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Coronavirus: Exercise equipment sales spike 5,800% as Brits question returning to the gym

Brits are buying. (Elena Kloppenburg/Unsplash)
Brits are buying weights for at-home workouts instead of going to the gym. Photo: Elena Kloppenburg/Unsplash

Despite gyms beginning to reopen in the UK, it seems Brits are debating how confident they are in returning. Thousands have cancelled gym memberships and exercise equipment sales have skyrocketed.

Home gym equipment sales have spiked by a massive 5813% since the UK went into lockdown on 23 March, according to research by price comparison site Idealo.

Trainer purchases were the most popular on-site product category over the past four months, the data also showed.

The enormity of the shift to home workouts has been reflected in the follower and audience numbers of those who provide free online sessions.

Instagram home workout provider Courtney Black has seen a 131% in followers since March, with some Instagram TV posts viewed over 275,000 times.

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Meanwhile, YouTuber Joe Wicks, who is famous for his beginner classes, set a new record with almost one million people tuning in for his live 9am workout classes during lockdown.

Meanwhile, Brits have been cancelling their gym memberships en masse. One gym said it has lost 178,000 customers, representing a third of its members, over three months.

They’ve instead turned to alternate ways to get their heart rate up — the most popular way being steppers, with sales up 6,500% since March.

This is followed by weight benches (up 4,130%), exercise bikes, at a 2,113% increase, and cross trainers, at 815%.

In July 2020 so far, gym weights have already sold more than in the whole of 2019 combined.

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Brits have been ordering squat stands, home rigs, foam rollers, sit-up bars and resistance bands tenfold, the data shows.

Others have turned to meditation and relaxation, with purchases of yoga and pilates accessories up 1,269%.

Meanwhile, massagers — a good way to relax the muscles and provide post-workout comfort — are up 236%.

Top 10 most popular home gym equipment purchases:

  1. Steppers (+6,500%)

  2. Weight benches (+4,130%)

  3. Exercise bikes (+2,113%)

  4. Weights (+1,743%)

  5. Yoga and pilates equipment (+1,269%)

  6. Gym accessories (+1,048%)

  7. Cross trainers (+815%)

  8. Treadmills (+549%)

  9. Rowing machine (+300%)

  10. Scales (+125%)

“With hundreds of pieces of equipment available to create your own tailored work out at home, it’s no surprise that so many have been cancelling memberships,” said Katy Phillips from Idealo.

“From pull-up bands to kettlebells and yoga balls, our data has shown the ease of personalising your own exercise schedule at home without having to leave your house. We think this will be a trend to stay as people look at ways they can cut back their monthly outgoings for the rest of the year.”