Rumors of Peloton’s Demise Are Very Much Exaggerated
April 2022 | Bill Davis
A year ago, Peloton was the darling of the fitness industry with a soaring share price, record sales, celebrity trainers, and product wait times that would be the envy of any company. It was heralded as the vanguard of the new trend of at-home fitness, putting the nail in the coffin of the in-gym workout and in-person spin class.
Today as Peloton’s troubles play out in public and people return to gyms in droves, similar commentary surrounds the company with claims its model as well as at-home gym equipment are out of vogue.
Frankly, I don’t buy into either of these narratives.
Even though Peloton has paused production, made the unfortunate and painful decision to reduce staff and even (spoiler alert) has been accused of killing Mr. Big, I believe its current woes are more of a market correction than a terminal condition.
Just like the dot.com craze of the late 1990s, the rapid expansion of at-home gym equipment and solutions was never likely to be sustainable. And just like the dot.com era, the innovations created during this unique period are going to remain, adding value to the fitness industry and benefits to consumers.
At ABC Fitness, we have never subscribed to the view that at-home or in-gym is an either-or option. This is borne out in both consumer research and real-life experience. We have seen a significant return of people flocking back to clubs with new memberships up 15% and average check-ins up approximately 30% compared to the first quarter 2021.
Our research with the IHRSA Foundation for The Next Fitness Consumer Report found 49% of consumers had purchased at-home equipment in the past 18 months and 37% of consumers use at-home equipment regularly. The hybrid workout model is very much here to stay, and we are currently seeing the market find a new equilibrium.
During the pandemic, the pendulum obviously swung toward at-home, and as cities and clubs began to reopen, it swung the other way. That is why over the past three years we have continued to invest in technologies that help club owners provide best-in-class solutions for both models. Those that have embraced both are now ideally placed to thrive in the new normal.
ABC’s IGNITE Engagement was created with this in mind, to provide a seamless, integrated solution to allow club operators to deliver their own branded app that puts their members at the center of their personalized experience. Rather than having to create their own content, or turn to multiple vendors to deliver online training, video-based classes, and live tutorials, IGNITE Engagement can curate all this for them. Along with powering a robust at-home gym experience, the app allows members to administer every aspect of their in-gym experience ranging from managing their accounts and payments to facilitating check-ins, class bookings and the purchase of new services.
Far from theoretical, we are seeing club owners and their members truly embrace the hybrid workout model. In the past year, IGNITE Engagement users have completed over 255K workouts and tracked 438K sessions both at home and in the gym as we see the trend growing in real-time.
So, while it was on a sprint during the pandemic, Peloton, and the at-home trend it came to represent is currently catching its breath. Its recent disclosure that its user base has remained stable at 2.5 million is one proof point that in-home workouts are here to stay. Despite its current troubles, Peloton shifted consumer expectations and now everyone in the fitness industry must adapt. There is room in the industry and inherent benefits for in-home and in-gym options and businesses that can seamlessly offer both are the ones that are going to be able to capture the hearts, minds, and wallets of consumers.
We would love to hear your experiences and thoughts.