Department stores – most notably Sears – have increased their share of sales of the three most popular pieces of home exercise equipment. An analysis of data contained in NSGA’s “Sporting Goods Market” reports shows department stores have increased their share dramatically in the last five years.

Sales of treadmills, the top-selling piece of home exercise equipment for several years, are dominated by department stores, and that dominance is growing. The percentage of total unit sales of treadmills from 1998 to 2003 grew from 38.0% to 54.1%, while dollar share increased from 41.4% in 1998 to 50.6% in 2003.

Department store growth was primarily at the expense of discount stores. In the treadmill category, discount store sales dropped from 13.7% to 7.3% in units and 7.9% to 4.4% in dollars.

Specialty fitness stores and full-line sporting goods stores experienced modest declines. Specialty fitness stores saw their share of unit sales slip from 6.3% to 6.2%, while their dollar share fell from 16.4% to 13.5%. Full-line sporting goods stores’ share of unit sales dropped from 15.1% to 15.0%, while dollar share slipped from 19.4% to 14.8%.

A similar pattern is evident in sales of multi-purpose home gyms, where department stores showed double-digit growth in unit sales (15.6% to 24.0%) and an even greater increase in dollar sales (15.3% to 27.7%).

Again, discount stores suffered, declining from 20.8% of share in units in 1998 to 7.3% in 2003. Dollar share also dropped sharply, 16.3% to 4.4%.

Specialty fitness stores showed slight increases in both units (4.2% to 5.2%) and dollars (9.6% to 9.8%), while full-line sporting goods stores produced strong increases. Unit share rose from 15.6% in 1998 to 29.4% in 2003, while dollar share increased from 16.2% to 23.3%.

Both department stores and full-line sporting goods stores showed improved share in sales of stationary exercise bikes, while specialty fitness stores saw their share drop sharply.

Department stores grew their share of units (24.5% to 35.4%) and dollars (21.3% to 41.0%), and full-line stores also grew by double digits (10.8% to 23.3% in units and 11.9% to 24.7% in dollars).

Specialty fitness stores saw their share of units drop from 6.9% in 1998 to 3.4% last year, while dollar share plummeted from 23.2% to 5.9% during the same period.

“The Sporting Goods Market in 2004” is available for $235 for retailer/dealer members of the Association and free to manufacturer and sustaining members. For non-members, the cost is $325. For additional information, contact Thomas B. Doyle at NSGA via e-mail at:, or phone at (847) 296-6742.