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Why Isn’t Peloton’s Cult Brand Enough?

July 15, 2021
November 16, 2021
Kelsey Donk

Peloton had a stellar 2020 — but 2021 hasn’t been as kind to the exercise bike company. Even a culty brand with a devoted fan base has to answer to larger market forces.

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Can “Peloton Wife” ever rest? 

The meme from the 2019 holiday ad returned to Twitter this week when Peloton stock plunged.

Three key forces may be working against Peloton’s culty “boutique fitness” brand and employee-influencer marketing.

Gym workouts are back. 

Planet Fitness memberships are soaring, and some say Peloton’s 2020 product-market fit was a pandemic fad.

“It’ll never be the same as it was at the height of the pandemic and isolation,” Peloton devotee and Culture Study writer Anne Helen Petersen told MarketerHire.

Marketing spend is unusually high.

When Peloton reported a net loss of $376M earlier this month, some blamed its $284M marketing spend. 

Most companies spend ~9% of revenue on marketing, according to the 2021 CMO survey  — and Peloton’s at 35%. 

Supply chain issues have created backlogs.

In June 2020, Peloton had $230M in backlogged orders. 

So it spent $1B+ this year on improving its production and distribution — and warned that it could ding profits. Seems it did!

And Peloton’s delivery FAQ still says wait times are longer than normal. 

Our takeaway?

Peloton’s culty brand and heavy marketing spend can only grow its user base so fast for so long.

“The goal now has to be maintaining their memberships and expanding in different markets and slowly recruiting more members, too,” Petersen said.

Kelsey Donk
about the author

Kelsey Donk is a writer at MarketerHire. Before joining MarketerHire full-time, Kelsey was a freelance writer and loved working with small businesses to level up their content. When she isn't writing, Kelsey can be found gardening or walking her dogs all around Minneapolis.

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