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Peloton's $2,245 exercise bike is a 'new' kind of status symbol: Brand consultant

Jennifer Shanker
Production Assistant

The exercise bike company Peloton (PTON) has taken the world by storm, boosting its revenue to over $900 million in the past year alone. The company, whose core product is a $2,245 internet-connected bike, made its debut on the Nasdaq on Thursday, opening at $27 per share.

In its S-1 filing, the company describes itself as more than just a fitness company — it says its a tech, media, software, retail, and a social connection company.

Beyond these labels, one brand consultant believes that Peloton’s unique way of doing things pushes past a one-dimensional business model, representing status in a new light.

“You're literally at home by yourself, but you're connected to a community of potential millions, you know? So it's very unique. And it signals status in a new way,” said Chuck Welch, founder of Brand Consultant agency Rupture, on YFi AM on Thursday.

President of Peloton William Lynch and employees celebrate ringing the opening bell for the company's IPO at the Nasdaq Market site in New York City, New York, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

“Where before you had to put on a Rolex watch or Mercedes-Benz, now when somebody comes into your home, they see the Peloton bike, and that says something about you,” he added. “And it's very intimate, where it's not showy, but it still kind of signals status in a new way.”

Still, Peloton has to position itself as more than a bike company if it wants to continue growing, Welch suggested. In addition to the bike, Peloton also has a $4,295 treadmill and an app that offers everything from power walking to meditation to yoga to strength training.

“I don't see them as a bike company...I see them as a wellness company. So if you say, OK, wellness is my purview, then that opens me up to get off the bike, and it becomes, how can I serve my customer base through all these different means, whether it's CBD, whether it's supplements, whether it's meet-ups, whether it's music concerts, new products? Hell, Peloton could create its own new fitness model where people actually get off the bike and go into the gym.”

In Welch’s eyes, the company has the energy it needs to maintain its following and profitability. “I think they have a very unique model. They kind of pioneered a new liminal space that's not quite digital, not quite physical. It kind of sits in between.”


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