Digital fitness goes from strength-to-strength

At-home fitness start-ups are muscling up as gyms file for bankruptcy.

In the past week;

- Apple announced its own virtual fitness product (Fitness Plus).

- Peloton rival, Zwift, reached unicorn status after a mega $450m funding round.

- Tonal, a personal training platform, raised $110M in funding, including backing from star athletes.

The pandemic has exploded the market for digital fitness. While there were 183m gym memberships globallyin 2019, many people have shifted to online workouts during the pandemic.

And Peloton CEO John Foley believes that Apple’s endorsement (due to its release of Fitness Plus) is a “legitimization” of digital, ‘at-home’, fitness content. And Tonal CEO, Aly Orady, also agrees, "It is further validation that the world has shifted to workout-at-home."

That said, Peloton doesn’t believe Apple is a direct threat to their business. Peloton is able to separate itself with its hardware (i.e. high-tech spin bikes and treadmills), which Apple isn’t planning to offer customers. Likewise, Tonal also has pricey proprietary equipment (Tonal’s strength training machine costs $2,995).

Zwift, on the other hand, could become a much more direct competitor for the New York-based company. Having received $450m in funding, Zwift’s investment will go toward accelerating the development of the company’s core software platform and to bring Zwift-designed hardware to market (i.e. a Zwift bike).

With Peloton and Zwift going head-to-head, there’s an expectation that the hardware needed for ‘at-home’ fitness will start to increase in affordability, hugely boosting the industry’s future appeal. Expect future investment imminent...

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