The Covid-19 pandemic changed the buying patterns and lifestyle choices of many people. This was particularly evident in relation to health club usage and fitness enthusiasts’ desire to add equipment for home workouts. Factory shutdowns from worker illnesses and shortages in raw materials brought about huge delays in many sectors of manufacturing – hitting the fitness industry particularly hard.
“Without restaurants to visit and trips to take, Americans bought out stocks of cars, appliances, furniture, and power tools. Manufacturers have been trying to catch up ever since. Nearly a year since initial coronavirus lockdowns in the U.S., barbells, kitchen mixers, mattresses and webcams are still hard to find.” (Source: Wall Street Journal, Feb 22,2021)
Note that in the above excerpt from the WSJ they chose barbells as the first of four products to list as still being “hard to find” due to Covid related shortages. It has been well documented that the close of many fitness clubs and the reluctance of people to gather inside public spaces coupled with legitimate urgencies in maintaining individual health has caused a tremendous surge in the demand for home exercise equipment. And just as this demand surge happened, many factories that produce fitness products were crippled by shortages in worker availability or raw materials – further lengthening delays in fulfilment.
One example we experienced at Premier Fitness Source was that the lead time for free weights – plates, dumbbells, and kettle bells – jumped from approximately seven days, pre-Covid, up to four to six MONTHS when the pandemic fully hit in the Spring of 2020. Treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical cross-trainers, and home gyms experienced similar, if somewhat shorter, increases in product lead times.
The good news for Fall, 2021 and beyond is that Premier Fitness Source has been proactive in increasing the amount of product we stock in our warehouse, and that manufacturers have also made progress in restoring wholesale production levels. In the case of the free weights mentioned above for example, in the spring of 2020 we began ordering full shipping containers directly from the producing factories – roughly 40,000 lbs. at a time – and we now keep a six-month supply on hand to immediately meet the needs of our home and commercial customers. And since we are now buying “factory direct” we are still able to offer those products at the same pricing we had in 2019 – 2020, while other retailers have had to increase pricing by 50% or more.
Visit any of our five locations or shop on our website – PremierFitnessSource.com – and be confident that we can deliver and install the fitness equipment you need to safely pursue your health and fitness goals.