The Peloton started on an idea that was not exactly new in the market, but its innovative features modelled into the idea were iconic. It was no longer just about an indoor exercise experience, but people would get to interact with instructors and other users, just as in a gym. Most importantly, there are challenges with exercises you can’t skip and milestones to look forward to in a Peloton experience.
Most importantly, Peloton tapped into what most people want for motivation to exercise harder, even when they are all alone in their houses; Leaderboard competition.
So, what is the history behind the success of the model indoor fitness platform and equipment?
The Start of Peloton (2011 -2014)
The Peloton was the idea of former CEO John Foley, who pitched the idea to his colleague Tom Cortese. It was based on the concept that people could get more with indoor gyms since there would be no commuting or time wastage based on Foley’s own experience.
In 2012, they managed to raise $3.9 Million in total, which was used to manufacture Peloton’s prototype bike. The bike was sold on Kickstarter in 2013 at $1500, followed by a connected fitness bike with a 21.8-inch tablet in 2014.
The company was optimistic that their products would make it big, and they started showrooms all over the US where people would see and test the Peloton bike products. Within the same year, Peloton had brought in competitive instructors such as Robin Arzon and Jenn Sherman.
It also opened a studio in Manhattan, where the instructors would air their content. And with a significant number of members, the interactive platform was already gaining momentum.
The Introduction of the Treadmill and The Digital App (2018)
The Peloton bike was already doing well, with each year gaining more investors, funding and profits. In that regard, Peloton launched its first connected fitness treadmill (the Tread +) in 2018.
Just like the bike, the treadmill was high-end, at the cost of $4295, yet the flow of sales was impressively high.
In June of the same year, Peloton came up with a new idea, where you could stream the content even without their equipment. The Peloton digital app was meant to reach people who were on a budget or couldn’t access Peloton equipment, and it was also cheaper.
While you needed $39 to stream content from the Peloton equipment per month, the digital app only cost $12.99.
The Peloton Boom (2019 -2020)
In September 2019, Peloton opened a new studio in London, UK. English instructors ran the show, and German instructors joined when Peloton got to Germany in no time.
The Coronavirus and the lockdown that came with it was a blessing in disguise for Peloton. People could no longer go to studios and gyms, and staying home required one to be more active to remain fit. Most importantly, those living alone needed to feel somehow connected to the gym. Regardless of the situation, Peloton remained an absolute answer.
Not surprisingly, Peloton bike and treadmill orders started streaming in, and by April 2020, they were already overwhelming the company. Peloton literally got its delivery personnel while still outsourcing logistics companies for delivery. It was still insufficient, and the supply went way below the demand.
However, financially, Peloton shares rose by an unimaginable margin, and they rose to around 400% of their original value.
It was at this time that it was branded the indoor fitness cult. Every person, especially in the US and regions where it had expanded, wanted to be related to Peloton.
The Peloton Bike Plus and the New Peloton Tread (2020 -2021)
Despite the hectic year that Peloton experienced in 2020, it was able to close the year with a new product, the Peloton bike plus. It had up-to-date technology, including a larger and rotating touchscreen.
While launching the bike +, Peloton CEO John Foley promised they would come up with a cheaper treadmill.
Sure enough, in 2021, Peloton introduced the Peloton tread, which cost $2495, and the original treadmill was branded the Tread +.
The Peloton Row (2022)
In September 2022, Peloton launched its long-awaited fitness product, the Peloton row. The rowing machine is the third of Peloton’s major products after the bike and the treadmill.
The Shakedowns in Peloton (2021 -2022)
Starting in 2021, Peloton equipment demand dropped significantly. The shares also dropped, and the significant reasons for the shakedown include the following;
- The National Music Publishers Association Lawsuit: In March 2019, Peloton experienced its first significant challenge when it was sued for using music under copyright to sell its products. The suit amounted to $300 Million, though Peloton settled privately.
- In the ‘wife’; A Gift that Gives Back commercial: A wife receives a Peloton bike from her husband, and her fitness journey is visible thereafter. Critics said that this meant the husband was not happy with his wife’s appearance, hence buying her the fitness bike. American Aviation Gin even hired the [same woman in the commercial for an ironic commercial, ‘A Gift that Doesn’t Give Back.
- The death of Mr Big in a Sex and the City TV Episode: Mr Big, a character of the TV comedy-drama, was riding a Peloton bike when he died of a heart attack. Critics assumed the bike was the cause of the death due to cycling intensity, and the following day Peloton shares had dropped by 18%.
- The Billions Episode: shortly after the death of Mr Big, the Billions had an episode where a character died when using Peloton.
- The fall of Covid 19 as a pandemic: when the world finally managed to reduce Covid 19 numbers and things went back to normal, a good number of people left Peloton for physical gyms such as Orangetheory.
- The Tread + accidents: Up until now, the Peloton treadmill is still on the market. Sadly, it was recalled after it had caused numerous accidents, the major being the death of a baby.
Will Peloton Survive the Turbulence?
Though Peloton has gone through many challenges that can potentially pull it down, it is still standing. It has not only taken mitigation measures to ensure that it survives, but the classes still retain the glamor and power they held before,
The fans are also in for the platform to remain because most have witnessed the power of the interaction and the fitness itself.
So, yes, Peloton will stand the turbulence, and it may not go back to 2020, but it will definitely be better.
Peloton is on its decade’s anniversary since conception, and it is still ahead of its competitors. It has also managed to build the greatest weapon anyone could; a loyal clientelle.
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