Apple, Peloton, Strava and More Elevated Digital Fitness in 2020

Tech companies and retailers took advantage of the digital fitness boom in 2020 by launching new platforms to compete with the established leaders.

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Home fitness went digital this year, with the sale of stationary bikes and digital subscriptions skyrocketing across Canada and the U.S. 

Established brands like Apple and lululemon launched new initiatives in order to compete with digital fitness natives Peloton and Strava. And fitness platform Mindbody partnered with Stripe to better support the businesses that use its booking and check out services. Here is a roundup of fitness companies that went totally virtual this year. 

Peloton Grows Subscriptions 137%, Hits 1.33 Million Users

  • Peloton reported a revenue increase of 232% in its last 2020 quarter.
  • The home fitness company also saw a spike in subscriptions over the quarter: Fitness Subscriptions grew by 137% year-over-year, while digital subscriptions grew 382%.
  • The increases came despite Peloton underperforming in product fulfillment and delivery over the period.

Peloton outperformed expectations with its fiscal Q1 2021 earnings, with the company hitting $757.9 million in revenue over the period, marking a year-over-year increase of 232%.

The fitness company, which sells at-home bicycles and treadmills, also saw its subscription numbers skyrocket. Over its fiscal first quarter, Peloton saw its Fitness Subscriptions—which are subscriptions accessed via Peloton’s devices—increase by 137%, hitting 1.33 million users. Digital subscriptions, which allow users to access Peloton’s classes via their mobile device even if they don’t own a Peloton device, grew 382%, to 510,000 users.

Strava Outlines Expansion as Two Million Users Join Per Month

  • Digital fitness platform Strava has raised $110 million in funding, allowing the startup to expand its features and attract new subscribers.
  • Strava is also reporting that it is adding over two million members per month.
  • Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, home fitness platforms like Strava and Peloton have seen a boost in subscribers.
  • Strava now serves over 70 million members in over 195 countries.

Strava raised $110 million in venture funding late this year. In partnership with investment firms TCV and Sequoia, the startup plans to use the funding to grow the platform’s user base and develop new features. 

Strava added two million athletes per month to its user community in 2020 alone, totaling more than 70 million members in 195 countries. The company also rolled out over 60 new features for athletes. In alignment with Strava’s long-term goal to become “essential for anyone aspiring to live a healthy life”, the company has also teamed up with urban planners and city governments in over 300 cities to help make cities safer for pedestrians and cyclists and encourage an active lifestyle.  

Mindbody, Stripe Partner to Transform Virtual Fitness

  • Fitness platform Mindbody has partnered with payments firm Stripe to help expand the business and reach new digital markets through a streamlined checkout process.
  • As more fitness classes move online due to the pandemic, 70% of Mindbody customers are using video classes instead of in-studio.
  • Mindbody has over 1.3 million monthly users.

As the popularity of virtual fitness classes continues to rise post-pandemic, digital fitness platform Mindbody enlisted payments company Stripe to help drive its expansion through North America and Europe. 

By partnering with Stripe as a payment solutions provider, gyms and yoga studios using Mindbody can now offer an easy, streamlined checkout experience. 

“As the global wellness industry goes through a seismic shift, fitness studios, spas and salons are adapting with technology to stay connected with their customers,” said Dan Chandre, SVP of payments at Mindbody. “With Stripe, we have a global technology partner to help our customers—from Canadian yoga studios to British boxing classes—keep growing and evolving in a new wellness world.”

Apple Launches Digital Workout Platform Apple Fitness+

  • The new subscription service for workout classes, Fitness+, can be used on all Apple devices but is optimized for the Apple Watch.
  • The platform leverages a recommendation engine to analyze a user’s past completed classes and recommend new options that complement their routine.
  • Apple Watch will collect metrics, such as heart rate and calorie burn, while users complete workouts.
  • Workout types available via Apple Fitness+ include cycling, treadmill, rowing, HIIT, strength, yoga, and dance, among others.

Apple launched a new program catered towards those who have taken their fitness regimens from the gym to the living room during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple Fitness+ is a new subscription service that offers workout classes and can be accessed via any Apple device but, because of its biometrics-tracking capabilities, is built especially for use with the Apple Watch.

The program will use a recommendation engine to suggest workout videos to users that complement their current regimen, and users can filter videos by what’s important to them in a workout, whether that is upbeat music, duration, or a preferred trainer. Fitness+ will also sync up with Apple’s Activity function, and users can let friends and family members see their workout progress in Apple Fitness+ with Activity Sharing.

SoulCycle Debuts Digital On-Demand Exercise Bike

  • SoulCycle is launching an at-home bike with streaming and on-demand classes as a competitor to the Peloton bike and a new entrant in the competitive smart home gym space.
  • The SoulCycle bike is $2,500, while Peloton’s basic bike package comes in at around $2,950.
  • SoulCycle will look to top Peloton’s 93% retention rate and community of 2 million cyclists.
  • In order to access classes, users will have to subscribe to Variis for $40 per month.

In competition with Peloton, spin class brand SoulCycle launched its own smart, at-home bike with on-demand classes this year. 

The bike comes with cleats and cycling shoes and users will also be committing to the class-streaming Variis app for a year ($40/month), granting them access to all the classes from SoulCycle’s parent company Equinox Group, including Equinox, Pure Yoga, Precision Run, and HeadStrong. 

Lululemon Enters Home Fitness Market with Mirror Acquisition

  • The $500-million acquisition will mark lululemon’s entry into the home-fitness market.
  • Mirror and lululemon first partnered in 2019 with a content agreement; Mirror will now operate as a standalone business within lululemon.
  • Mirror devices acquired will be sold at 18 Lululemon U.S. stores this holiday season.
  • The devices will feature workouts hosted by Lululemon ambassadors, and users will be able to “Face Off” against one another in fitness challenges.

As home workouts became increasingly popular due to gym and fitness center closures, athletic apparel retailer lululemon this year signed a $500-million agreement to acquire home fitness platform Mirror. The Mirror, which is a large, reflective smart device that transforms into a screen during workouts, will be sold at 18 of its 506 U.S. lululemon stores, with more stores to come in the new year. 

Lululemon announced new programming for the device that includes a feature that allows users to interact with other members using a built-in camera and a function that allows users to “Face Off” against another member in workouts. The Mirror will also allow users to search and follow friends on its platform, earn points for hitting and maintaining target heart rates, and spotlight members who achieve workout milestones. Next year, lululemon will introduce “Sweat Dates”, which will allow friends to organize private workouts with one another.

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