.

Fitness accessories, too, have been in demand. Boldfit, a health and fitness company started in 2019, has expanded its range of yoga mats, resistance bands and tubes, foam rollers, tummy trimmers, etc. “Business from online marketplaces has grown almost seven-times since last year,” says Pallav Bihani, founder and CEO, Boldfit.

Flexnest, says Raunaq Singh Anand, its co-founder, primarily sells via Amazon and its D2C channel. But it has set up a store in Gurugram and in New Delhi’s Select City Walk mall for consumers to experience the products.

Tech muscle

Although home workouts are catching up, the high cost of ownership of equipment is a big deterrent. The average price range of elliptical bikes and treadmills is Rs 15,000-35,000. “People prefer affordable refurbished or second-hand products to save money,” says Pranav Deshpande, research analyst, Grand View Research.

As tech-savvy connected equipment is expensive, Karan Chechi, director, TechSci Research, says, companies could focus on launching machines that enable multiple exercises or combos at affordable prices. Life Fitness India and Technogym have done so with Fit 3 Multi-Gym and Unica, respectively, that allow users to do multiple workouts within a confined space. Further, wireless connectivity and technological upgradation are key trends in the home fitness equipment market, analysts say.

Even though restrictions during the lockdowns pushed people towards online channels, analysts say, fitness equipment will continue to be bought offline given that these are big-ticket products and touch-and-feel is an important aspect.

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