How many treadmill desks are in use today?
Treadmill Desks in Use Today
At WorkWhileWalking we often get asked “how many treadmill desks are in use today,” and the short answer is that nobody really knows. We have taken some market readings, however, that lead us to estimate the figure to be somewhere between 400,000 and 600,000 treadmill desks either purchased or constructed in the United States between 2007 and 2015.
Office furniture behemoth Steelcase was the first commercial manufacturer of treadmill desks, now some seven years in the business. Unverified statistics we’ve seen quoted in major media publications claim sales of 70,000+ Steelcase Walkstation treadmill desks to large corporations as of 2013. Considering that a Walkstation has had an average price tag of $4,000 over the past few years, even with corporate discounts this could amount to a quarter billion dollars in sales. Steelcase representatives have been quoted in the media stating that they sell about $40M/year of this equipment so these figures seem to pass the sniff test.
The next largest maker of treadmill desks, LifeSpan Fitness, was quoted in FoxBusiness as saying they’ve sold “nearly 50,000 treadmill desks” in the past four years. iMovR made a major entry into the market in 2015 with its ThermoTread GT, primarily targeting enterprise customers. Other new entrants include some massive fitness equipment industry players such as InMovement (Brunswick / Life Fitness), NordicTrack and Proform. No sales numbers are yet available from these new players. While Exerpeutic is not really a serious player in walking workstations for offices they do sell a lot of volume of their $500 “toy” treadmill desks through Walmart, Target and the like. Then there are even smaller players like Rebel Desk, Woodway, Signature and TreadDesk. All told we estimate that there could be as many as 30,000 to 70,000 commercially-build tread desks being sold annually worldwide.
For every commercially-built treadmill desk being sold there are estimated to be three more being cobbled together by do-it-yourselfers, salvaging an existing running treadmill with the addition of a fixed or adjustable-height desk (or in some cases just a plank of wood across the treadmill arms). This ratio is evidenced by a statistical scan of Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, OfficeWalkers and other social media networks where people post a picture or comment about their treadmill desk every minute of the day. In recent years this ratio has been declining as LifeSpan, iMovR and other commercial manufacturers have gained traction, and as early adopters decide to upgrade to a more attractive and productive workstation than the kludged DIY setup they started with.
Unfortunately there are no market research firms collecting sales data on this industry sub-sector despite its rapid growth rate but if you come across any additional verifiable data points we’d love to hear about it and add it to our guesstimating engine.
What about standing desks?
As for the adjustable-height standing desk market we have been unable to locate any market research that breaks out adjustable-height or standing desks from ordinary sitting desks, although according to the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association, the entire annual US market for office desks and tables is approximately $1.1B in size. Anecdotally we have heard reports from just about every single office desk manufacturer in the US that the sale mix of adjustable-height to fixed-height desks has been shifting very rapidly in favor of sit-stand desks in recent years.