SGMA shows fitness growth in 2005, more to come in 2006

In its annual State of the Industry report, the SGMA reported that fitness equipment experienced an increase in sales of 6 percent, reaching $4 billion wholesale for 2005. In addition, 80 percent of sales were for the home market. Those numbers are part of the overall $55.7 billion value of the sporting goods segment, up from $52.5 billion in 2004.
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In its annual State of the Industry report, the SGMA reported that fitness equipment experienced an increase in sales of 6 percent, reaching $4 billion wholesale for 2005. In addition, 80 percent of sales were for the home market. Those numbers are part of the overall $55.7 billion value of the sporting goods segment, up from $52.5 billion in 2004.

The growth seen in 2005 in the fitness segment was indicative overall of 6.8 percent overall increase in the sporting goods market — the best in a decade, reported SGMA President Tom Cove. In fact, the SGMA is predicting the momentum will continue in 2006 and is estimating growth between 6 percent and 7 percent, with fitness and tennis being two areas that will lead the way. The forecast is for the market value to reach $59.5 billion in wholesale dollars in 2006.

"Our sector has performed admirably," said Cove at a luncheon meeting at The Super Show in late January where the numbers were reported. "There is no reason to think it won't in the future."

Fitness is in fact one of a few bright spots, the SGMA said, since participation in other areas of sports and outdoor activities have remained stable, while fitness and exercise participation is growing. Cove said there are several reasons, including the obesity epidemic, the aging of Baby Boomers, and the increasing importance of home fitness and a personal fitness space to the population.

These trends "are selling products," Cove said. "People are investing in things that are important to their space."  

In specific categories, cardiovascular is still leading, and treadmills continue to dominate that arena. But sales of strength-training equipment are also growing.

"We see this as a unique moment in time when it comes to fitness," Cove said. "Fitness is not a luxury anymore. There is a tremendous opportunity for growth.

"If you can speak to that need, there'll be a place for you," he added, speaking directly to the suppliers, manufacturers and retailers in the room.

Fitness was named as the catalyst for all the growth in the industry, even in other areas since you have to be fit or get fit to participate in other activities, Cove said.

"Fitness is the answer," he said, "and it's where entertainment mixes with activity. We think the positive impact on other sporting goods sectors is serious."

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