“Where have all the dumbbells gone?”
That’s the question thousands of Americans have been asking since March’s Covid-wrought fitness shutdown.
According to Quartz, the lion’s share of the US’s imported exercise equipment comes from China—some 65% in 2019, according to the International Trade Centre—where factories were already shutting down at the beginning of 2020 due to Covid-19. The resulting production slowdown caused bottlenecks for all of sorts of imports. Google searches for “home workout” reached their peak on March 22, the same month that Chinese exercise equipment exports to the US dipped to their lowest point in more than 15 years.
In recent weeks, US imports of gym equipment from China have bounced back, nearing $250 million in June. But many of those dumbbells are already spoken for, so those who didn’t successfully pillage their local gyms may still face delays on orders for new weights.