What’s Popping in the Online Workout Space?

Abdelazim ElToukhy
January 6, 2021

The lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted several industries. Who would have imagined early this year that most of us will be conducting most of the activities typically done in person virtually? One of the major sectors that saw a strong shift towards the virtual environment is the workout space. Gyms and studios globally had to shut down when governments imposed lockdown policies to control virus spread. This paved the way for virtual workout companies such as Peloton, Mirror, and others. In this article, we will be analyzing industry trends and the current players in the space.

Peloton (NASDAQ: PTON)

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Peloton, founded in 2012 in New York, offers stationary bikes, treadmills, and on-demand fitness classes. The company went public in September 2019. When filling to go public, the company faced skepticism from Wall Street analysts.

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2020 was a transformative year for Peloton. For the period ending on June 30th, their revenue increased to $1.8 billion, 100% year-over-year. Their subscription revenue increased to $121 million, a 99% increase year-over-year. The total number of paid Peloton subscribers was 3.1 million.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise again in the US and globally, experts anticipate that Peloton will have a strong first quarter of the fiscal year 2021.

Mirror (Acquired by Lululemon, NASDAQ: LULU)

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MIRROR launched in 2018 on a business model very similar to Peloton. Users can choose to pay $1,495 upfront or pay as low as $42/month for 36 months, plus $39 a month for a subscription to the classes. MIRROR lets subscribers access their favorite fitness classes from the comfort of their homes without the need to pre-book a spot.

I first noticed MIRROR when they placed an ad on Broadway, South of 23rd Street. That ad prompted me to check out their store on 5th Avenue. I was very impressed by the product from first glance. It looked very stylish and could perfectly fit anywhere in an apartment. Going through their offering with the sales rep, she made it clear that Mirror offered a wide array of classes featuring reputable trainers from well-known studios.

Lululemon acquired Mirror for $500 million in June 2020.

Variis by Equinox

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Equinox launched Variis earlier this year to Equinox members post lockdown. Non-Equinox users could access the app by purchasing a $2,500 at-home SoulCycle bike. The app offers classes offered by Equinox and its sister companies such as treadmill workouts from Precision Run, spinning from SoulCycle, and Yoga from Pure Yoga. The significance of Equinox entering the space is a confirmation that the future of fitness is a mix between in-person and online workouts. The current Equinox membership includes both in-person and Variis access.

Since October 7th, anyone could subscribe to Variis without committing to an Equinox membership or buying a SoulCycle bike. I have been using Variis recently — I am pleased with the quality of the classes offered and the convenience aspect of it. While exercising with people is fun, I appreciate doing so without having to be limited in space like most in-person classes offered by Equinox pre lockdown.

Studio

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Studio was founded by ex-Peloton employees deploying a similar revenue model. Similar to MIRROR, Studio is a screen that gives you access to on-demand workout classes. What differentiates Studio is that it provides subscribers with detailed metrics of their workouts from any piece of equipment they are using. The device is also completely portable, making it convenient to carry around.

Subscribers can control the screen through their phones and engage in competitions with other Studio users. Studio is $500 cheaper than Mirror selling at $999, plus a $39/month subscription. Users can also purchase punch trackers, cycling, rowing, and treadmill sensors to track their workout metrics.

Tempo

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Tempo is a screen with built-in 3D sensors to track users’ motions to count reps and enhance form. It is designed with storage space to include everything needed for the perfect workout. The device comes with plates, collars, dumbells, a heart rate monitor, a workout mat, and a foam roller. What differentiates Tempo from other competitors in the space is that it is more customized for subscriber needs.

Tempo is the most expensive among MIRROR, and Studio. The device costs $1999 or as little as $55/ month for 36 months, plus a $39 monthly subscription. If you prefer to involve weights in your workout, then Tempo is the best option for you.