But for those with more gumption, and perhaps fewer spawn and correspondingly more free time, the pandemic has been a chance to shift the workout from the gym to the living room. With gyms closed and personal trainers barred from in-person interactions with most of their clients these last few months, what has the fitness-crazed American public done? Bought a heck of a lot of home gym equipment, for starters.
A new report prepared on behalf of auction site eBay.com collates data from around the online retail world to help put some numbers to the trend. One of the top-line results? Between March and April of this year, online sales of fitness equipment increased up to 20 times in some categories compared to the same timeframe last year.
"Comparing March and April sales in 2019 for dumbbells with sales during the same period in 2020 we can see an increase of 1980% according to eBay sales data; meanwhile weight plate sales have increased by 1355% in the same period too."
While interest in gym memberships decreases overall across the country, the demand for online sessions from personal trainers has increased. During a recent stay with my in-laws (after months of quarantine, the kids -- to say nothing of my wife and I -- needed some grandparent time), I was impressed to see my mother-in-law taking an online yoga course, webcam and all. According to the CEO of fitness session bookers Gymcatch: "We've seen an increase of 2000% in online bookings since the lockdown was introduced compared to the same period in 2019. It's an incredible increase and one that proves the world is staying on top of health."
So how, exactly, are Americans spending their workout time? The equipment they're buying offers a revealing look.
Most in-demand fitness equipment in US during lockdown Equipment Sales Increase 2019 v 2020 Dumbbells 1980% Weight Plates 1355% Kettlebells 1000% Pull Up Bar 640% Benches 530% Barbells & Attachments 355% Power Racks & Smith Machines 315% Equipment Mats & Flooring 300% Weight Storage 285% Push Up Stands 200%
The amount we're spending, according to the eBay.com data, is also increasing. Customers are now spending $110 on 75% more purchases than before.
This may not be particularly surprising. People -- at least people without kids -- have a lot more time now that many aren't commuting. Health has never been more front and center in popular culture. All of that, it seems, translates into a lot of commerce.