May 25, 2021

What the fitness industry can learn from Peloton's gamified fitness

The New York-based fitness startup Peloton is able to sell consumers a $2.500 interactive fitness bike, plus an additional $49 monthly subscription. Compare that to my $25 gym subscription and the difference is insane, right?


If I would like to use a Peloton bike, the first year of acquisition would cost me a whopping $3.100 in total to use it. Again, think about what I pay my gym per month. Peloton's earnings are so far off from what a Dutch gym earns from me or any other gym member, that is mind-blowing! The customer lifetime value of a gym member, the revenue a gym makes from one customer in the time it remains a customer, is $400 dollar. This means that Peloton earns 8x more from a customer in their FIRST year than a gym will ever do in total.


I would have guessed that a gym with its various gym equipment, group classes and services would be more attractive than just one indoors interactive fitness bike at home. But I guess I am wrong.


So where is this difference coming from? It's not fair to attribute Peloton’s success entirely to the Covid-restrictions. Sure, gyms had to close but the US company was growing rapidly beforehand too. The success is also not entirely a result of the American way of selling and doing marketing. It must be something else, something that gyms can adopt as well.

The matter of the fact is that Peloton creates a lot of value for its users. In the last years the company has proven that users buy their product and do not return it. Additionally, Peloton has shown that it can take bikers off the roads and put them on their bikes indoors. Third, Peloton made fitness about gaming and people are loving it!


The fitness industry was mainly focused on their product aesthetics, instead of solving their customers’ problems. Often people found gyms and fitness boring and they did not achieved any results, so many members unsubscribed at least once in their lifetime. Consumers were right though, it was not them but fitness that was faulted. So, Peloton decided to do things differently. They listened to potential users, used proven concepts to improve fitness and as a results their products are:

  • Fun;
  • Motivational;
  • Inspirational; and
  • Innovative.

As a result, Peloton is now the shiny and new company on the block, they are outcompeting everyone else in the fitness industry and users will never want to go back to how things were.


So, what is there to learn from the NYC-based fitness company? One, users like new products that create real value for them. Two, games and digitisation improve the fitness experience of users. Three, if you do these two things right, users are willing to spend (much) more money on their fitness activities.