Peloton has been plagued with troubles recently. First there were safety concerns with its treadmills. Then there was negative PR as popular shows depicted characters suffering heart attacks while riding. Finally, there was an announcement this week of layoffs for 2,800 employees and a new CEO. But will Peloton’s loyal customer base ride on? In today’s Insight Flash, we use our newly launched Subscription dashboard as well as our CE Web data to look at Peloton’s retention over time, how it has compared to other workouts in attracting new customers, and whether class innovation has led to expanded adoption.
Peloton subscribers are very loyal to the company’s classes. Even the earliest cohort of new subscribers saw 50% returning monthly as late as two years after their first class. Interestingly, the 2019Q4 cohort of shoppers who may have received their equipment as a gift before the pandemic started are the most loyal, with 60% still paying a monthly fee two years later. This data confirms the low subscriber churn numbers new CEO Barry McCarthy cited in his email to the remaining Peloton employees.
Not only does Peloton foster loyalty, but it has been adept at attracting new shoppers as well. Although newer competitors like Tonal and Mirror have seen higher growth in new shoppers at holiday time, this growth is off a much lower base, and Peloton holds its own the rest of the year. New customers have been on average about 2x January 2020 levels since June 2020, reaching as high as 3x January 2020 levels in March 2021.
Although Peloton has done well with new customers, it hasn’t done quite as well innovating new workouts. Cycling has been the bulk of live workouts taken on the Peloton platform, making up at least two-thirds of Peloton workouts since the beginning of 2019. Strength training has been the second-most popular workout, but has grown slowly and was only able to eke out a double-digit percentage of classes taken in the second half of last year. Despite Peloton’s foray into treadmills, Running and Walking classes combined represented only about 5% of total workouts for the last three years, growing slightly to 7% in the last quarter of 2021. If McCarthy can further accelerate Peloton’s growth through new, innovative content drawing on his experience at Netflix and Spotify, Peloton may be a long way from its top speed.