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Winning Treadmills in ''Excellence in Customer Satisfaction'' Awards Announced Today by Harris Black International and the American Council on Exercise

Posted: June 3, 1999 in ACE Press Releases

NEW YORK - Since 1996, nearly 12 million U.S. households reported purchasing a treadmill-making it one of the most popular pieces of home fitness equipment. Now, home treadmills have undergone intense evaluation, thanks to the "Excellence in Customer Satisfaction" awards, a new survey jointly announced by Harris Black International, Ltd. (HBI), a leading market research firm, and the American Council on Exercise (ACE), a nonprofit organization committed to promoting healthy, active lifestyles.

Arrived at through an exhaustive survey of home treadmill owners, the awards are expected to help consumers make informed decisions about the quality and effectiveness of fitness products. The data and analysis that the awards are based upon will also provide manufacturers with invaluable consumer feedback by enabling manufacturers to determine which factors are the primary drivers of customer satisfaction.

The winning treadmills-the first category in a planned series of home exercise equipment surveys-were announced today, recognizing outstanding machines from three price categories: less than $l,200; $1,200 - $2,000; and more than $2,000. The results were as follows:

"Overall Customer Satisfaction" Award Winners for Home Treadmills (Award winners listed in alphabetical order)

For treadmills costing less than $1,200:
*Overall Customer Satisfaction - Proform models J8LI, 785X, 725EX, Cross Trainer and XwalkLS

For treadmills costing $1,200 - $2,000:
*Overall Customer Satisfaction - Keys Pro-1000/Pro-2000/MS-1200 and Pacemaster ProPlus/HR

For treadmills costing more than $2,000:
*Overall Customer Satisfaction - Landice SST/Programmable, Precor 925I and True Fitness 450

In addition to overall satisfaction, awards were presented for safety, durability, features/ease of use and effective workout. In all cases, overall satisfaction winners also took top honors in several of these categories. "Our online ACE/HBI survey will help establish consumer-driven industry standards based on the real life experiences of equipment owners who exercise at home," said Sheryl Brown, Executive Director of ACE. "We hope these awards will provide customer satisfaction 'benchmarks' for consumers and manufacturers alike."

Said Gordon S. Black, Chairman and CEO Harris Black International, Ltd. "We believe that having thousands of consumers evaluate thousands of treadmills is the best way to provide consumers and manufacturers alike with fair, actionable information. We expect to learn a great deal more about how people feel about the effectiveness and merits of their home exercise equipment purchases, as we research other products."

HBI's survey polled a random sample of 20,000 treadmill owners nationwide, utilizing Harris Poll Interactive's opt-in database of more than 3 million online consumers. The eligibility criteria required that a manufacturer receive a minimum of 25 evaluations from respondents who have owned their brand of treadmill for three years or less.

According to the HBI research, men and women appear to have somewhat different goals when purchasing and using treadmills. 52% of females use treadmills to lose weight, compared to only 32% of males. Conversely, 44% of males use treadmills for cardiovascular conditioning, compared to only 29% of females. On average, low-tier consumers spent about $500 per machine, while high-tier consumers spent about $3,100, and the average spent for treadmills was $670.

About Harris Black International, Ltd. Based in Rochester, NY, Harris Black International, Ltd. (HBI) oversees the activities of the Gordon S. Black Corporation, Louis Harris & Associates, Harris Black International Consulting, Harris Poll Interactive, Data Collection Services and the Harris Black International Network. With the world's largest cooperative panel of over three million online consumers, HBI is the leader in conducting marketing research over the Internet. Combining almost 40 years of guidance to Fortune 500 companies, foundations and educational institutions, HBI services clients in more than 80 countries worldwide (www.harrisblackintl.com & www.harrispollonline.com).

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation's "workout watchdog," ACE conducts university-based research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world's largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at www.acefitness.org.

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Founded in 1985, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization committed to America's health and wellbeing. Over the past 25 years, we have become an established resource for both fitness professionals and consumers, providing comprehensive, unbiased, scientific research impacting the fitness industry and validating ourselves as the country's trusted authority on fitness.

Today, ACE is the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world with 53,000 certified professionals who hold more than 59,000 ACE certifications. With a long heritage in certification, education, training and public outreach, we are among the most respected fitness organizations in the industry and a resource consumers have come to trust for health and fitness education.