Best Buy is taking its home fitness business to the next level.
The Richfield, Minn.-based retailer recently announced the launch of a collection of “connected” machines and fitness gadgets for elite athletes and daily warriors, with setup service provided by the Geek Squad staff.
While the retailer already sells such products as treadmills and exercise bikes, the announcement signals its intention to devote more floor space and sales resources to what is expected to be a growing market in high-end home fitness equipment.
The retailer expects to have the collection available in 100 stores by the end of the year. It also has carved out a section on its online site with enhanced product details and ordering information.
The U.S. market for fitness machines is projected to reach $4.4 billion by 2024, according to the global research and consulting firm Esticast, with about half of the revenue driven by home exercise equipment.
Treadmills are among the most popular, accounting for about two-thirds of sales.
Younger Americans with disposable income are driving demand for products, and manufacturers are overhauling treadmills and bicycles with high-tech innovations.
Best Buy’s collection includes a spinning bike from Flywheel Sports, a rowing machine from Hydrow and treadmills and cycles from NordicTrack. The machines use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology to connect people to live or on-demand classes. Rowers can get the experience of being on the water, with training from world-class athletes.
The retailer also will sell the NormaTec compression system used by elite athletes to help reduce pain as well as percussion devices and fitness rollers that claim to speed muscle recovery.
For Best Buy, the nation’s largest consumer electronics company, a bigger push into high-tech fitness plays into a strategy of incorporating more support services into its sales effort.
The company said it has given its store workers and in-home advisers special training, and its Geek Squad staff will make sure that the connected fitness machines are connected to the connected home.
The move also expands Best Buy’s reach in the broader category of health, which it sees as a growth market to offset the volatility of the consumer electronics industry, where profit margins shrink over time as once-hot products become commodities.
Best Buy tested the collection in six stores during the first half of the year, and plans to roll the products out to 200 of its 1,000 stores by the end of next year.