Interbike Blog

Fitness Industry Outlook – Working together in 2012 and beyond

From our fitness industry trade show, the Health+Fitness Business Expo, we’ll be running period posts on that industry and on topics of interest to that segment by our new fitness industry ambassador, Therese Iknoian. This content will be of interest to bike retailers as well as pure fitness stores since so many of them sell fitness alongside the bikes. In fact, more than 25% of Interbike attendees also sell fitness gear in their stores. Here’s the first of these regular articles:

Health+Fitness BusinessFor the specialty fitness industry, the good news has been that there weren’t as many large implosions among retailers in the last year with fewer turning off the lights for good. A few, in fact, have found ways to add a few doors and are looking at ways to work not only with their communities better but also work with each other.

That could be considered an unofficial theme of this year’s Health+Fitness Business Expo: working together. Working together and expanding visions will float all boats a little higher.

The recently released participation report by the Physical Activity Council (a partnership of six major trade organizations representing fitness, leisure and outdoor) had good news and bad news for the fitness industry in its quest to regain strength. In summary:

  • The number of inactive Americans overall remains high, climbing again in 2011 to more than 68 million. That means there are still millions of people for the industry to reach – indeed plenty for everybody, underscoring the need to work together.
  • The number of children (ages 6-12) who participated in regular activity rose, although the number of adolescents (ages 13-17) remained flat. This speaks to millions of youth who will need now to learn a love of physical activity they can carry with them for life. The youth market is not to be ignored.

Everybody is interested in dollars so where was that, per the report? Spending was flat in 2011 vs. 2010, from equipment to club dues. A glimmer of hope showed that some plan to spend more in 2012. Even if that spending is on something other than large pieces of equipment, the door has been opened a crack.

  • As a retailer, your job is to get them in the door for a yoga mat or stability ball, and then show them how good you are at customer service and how on top of the trends you are. Make yourself a place they want to go to see what’s new and chat with somebody who can recommend ways to put a spark in their program no matter what level.
  • As a manufacturer, it’s your turn to talk to retailers about what they can do to work with the community, other types of retailers and businesses, yoga studios or health clubs to increase awareness.

And, not to spur competition or anything, but this is opportunity knocking at the door. Per this report, the top 10 inactive states are, in order: Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee, New York, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. And, the top 10 active states, again in order, are: Utah, Idaho, New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, Oregon and Illinois.

Working with the HFB show as an ambassador to the industry, I’d like to hear from you in the industry at any time. Ideas? Suggestions? Frustrations? Curiosity? Just want to chat? Drop a note or give a ring. I’m here.

Reach me at

Posted In: Fitness

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