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What brands should know about the fitness ecommerce boom

Posted by Jing Li on Monday, Sep 7, 2020

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In this article, we will take a look into Red Points’ fitness equipment market research, as well as analyzing consumers’ new shopping habits and ecommerce trends.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s lives in many ways. Apart from the economic crash and drastic lifestyle changes, it has impacted our day to day habits too. As many gyms were closed during the quarantine and people were locked down at home, many started working out from home as an alternative. 

A recent study from Mckinsey shows that 27% of U.S. citizens are increasing their exercising time at home. The online business for fitness products is booming as a result. Decathlon even stated that “Ecommerce has taken a massive lead in the last three months growing from a business share of 5% pre-COVID to 22-25% now.”

So it’s clear that the ecommerce boom in the fitness industry is here to stay. Red Points conducted some research in August 2020 among 1,000 U.S. consumers who purchased fitness goods online in the past 3 months, in other words, consumers who shopped online since the start of the pandemic. The participants were also grouped by regions across the U.S., gender and age.

Summary:

  • The rise of home gym leads to a boom in the fitness ecommerce industry 
  • Social media is becoming more prominent as an ecommerce channel
  • Consumers care about product quality and therefore think brands should be responsible for it

Home gym is here to stay

Tutorial videos on Youtube, workout apps, and home gym equipment will always have a special place in the heart of many fitness enthusiasts. Due to the recent pandemic, many people who used to go to the gym were locked down at home, or stopped going. In the past couple of months, these people have also started working out from home. 

In fact, our research shows that 50.65% of the participants are planning on working out from home during the rest of 2020. This will lead to a growing demand for fitness products, especially fitness equipment, since consumers will need to have them home, instead of going to the gym and sharing the equipment with others.

Consumers’ investments are thus influenced by their new workout routine: the average spend of people investing in fitness products has seen an increase of $265.68 since the start of the pandemic. Some participants (5%) have even spent more than $1,001 in fitness products.

Quality and affordability attract consumers the most

When asked what’s the most important factors when buying fitness equipment online, it’s no surprise that consumers value quality the most (53.6%), followed by affordability (48.5%) and design (44.7%). As for their go-to product categories, consumers have chosen fitness apparel & accessories (50.2%), workout devices (50%) and yoga and flexing accessories (49%).

[Market Research] The rise of fitness ecommerce

Social media and influencers have a strong impact on the fitness industry

Consumers have access to many channels for new product discovery and search. Unlike many other industries, consumers tend to rely more on word of mouth when it comes to fitness products. If we take a look at the data, social media is the most used tool (60.3%) for consumers to conduct product research, followed by online influencers (50.4%) and marketplaces (42.4%). 

It’s been a pivoting year for online shopping. As many ecommerce platforms ramp up their efforts, many social media platforms have also facilitated brands to sell on their sites. Facebook recently introduced Facebook Shops, and Walmart has expanded its marketplace. It’s worth noting that consumers’ shopping habits have also evolved when it comes to where they are most likely to buy fitness products from. The majority of consumers chose to buy from traditional marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, etc (36%), while social media is taking the second place (29.1%), exceeding the brand's official website at the third place (24.7%). 

What’s concerning is that most shoppers rely on reviews to determine product authenticity (55%), and bad guys are even making business out of it: they often provide fake reviews on platforms like Amazon. This means that if your own product page has negative reviews, it’s very likely that it will sway buyers’ decision and not purchase from that page.

Consumers are blaming brands for letting fakes into the market

Counterfeiters are everywhere, however the counterfeit fitness industry is among one of the world’s most lucrative industries for bad actors. That’s worrying not only because letting fakes leak into the market can mean serious damage to brand reputation, but also there are many products that can harm consumers like fake climbing gear. Our research shows that about half of the consumers have bought fake fitness products, this comes as a big warning sign for the fitness brands selling online.

As mentioned before, the fitness industry scores a big market share on social media. On the other hand, our data also shows that social media is the channel where most of the counterfeits were purchased. So if a brand’s revenue relies heavily on social media, having counterfeiters on the same platform indicates that it’s very likely they are stealing sales from them.

Because the quality of counterfeit products can’t be compared with the original ones, and since quality is the number one factor that consumers care about, we can imagine the frustration when seeing the products they ordered aren’t performing. When asking about their reaction if they unknowingly bought a fake fitness product, the majority of respondents said that they would complain to the original brand (27%), others would write a bad review about the brand (25%) and ask for a refund (22%). 

Conclusion

Counterfeits can harm brands and consumers in numerous ways. Letting fake products enter the market unchallenged could mean serious damage to brand reputation, product uniqueness, revenue and IP efforts. Brands need to protect themselves from online infringements, whether they are sold from impersonated social media accounts, or counterfeiters’ sites. Red Points offers free brand audits to support your business at scale, and provide customized brand protection solutions to tackle the problems at the source.

To get more insights and pro-tips on how to stand out in the ecommerce boom, download Red Points’ Fitness equipment Market Research.

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About the author

Jing Li

Post Written by Jing Li

Jing is a marketing assistant at Red Points, she's passionate about content marketing, and loves writing engaging content. She's fond of all things around ecommerce, new social media trends and Indie music. Jing graduated from the Autonomous University of Barcelona with a master degree in Strategic Planning in Advertising and Public Relations.