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Men, Women Shop Differently for Equipment

CHICAGO — Despite the reports of the increasing number of women doing strength training, that increasehas not been seen at the cash register yet, according to recent research by an industry group.

In fact, men are more likely to purchase exercise equipment that stresses muscular development/toning, while women are more likely to purchase equipment that focuses on cardiovascular well-being, according to data in the recently released National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) report, “The Sporting Goods Market in 2004.”

Males were the dominant purchasers of multipurpose home gyms (69 percent), weight benches (85 percent) and free weights/weight sets (78 percent).

Women led purchases of elliptical/cross trainers (55 percent) and motorized treadmills (55 percent), according to the organization.

Men and women used stationary exercise bicycles equally (45 percent each), with 10 percent of purchases going for “household use.”

More women (60 percent) purchased hand/wrist/ankle weights, normally associated with aerobic exercising.

“Cardio exercise — in addition to helping achieve and maintain better health — may also indicate a focus on weight reduction and maintenance,” said NSGA vice president of information & research, Thomas B. Doyle.

Exercise equipment represented $4.7 billion of the $21.8 billion athletic and sports equipment market reported for 2003.

With clothing and footwear, the “Sporting Goods Market in 2004” placed sporting goods sales at $45.8 billion for 2003 and projects sales of $46.9 billion for 2004.

The NSGA said that the data in “The Sporting Goods Market in 2004” projects 2003 purchases of sporting goods products based on a survey of 100,000 U.S. households.

National Family Opinion Inc. maintains the consumer panel used in the survey. The group said that the survey is balanced to parallel actual American household distribution as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Census, so that the data can be projected nationally.

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