Peloton isn’t the only connected fitness D2C company benefitting from the stay-at-home orders related to the pandemic. Nautilus and ICON Health & Fitness have also found new demand for their products as going to the gym falls victim to stay-at-home orders.
Nautilus, in particular, received a lifeline during the first quarter of the year, logging its first profitable quarter in two years. Net sales were $93.7 million, up 11.0 percent compared to 2019, driven particularly by its Bowflex and SelectTech weight training systems as well as its new line of connected-fitness bikes. However, the same question that was placed to Peloton when it announced its record-setting quarter a week ago: Is the momentum sustainable?
“As we enter the second quarter and prepare for the remainder of 2020, we know we will be navigating a rapidly changing environment,” said Nautilus Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jim Barr. “We experienced the ripple effects of the supply chain disruption caused by COVID-19 early in the first quarter and then experienced a strong spike in demand across the product portfolio as the virus hit world-wide. Although we’ve expanded production in response to continued strong demand, we carry over a significant level of back-orders into the second quarter and believe we may not be fully caught up until the beginning of the third quarter.”
Barr noted that the commercial side of the company’s business, Octane Fitness, was down considerably as gym closures hurt results and could continue to do so.
NordicTrack has also taken advantage of the connected fitness boom. Parent company ICON Health & Fitness reported that sales have risen more than 600 percent year to date through April 30.
The Logan, Utah-based company also oversees iFit, a connected fitness software platform. The company says it “saw the potential wave of sales when we saw significant increases in iFit subscriber usage from two countries that were already on lockdown a couple weeks ago: China, 300%-plus increase, and Italy, 250% increase in iFit usage,” a spokesperson said. “Now we are seeing spiking iFit streaming workout usage in New York, Washington and California, all big population areas under lockdown.”
Online sales of fitness equipment spiked 55 percent in a five-day period ending March 15 compared to sales earlier in the month as the lockdown orders took hold, according to data from Adobe Analytics. Last year, eCommerce of fitness equipment rose 70 percent from February to March. This year sales increased 535 percent during the same period, according to Adobe.
“The facet of community has been added in as a variable to exercise with the video and live aspects of teaching adding significantly more than maybe we expected before,” says Michael Gale, writing in Forbes. “It had allowed us more than ever before to build a new channel to share emotions and feelings and having the chance to help others. The engine to drive a repeat or continuation of this process are now permanently stamped on our minds.”