Nearly two years ago, a dark spell fell over the world and has kept us in its twisted thrall ever since. I’m not talking about COVID-19. I’m referring to Peloton, which burst into the mainstream consciousness in late 2019 with a controversially controversial ad and, in the months since, as the coronavirus began forcing people indoors and shuttering gyms, has been nigh unavoidable in public conversation. People are all like: Peloton this, Peloton that, I love my $2,000 stationary bike, have you taken the class with Adrian yet? Against my will, I’ve somehow learned through osmosis that Peloton was seeing record sales during the pandemic, that its treadmill killed a kid, and that the company’s fitness instructors are so popular they have become their own class of influencer. ENOUGH.
Well, it may all finally be over now. Peloton’s shares are tanking after the company reported on Thursday it must slash its full-year sales forecast by up to $1 billion, and that sales of its stationary bikes and treadmills fell by 17 percent in the first fiscal quarter. CNN reports that revenue grew “just 6% to $805 million” in the quarter that just ended, which seems like a fantastic amount of money to me, but is apparently below expectations, which explains what’s happening on the stock market. Per CNN again: “The news wiped away about $9 billion off Peloton's market value … The stock is on track to lose about 70% year-to-date.”
The reason? It seems that, as more people get vaccinated and businesses reopen, people are returning to the gym in person, as evidenced by Planet Fitness’s strong earnings report.
It seems like this was always going to happen, one way or another (once people buy a Peloton, it’s not like they need a second one), so I do feel that Peloton should have been ready for this possibility. However, out of a misplaced sense of pity, I am prepared to offer one (1) business idea to the company for free: It’s time to release another discourse-roiling advertisement — this one, perhaps, about how we all need to feel more shame over our “pandemic bodies?” Just spitballing here. You’re welcome, Peloton.