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COVID-19

Competition for indoor exercise sector heats up as cold weather approaches

Erika Beras Sep 9, 2020
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A Peloton stationary bike sits on display at one of the fitness company's studios. Scott Heins/Getty Images
COVID-19

Competition for indoor exercise sector heats up as cold weather approaches

Erika Beras Sep 9, 2020
Heard on:
A Peloton stationary bike sits on display at one of the fitness company's studios. Scott Heins/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Peloton, the exercise company, is dropping the price on its original bike to under $2,000. It’s also launching a more expensive bike, checking in at nearly $2,500. The company reports earnings Thursday.

Before the pandemic, Peloton’s pricey interconnected exercise equipment appealed to a certain demographic. Then came stay-at-home orders.

Peloton sales grew and grew, and now according to Landon Luxembourg, an analyst with Third Bridge, Peloton is essentially saying, “we’ve already captured the people that we were able to capture during the pandemic. Now let’s expand our base even more. And one way to do this is to provide a lower price piece of hardware.”

Peloton also offers subscriptions for exercise streaming classes, but now lots of gyms and studios have live online classes as well.  

Walter Thompson is the former president of the American College of Sports Medicine. He said the competition is heating up as the pandemic heads into the fall.

And these sports-tech companies may realize that Americans are thinking, “I know it’s going to be cold. I’m not going to want to go outside so I need an alternative,” added Thompson.

For those customers, Peloton and other companies may be betting that interconnected exercise equipment is that alternative.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?

It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.

How are Americans spending their money these days?

Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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