The pandemic-fueled craze for exercise bikes like Peloton — with on-screen trainers urging couch potatoes to feel the burn — is apparently over.
Instead, treadmills — with furious trainers replaced in some cases by streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video — have regained a foothold in many homes after the Peloton implosion, industry insiders told The Post.
Lou Lentine – chief executive of fitness equipment company Echelon Fit, which sells treadmills and stationary bikes – projects a 40% increase in treadmill sales in the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier.
Peloton also sells both types of fitness equipment, but does not release sales figures.
You don’t need a trainer to tell you to exercise more each day, Lentine said. People want to do 30 minutes of cardio, but they also want to watch the latest show on Netflix.
The evidence was borne out in sales figures and searches for competing home machines last year, according to Jungle Scout, a data and analytics platform for e-commerce sellers at Amazon.com.
Treadmill sales are up 99% year-on-year, compared with a 3% drop in exercise bike sales, according to Jungle Scout, which cited data through Aug. 26.
What’s more, Amazon searches in that period that include the word treadmill outnumber “exercise bike” — 106,087 per week to 35,303, according to data from Jungle Scout.
Peloton made bikes all the rage, but now that its marketing machine has cooled down, treadmills are hotter than ever, Lentine said.
Customers have been brainwashed into buying bikes, Lentine added, noting that treadmills have always outnumbered bikes in gyms.
The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company’s mats, which start at $1,300 and can go as high as $4,000, are sold at Walmart, Costco, Dicks Sporting Goods and Amazon. Peloton treadmills cost about $3,000.
Echelon plans to launch five new treadmills at different prices and with different features over the next six months, Lentine said.
They will include models that can stream Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video along with news providers, as well as offering Zoom capabilities as more workers shift to hybrid programming in the wake of the pandemic.
We want to see if people can make a Zoom call while they’re[training]Lentine said.
By contrast, sales of Echelon’s line of exercise bikes have stagnated.
“We have a large inventory of bicycles,” said Lentine. “We are not doing many new orders for bicycles.”
Echelon and other fitness equipment makers are still soaking up excess bike inventory built up during the pandemic, when demand soared.
The shift back to treadmills by fitness fans comes amid Peloton’s spectacular slump, following a wave of negative publicity that has included product recalls and lawsuits related to customer injuries, including the death of a child.
Its share price closed Friday at $6.50, down from $160 a share during the height of the pandemic.
Last year, Peloton was forced to cut costs and laid off more than 5,000 employees. Its founder and CEO, John Foley, stepped down and recalled his original bike because the seatpost was unexpectedly breaking.
In the most recent quarter, Peloton reported that the number of subscribers decreased by 29,000 due to the recall.
The company launched an entertainment option on its screens this summer, equipping them with Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and YouTube and has been testing other streaming providers like Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO Max.
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