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5.28.20   4:10 PM Innovation - Consumer

Living rooms are the new gyms: How Peloton, Mirror, Echelon, and others compare

People are buying Peloton and Bowflex products to get jacked when they emerge from quarantine.

As gyms across the country remain closed up, consumers are extending work from home into their workouts. Since working out outside brings with it the risk of exposure, so many Americans are working on their home gyms. As a result, consumer fitness brands are on the rise almost across the board.

PELOTON

Peloton ($PTON) was subject to the same caginess from investors around its fall IPO debut that unicorns like WeWork and Uber were, but the pandemic may have proved the at-home fitness company is more resilient than it seemed. Job openings are way up after an impressive earnings report, and engagement is increasing.

Back in mid-March as stay-at-home advisories went into full effect, Peloton’s home workout app sat at 131,000 reviews on the App Store. Since then, it’s seen a 97% increase up to 259,000. 

That massive growth matches its share price, which has seen a 105% increase up to an all-time high of $45.81 per share just before Memorial Day weekend. 

Peloton’s social media metrics are also bursting. Twitter followers have increased by 45% since the new year and its Facebook Like count has increased by 80,000.

NAUTILUS

While Peloton reigns supreme, Nautilus’ ($NLS) success shows that there’s still apartment space to go around. Ringing in with bikes at $949 compared to Peloton’s $2,245, Nautilus positions itself as the more affordable option between the two.

The star of many a corny 90s infomercial, Nautilus’ flagship brand Bowflex finally saw an increase in its long-dormant Twitter following to 12,100 followers after spending all of 2019 failing to break 11,500. Nautilus’ share price has seen an increase to match, rising from a near decade-low of $1.29 at the end of March up to $6.34 by market close Friday. 

Unlike Peloton, Nautilus has slowed up hiring with only 6 openings, but saw a 203-person increase in its Linkedin headcount days before it posted earnings. Perhaps employees were urged to update their information ahead of the announcement.

Nautilus’ and Peloton’s success is somewhat tied together, as many Nautilus machines also provide access to Peloton’s fitness apps. 

MIRROR and ECHELON

Smaller fitness brands are also reaping benefits, but struggling to break through the market share controlled by companies like Peloton. Mirror ($PRIVATE:MIRROR), which sells a large wall-mounted “smart mirror” which gives access to virtual personal trainers and fitness classes, sits closer to Peloton on the price spectrum, selling its device for $1,495. That’s still $800 cheaper than the competition, but Mirror has had trouble breaking through against Peloton’s brand recognition. 

Still, it’s seeing an increase in user metrics and may eventually break that ceiling. Twitter and Facebook followings are up 52% and 24% respectively from January. Hiring has not increased or decreased meaningfully since January whereas Peloton is surging.

Echelon ($PRIVATE:ECHELONFIT) is trying to break through on multiple fronts, offering its “Echelon Reflect” to compete with Mirror, “Connect” bikes to compete with Peloton and offering its own rowing machine.

And Echelon is experiencing significant growth. It’s Linkedin headcount is at 40 — two times the size of its staff at the start of the year. Likewise, Twitter and Facebook followings have increased by 131% and 75% respectively in the same time period. But growth doesn’t tell the whole story if your overall following doesn’t make a drop in the water against competitors.

Echelon hasn’t hit 1,000 followers on Twitter yet while Peloton and Bowflex sit pretty in the tens of thousands. Even on Facebook where it has a larger following that is sneaking up on Mirror, it fails to make a dent against the two top competitors.

Still, if Echelon can keep up this pace of growth, it won’t be long before it starts creeping up on the competition. If the pandemic stretches on or consumer habits continue to lean more towards home exercise equipment, we’ll see which of these competitors has the most room left to rise.

NIKE

Even Nike ($NKE) is getting in on some of the action. Despite a brutal loss in value at the beginning of March, Nike’s stock has quickly rebounded back to pre-pandemic levels.

This may be due in part to Nike’s suite of apps dedicated to home fitness. Even its flagship store app has seen a steady rise in users despite record levels of unemployment. 

When we last wrote about Nike, social metrics were its saving grace against bleak financial results, and naysayers thought the looming retail apocalypse would put it in dangerous waters. Those metrics have continued to climb upwards alongside its value, and Nike may be positioned to leap out of the pandemic towards further success.

FITBIT

On the other side of the spectrum lies Fitbit ($FIT), whose stumblings prove that being a consumer fitness brand isn’t enough on its own to ensure growth in the time of COVID-19. While so far it’s avoided layoffs that have plagued other tech companies, its earnings haven’t been too kind. Sales and revenue are down 26% and 24% respectively, which the company blames on having one new product for release this quarter as compared to three last year.

Job postings are also down 66% since the new year. It’s Linkedin headcount has also hardly changed year-over-year, hovering at around the 2,000 mark. Still, Fitbit’s share price has held relatively steady through the crisis, hovering around the same $6.50 benchmark it began the year at.

A Fitbit may be an easier sell when racking up 6,000 steps per day doesn’t also mean exposing yourself to a pandemic. For now, consumers have spoken that they prefer to keep their workouts at home.

What’s yet to be seen is whether that will stay the case. If home workouts and gym equipment continue to sell at current rates, brick-and-mortar competitors may find themselves reopening fewer locations than they locked up.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 


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