The pandemic has treated certain businesses more favorably than others. Big box retailers, e-commerce giants, and video communication companies are all considered “winners” of the COVID crisis. And then there’s home fitness and its reigning champion, Peloton.
Peloton has more than quadrupled in value to over $40 billion during the pandemic. As of September, over 1.3 million Peloton members own its bikes or treadmills, more than double from a year earlier. But the company’s success is coming with some significant setbacks.
Customers who purchased their 2,500-dollar bikes as far back as autumn are still waiting for their deliveries, according to a new report from the New York Times. Some buyers are getting their delivery dates pushed back a month; some delivery trucks aren’t even showing up.
Peloton has grown at an untenable speed, as the branded lifestyle outpaces the company’s resources. Earlier in the pandemic, as demand was surging, Peloton struggled to navigate factory and warehouse shutdowns, delivery delays, and closed ports.
Delivery wait times grew over the summer while Peloton continued to advertise and sell bikes. Demand (and COVID cases) spiked again in the fall and into the holiday rush — along with widespread Christmas shipping delays — and the company was at a loss.
It’s not for lack of trying. Peloton has been ramping up hiring efforts for its Service Delivery and Field Operations departments, after clearly underestimating the need over the summer. In July, there were just 7 Service Delivery job openings. There are now 19 open positions.
The Field Operations department — which includes warehouse workers, bike service technicians, in-home assembly specialists, and seasonal delivery roles — increased job listings by 40% from July to October last year. But listings have since dropped as delivery delays endure.
These openings are mainly located in California and New York, followed by Texas and Illinois. Peloton’s California operations needed extra support, as wildfires and congested ports worsened shipping delays.
Peloton is resorting to pricier shipping methods, the Times reports, transporting some bikes by plane to avoid ports. In December, the company acquired US-based fitness manufacturer Precor for $420 million, which will allow Peloton to start manufacturing bikes in America later this year.
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.