Go Green Yoga Mats operates in the Sporting Good Stores Industry (NAICS Code 451110-454), specifically under the Non Store Retailers subsector. The corresponding SIC Code is 5941 or Exercise Equipment Stores. The Sporting Good Stores Industry contains approximately 18,390 firms14, that vary from small online companies to large nationwide organizations.
The Yoga Journal estimated that in 2008 Americans spent $5.7 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including equipment, clothing, vacations and media (DVDs, videos, books and magazines). This figure represents an increase of 87% compared to the previous study in 2004—almost double of what was previously spent.15
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides projection data for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors. It has projected that the 2008 employment figure of 261,100 will increase to 337,900 by the year 2018. This includes an increase of 76,800 jobs available within the yoga sector and sums up to a 29% increase.2 The North American Studio Alliance (NAMSTA) estimates that there are approximately 70,000 yoga teachers in North America. The yoga mat industry clearly will benefit with this projected increase of yoga professionals.
Yoga instructors now need specialized training in their particular method of exercise. There are several types of training programs for instructors that range from online programs to programs that give the title of Registered Yoga Teacher. Most yoga studios require teachers to complete a 200-500 hour program which helps to standardize the industry.17 This allows yoga participants to feel more confident in the yoga studios and their instructors.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years, but really took hold around the 1960’s as more types of yoga become available for a wider variety of participants.18 Today millions of people practice yoga. The trend is credited to people looking for natural remedies to health problems and individuals looking to improve their overall health and quality of life.19
The recession has created a new segment of cash-strapped individuals, looking for inexpensive new ways to exercise. Yoga and cardio kickboxing were among the biggest gainers from 2008 to 2009.
Purchases of yoga instructions, mats and supplies continue to increase in a health and money conscious market place.20 During this economic downturn, green businesses are still surviving. Many companies are seeing the green movement as a way to cut costs and improve their reputation. Businesses are using the movement to improve operations, foster innovation, engage employees and satisfy customers.21 Online shopping is also becoming increasingly popular during the recession because consumers can research products in advance and find what they want at the least expensive price out there. 22
Major Trade Organizations
- Bureau of Labor Statistics run by the United States Department of Labor (Occupational Outlook Handbook)
- The 2010 Statistical Abstract Report collected by the U.S Census Bureau23
- YogaDayUSA.org operated by Yoga Alliance (Integrity. Diversity. Community)24
- YogaJournal.com continues to expand and provide necessary information for those with yoga on mind.25
- Blog sites like www.life.gaiam.com provides insightful and up to date information regarding the new current trends taking place in the yoga industry. The site is well aware that despite the economy and the recession, there was constant growth and expansion in the yoga world.
The size of the various organizations in the yoga industry varies widely. Many of the larger organizations have both an online and mortar and brick store such as Lululemon Athletica and Prana. This gives consumers a chance to see the products in person. Other smaller organizations, such as Gaiam, have only online stores. The organizations that only have an online presence tend to be smaller and leaner. These stores often sell a variety of products from various brands, focusing on lower costs, strong customer service and high product quality. While some of these online stores do have their own brand, they differ from the large brick and mortar stores in that they do not sell their own brand exclusively. Some do have their own brand and often focus on a higher quality product that consumers are willing to pay for. Additional smaller online companies include Yoga-Clothing.com, Barefoot Yoga.
INDUSTRY TRENDS & GROWTH
The yoga industry continues to grow almost every year. According to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), yoga has the second highest growth rate among sports and recreation activities. Following closely behind running/jogging, in 2008, yoga had a growth rate of 17.1% reaching about 16 million participants.27
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has also become increasingly popular in the past several years. Based on data from 2007 approximately 38% of adults in the past 12 months spent 34 billion on CAM. Self care accounted for 22 billion of the market and 4 billion of that was spent on classes such as yoga and tai chi.
The U.S Census Health and Nutrition Report which looks at "adults 18 years and over who used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the past 12 months by selected type of therapy 2002 and 2007" shows that between the years 2002-2007 there was a 26.8% increase from 10,386,000 to 13,172,000 in the usage of yoga practices. A 26.8%increase within the 5 year bracket shows that yoga is a growing industry and an increasingly common method of alternative medicine. 29
Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that jobs for fitness workers are expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations, because of continued job growth in health clubs, fitness facilities and other settings in which fitness workers are concentrated.
Green businesses are also becoming increasingly popular. Over the last three years (2004-2007) they have grown at a rate of 5% annually.31
The online shopping industry is continuing to grow every year. The industry is expected to double over the next five years to 132 million users. A recent study also showed that 19% of internet users shop online at least once a week and this is expected to continue to grow.32
The online, green and yoga industries will allow customers to get the information and products they need to find alternative methods to stay healthy, in shape and environmentally friendly.
Industry Improvements and Developments
The green industry is continuing to grow in this economy because many organizations are using environmental improvements and innovations to get through lean times and give them a way to rebound as the economy improves. The green industry is continuing to educate the public, which is leading companies to not only move towards greener organizations, but to also share how their organization is effecting the environment. This allows consumers to make smarter choices about the products and services they will use.33
The online shopping industry is ever evolving. As more consumers shop online there are increased expectations on how user friendly websites are and the experience they have while shopping. Consumers are normally shopping sites looking for the best deal out there. This forces organizations to try to turn price hunters in to loyal followers to continue to increase revenues.
The yoga industry, although growing, continues to face many misconceptions that make people cautious about taking part in this healthy practice. In December 2009, a survey was conducted on behalf of Yoga Alliance to identify those factors that may be inhibiting people from beginning a yoga practice. These factorsinclude beliefs that yoga is religious, only flexible people can practice yoga and doubts that yoga is really exercise. Yoga Alliance is focused on increasing education about yoga, through online information and word of mouth, and establishing requirements for teachers and schools in order to help encourage new people to give it a try.35
Developments such as the recent Lululemon Athletica Inc. profit increase shows what is happening in the yoga sector. The Vancouver based company released better-than-expected 2009 fourth-quarter results and an upbeat outlook. Investors rewarded it by sending its stock to a 52-week high after it had quadrupled in value over the past year.36 Yoga retailers are doing a great job in keeping customers satisfied with a variety of yoga commodities.
The yoga, green and online shopping industries will continue to thrive, according to the statistics and information that are currently available. As the industries continue to grow, yoga supplies will continue to be in high demand, more companies will move more toward green methods and online stores will continue to pop up. The market is expected to grow as individuals become more aware of eco-friendly yoga mats and the availability of them online.