Advancements in technology since the turn of the century have helped to spark a massive resurgence in the popularity of home exercise equipment.
While home workouts can be traced back to the 1980s, there was no link between the equipment used and the video content that supported them.
Celebrity fitness videos were all the rage, but the content existed separately from the at-home gym kit needed to undertake the fitness sessions.
The landscape changed in 2006 when Manhattan boutique studio SoulCycle launched innovative 45-minute spinning classes that wowed fitness fanatics.
One of the three founders of the company quit in 2010 to launch a rival entitled Flywheel, which incorporated smart technology to add a competitive element to the sessions.
This ultimately proved to be the inspiration for Peloton, whose owners were frustrated at being unable to book places on the hugely popular classes.
On the occasions spots were available, they worked out that a single 45-minute session cost around $150 when factoring in associated expenses such as travel and day care.
Launched in 2012, Peloton has since become one of the biggest fitness brands in the world and has inspired other firms to jump on the bandwagon.
These include Tempo Studio – a fitness mirror which uses motion-capturing Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology to create a 3D model of your body and then tracks your workout activity.
It identifies the exercises that burn the most calories and maximises the benefits of your training by correcting bad posture or positioning when exercising.
Another product which has proved to be extremely popular is smart rowing machine Hydrow, which allows users to row virtually on waterways around the world via a 22-inch HD screen.
The Hydrow provides access to more than 2,000 live and on-demand workouts with instructor-led classes, giving it a level of variety than land-based gyms can only dream about.
A big contributor to the popularity of the new wave of fitness products has undoubtedly been the competitive edge they add to physical activity.
This ethos is highlighted to perfection by Liteboxer – a virtual home sparring partner that uses engagement tactics engagement from video games to get people to exercise more.
The gamified boxing experience costs less per annum than a gym membership when factoring in travel and a personal trainer, further highlighting why home exercise equipment is booming.
While the growth of the home fitness sector is extremely impressive, it has inevitably had a devastating impact on health clubs, gyms and studios.
Tens of thousands of facilities have permanently closed worldwide, with thousands more are at risk of following suit over the coming months.
It is estimated that one-quarter of all health and fitness facilities closed in the United States between March 2020 and December 2021, while more than 1.5 million industry jobs have been cut.
By contrast, Peloton’s rapid growth over the past 20 years makes it one of the most successful businesses to come out of Kickstarter.
It published its bike project on the crowdfunding platform in 2013 with a price of $1,500 and raised $307,332, just above its $250,000 target.
Armed with knowledge gained from previous successful enterprises, Peloton CEO John Foley guided the brand to a unicorn valuation in 2017 and IPO in 2019.
Rather than selling just hardware, Peloton’s business model effectively makes it a one-stop-shop for all your fitness requirements.
The company generated $4.02 billion revenue in 2021, a whopping 120% year-on-year increase. It is estimated Peloton will have around three million connected fitness subscribers by the end of 2022.
The firm has achieved by building a core of users who are highly engaged, with the company reporting a subscriber churn rate of less than 1%.
Peloton subscribers did an average of 19.9 workouts per month during the final quarter last year, demonstrating those engagement levels to perfection.
Around two-thirds of Peloton bike users are aged between 25 and 44 years old, while 62% of subscribers earn between $50,000 to $150,000 per annum.
This makes them less susceptible to the economic difficulties endured by people further down the pay scale and more likely to maintain their subscription.
Unlike other previous trends in the fitness industry, it appears the shift towards home exercise equipment will continue apace for the foreseeable future.
Peloton are inevitably at the forefront of innovation in the sector, with the successor to the original bike already making waves in the industry.
Its new ‘Auto-Follow’ resistance system is based on target metrics and automatically makes adjustments on what your instructor tells you to do.
A rotating HD screen makes it easier to switch between cycling and floor-based workouts, while the system is now fully compatible with the Apple Watch.
It is fair to say that product innovation and the convenience offered by home exercise equipment should help to keep Peloton and other rival brands in clover for many years to come.
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