Echelon Fitness, Spirit Fitness and Body Flex Sports are among the brands the home improvement behemoth is stocking.
As it tries to continue its revenue growth in an uncertain era, home improvement behemoth Lowe’s is adding at-home exercise equipment to its online and in-store catalogues.
Many of Lowe’s 2,200 stores will sell products from Echelon Fitness, Spirit Fitness, Body Flex Sports, Paradigm Health & Wellness and ProSource Fitness. Some stores will have supplies of stationary bikes, “smart” rowing machines, treadmills and elliptical machines — fitting them somewhere around the washing machines, flooring material and that aisle with a vast display of doorknobs that handymen and women know so well.
The additions make up a part of a larger strategy — timed for the start of the holding season and the annual slowdown of home improvement projects — of expanding the big-box chain’s offerings of products that can blend into stay-at-home lifestyles, including vinyl record players, air hockey tables, movie projectors and Ninja air fryers.
“Our marketing and merchandising teams worked hand in hand,” a Lowe’s spokesperson told Athletech, “as the marketing team has continued to look at where the customer is leading us, and merchandising has worked to source the products needed to bring the products to life in-store and online. We know our customers are looking for gifts that unlock at-home experiences and entertainment, like new home gym equipment.”
Grabbing for a piece of this pie is understandable, as the home fitness industry will grow exponentially over the next several years, as digital fitness instruction offerings increase and health habits are remolded by the pandemic
Lowe’s has experienced robust growth in 2020. In its second quarter of the year, encompassing parts of the lockdown and reopening periods of the pandemic in the U.S., the North Carolina-based chain reported net earnings of $2.8 billion. Spring is usually the peak time for home projects, but the company’s second-quarter 2020 earnings show a 40-percent increase over its second-quarter 2019 earnings of $1.7 billion.
As they spent more time at home, people invested in making their living spaces a more comfortable place or sought a productive at-home distraction in the unsettling era. They also “shift[ed] away from other discretionary spending,” in the words of the Lowe’s shareholder report, as travel and in-person entertainment options dwindle. Competitor Home Depot is also posting sizable revenue increases.
Before the pandemic, Lowe’s had been increasing its stock of home items outside the realm of tools and materials for DIY renovators. Last year, the chain added mattresses and some workout machines. The company was also already considering adding more fitness items.
News of promising vaccine trial results caused jolts to the stocks of Lowe’s, Home Depot and other home improvement retailers, and some analysts predict that investment will diminish in the midst of anxiety of an uncertain future, rather be filtered into businesses to better fit to weather an extensive time of pandemic fears. This gives even more incentive for companies that have benefited positively from the behavioral and spending changes brought by during COIVD-19 to diversify their offerings.
Nick Keppler is a freelance journalist, writer and editor. He enjoys writing the difficult stories, the ones that make him pore over studies, talk about subjects that make people uncomfortable, and explain concepts that have taken years to develop. Nick has written extensively about psychology, healthcare, and public policy for national publications and for those locally- based in Pittsburgh. In addition to Athletech News, Nick has written for The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Vice, Slate, Reuters, CityLab, Men’s Health, The Gizmodo Media Group, The Financial Times, Mental Floss, The Village Voice and AlterNet. His journalistic heroes include Jon Ronson, Jon Krakauer and Norah Vincent.