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Industry Overview


The NAICS Code is 451110 – Sporting Goods Stores, subsector 454 – non store retailers. The SIC Code is 5941 – Exercise equipment stores. These two code numbers represent the industry classifications. The Sporting goods stores industry contains approximately 18,390 firms[1], that vary from online small stores to large nationwide organizations.

Industry Statistics

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 percent compared to the previous study in 2004almost double of what was previously spent.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4] 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 1960s as more types of yoga become available for a wider variety of participants.[5] 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.[6]

Economic Factors

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.[7] During this economic down turn 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.[8] 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. [9]

Major Trade Organization Contributors

Industry Overview

Business description Target Market Revenues Year Established Link
Trade Organizations
International Yoga Association Membership association to help expand businesses and lower costs Various healing modalities businesses 1994
Universal Force International Naam Yoga Association Membership association that provides support, benefits and education in the yoga industry Teachers and professionals in the yoga industry
Green Yoga Association A network, community and resource for doing yoga and being green. Yoga studios, instructors, participants and anyone looking to be more green
Major companies
Gaiam Provider of information, goods and services to customers who value the environment, a sustainable economy, healthy lifestyles, and personal development Individuals that value the environment, sustainable economy, healthy lifestyle, alternative healthcare and personal development Approx. $48 million 1988
Barefootyoga Personally designed products as tools to help achieve more peace and stillness through the practice of yoga when there is restlessness of the mind, intellect and spirit Anyone who practices yoga 1998 Give customers the best selection of yoga clothing & accessories from the hottest brands at the great prices and high quality customer service New or experienced individuals who practice yoga
Lululemon Althetica Make technical athletic apparel for yoga, running, dancing, and most other sweaty pursuits Active women and men Approx $292 million 1998
Major Suppliers
Manduka High quality and performance yoga mats that are crafted using simple, enduring, natural, and whenever possible, renewable materials A company built by and for Yoga teachers and their students 2000
JadeYoga Committed to making the worlds best performance, most eco-friendly yoga mats, providing the highest level of customer service and giving back to the earth with every product All individuals that practice yoga 2000

Industry Participants

In the yoga industry the size of organizations varies widely. Many of the larger organizations have both an online and mortar and brick store. This gives consumers a chance to see the products in person. For example large organizations include Luluemon Athletica and Prana, who have both online, and brick and mortar stores. Gaiam has only online stores. Other organizations tend to be smaller with only online stores. These stores usually sell a variety of products from various brands, focusing on lower costs and strong customer service. Some do have their own brand and often focus on a higher quality product that consumers are willing to pay for. These smaller companies include, 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.[14]

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.[15]

Business Plan Industry Analysis

The U.S Census Report Health and Nutrition (Table 161) “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 percent increase from 10,386,000 to 13,172,000 in the usage of yoga practices. A 26.8 percent increase within the 5 year bracket shows that yoga is a growing industry and an increasingly common method of alternative medicine.[16]

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.[17]


Green businesses are also becoming increasingly popular. Over the last three years (2004-2007) they have grown at a rate of 5% annually.[18]


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.[19]

The online, green and yoga industries will allow them 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.[20]

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.[21]

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 factors include 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.[22]

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.[23] 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.

To see how to write your own Industry Analysis, please visit our blog series, What is in a Business Plan?

















[17] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics







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