FIBO USA FOCUS: SPIRIT FITNESS
MAY 15, 2020
ON THE MOVE
WITH STRONG HOME SALES AMIDST THE COVID-19 CRISIS, SPIRIT FITNESS REMAINS POSITIONED TO HELP THE FITNESS BUSINESS REBOUND IN THE ‘NEW NORMAL’.
Unprecedented times demand a unique and flexible business model – coupled with the ability to sense and fill a market’s rapidly changing demands – and fitness equipment supplier Spirit Fitness finds itself uniquely positioned to thrive in these challenging times.
In this case, the demand for in-home fitness products has spurred rapid growth and the financial stability to allow the company to continue to invest in all of its brands across a range of markets — home, health clubs and medical/rehabilitation.
This success will enable the parent company, Dyaco, which was founded in 1990 by current chairman and CEO Michael Lin and is publicly listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange with a market cap of over $150 million, to continue to focus on delivering the equipment to the home, commercial and medical sectors through its own brands, including Spirit, Sole and Xterra, along with its global partnerships and licensing agreements with UFC, Johnny G and Philips.
“Our home fitness equipment is the perfect solution for our customers to use and stay fit during this current health crisis,” says Christopher Hancock, Vice President–Global Marketing, Commercial. He also points out that Spirit has teamed with UFC athletes who are creating home workouts using its UFC fitness and Combat gear and then sharing them on social media.
“Our home division cannot keep up with demand,” Hancock continues. “Our factories are working flat out to supply product to our partners and customers around the world with everything from dumbbells to jump ropes to cross trainers and treadmills.”
This demand for its home fitness products will eventually translate into similar success in the health club sector and Hancock is optimistic that time will come soon.
“We are confident the gym and public facility business will start to return to some level of normality over the coming months and are currently working with our customers on new opportunities during this difficult time in our industry,” he says, emphasizing that its Spirit Commercial line is designed to meet the needs of the clubs when they reopen.
“This demand places us in a unique position financially to invest in our commercial and medical divisions to ensure we are ready to serve our customers when the market starts to return to normal and the crisis starts to recede,” he adds.
The Target Market
For the commercial market, Spirit Fitness offers a full line of fitness products — from Cardio to Strength to Functional Training and Studio under its own Spirit and partnership Johnny G and UFC brands. One selling point is value in today’s highly price-sensitive market.
“The current environment has led buyers to seek even more value when purchasing new equipment for their facility,” Hancock points out. “We offer a highly personalized service with a designated account manager developing a collaborative partnership with our clients, including space design and finance and leasing plans.”
One of the challenges of working in three very different markets – home, club and medical – is the differing demands for product, marketing and service. Spirit Fitness spends equal time on each.
“The home market is currently experiencing a major uplift in demand by consumers as they find themselves needing to work out from home during the crisis,” Hancock says. That’s where its Spirit, Sole, Xterra and UFC brands meet the demands for everything from hand weights to yoga mats to full-size treadmills.
“We have been selling premium and light commercial product in the U.S. market under our Spirit brand for over 35 years through our retail and dealer network,” he says. “This positions us perfectly to bring our full Spirit commercial line to the U.S. market as well as launching the Johnny G studio bike and UFC Functional Training series.”
Its medical and rehabilitation line is targeted at a very different market, which is why Spirit’s parent company, Dyaco, has also partnered with Philips to develop a range of products for the physical therapy customer.
With confidence that the home exercise sector will remain strong post-COVID-19 while people eventually do start to return to health clubs as they feel safe and the industry takes steps to assure that safety, Spirit foresees a strong rebound in business as the world adjusts to this “new normal.”
“The fitness industry was growing with new innovative concepts such as boutique gyms and indoor cycle studios expanding rapidly, but this all changed when the health crisis hit the world and with most facilities being forced to close their doors,” says Hancock. “The world is starting to emerge from the current situation and while we will have to adjust to the new normal, the industry will recover to pre-crisis levels during 2021.”
When it does, Spirit will remain dedicated to improving lives through a 360-degree solution approach, with products and software applications that meet the needs of its customers throughout their lives — lives that often require adjusting and a tailoring workouts and lifestyles.
Part of that dedication to the market will be on display during its participation at FIBO USA in November in Miami Beach, FL. With a headquarters in Taipei, extensive manufacturing facilities in both Taiwan and China and operations in more than 90 countries through its subsidiaries and distribution partners, having a presence at the major U.S. fitness show is imperative.
“We urge everyone in the industry to come and visit FIBO USA and see all the new and exciting innovations in the fitness industry to ensure they are ahead of their competitors when the market emerges from the current health crisis,” Hancock says.
As the calendar heads towards to the fall and the excitement of FIBO USA, Spirit will continue to focus on delivering equipment to the home, commercial and medical sectors through its own brands and global partnerships and licensing agreements, according to Hancock.
“We are continuing to innovate with new technologies through connectivity and personalization of our product and look forward to sharing our news throughout 2021,” he adds.
THE COVID-19 IMPACT
What has been the impact of COVID-19 on your business — both internally and with your partners? “The success of our home division during the COVID-19 pandemic has given us the financial security to support our global employees while helping prepare our commercial partners for their future planning when business starts to return. And we are very proud to have been able to retain all our employees around the globe during this crisis, which we believe is a major achievement.” — Christopher Hancock