Dumbbells as popular as toilet paper: fitness equipment in high demand during COVID-19

In February and March, it was toilet paper and hand sanitizer now it’s weights and dumbbells selling out at a furious rate.

Richmondite Kathy Wang had planned to buy dumbbells to keep herself in shape after being stuck at home for months. However, she couldn’t find any after visiting three local fitness stores - rows of racks are all sitting empty.

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Wang finally found some and shared her story on social media, which caused a buzz of people asking her where she got them.

“I can’t believe that so many people are now hoarding fitness gear to do their workouts at home,” said Wang. 

As thousands of businesses are hanging by a thread or simply going under due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the home fitness industry has never been in better shape. 

“The sheer demand for dumbbells is crazy, and I get about a hundred calls a day just about dumbbells,” said Mike Logan, branch manager of Flaman Fitness, a local store selling fitness equipment.

Logan added that their business is up by about 25 per cent since last year. 

“I have been in this industry for 11 years, and I have never seen that before.”

In addition, people who used to stay fit by getting on a treadmill or a bike at their local gym have also been coming into the store to purchase workout machines. 

“Imagine using a treadmill every day for 20 years, and suddenly you can’t use it. Now, people can’t wait any longer, they just need something,” said Logan. 

Although business has been booming, dumbbells and plates are in short supply, and customers will need to wait until the beginning of July to get them. 

Most equipment is shipped from China and the pandemic has disrupted that supply chain.

“The problem for us right now is keeping stuff in stock because the demand is so high. It’s like keeping a big bonfire burning, without wood to throw into the fire, it will burn out,” said Logan, adding that they have been out of dumbbells for two months.

“We are grateful to be able to help a lot of people to workout at home. I hope we will have stock soon so we can help more.”

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