A frequent question among Peloton members these days is – “What is the next product Peloton is coming out with” or “When is Peloton going to release the Peloton Rower or Peloton Strength Device?” Over the past few days, Peloton executives, including CEO John Foley, have provided a little context to help shape those answers regarding what new Peloton equipment might be announced next.
The summary is, at this point, Peloton openly talks about strength related products as something they are working on – but still play naive and refuse to ever say “Peloton Rower” or confirm its existence. They instead will say “other rumored products.” However, their own job listings have mentioned the rower, one may have been spotted in a R&D lab, and there are apparently hidden references to rowing in the Peloton app.
Peloton executives have also openly said that they hope to have one or more new products announced by the end of June 2022. Based on this, and their heavy emphasis in their comments about strength, one might assume that a Peloton Strength product might be released towards the end of 2021 / early 2022, with a Peloton Rower on the roadmap for Spring or Summer 2022. However, read on and make your own conclusions – quotes from the Peloton team are all included below.
Note that for the context of most of these questions, Peloton products are referring to hardware like the Bike, Tread, Rower, or Strength devices. With that said, there is also a rumored new Peloton accessory, the Peloton Heart Rate Band, which is reportedly being actively beta tested by some members.
At the end of last week, Peloton held a call with investors to release their Q4 2021 & FY 2021 earnings data. In his opening comments, Peloton CEO John Foley mentioned how Peloton continues to invest in new hardware products [emphasis ours]:
We believe that we are still in the first inning of connected fitness industry growth and we have the opportunity to extend our leadership as the pioneer of this category. Our strategy remains constant. We will continue to invest aggressively behind new hardware products, software experiences, and content offerings for both cardio and strength training, the two pillars of physical fitness.
This isn’t the first time John Foley has mentioned Peloton investing in new products. In fact, at the previous earnings call that took place in May 2021, John Foley specifically stated that the current plan was for Peloton to launch new Peloton products & hardware before the end of the 2022 fiscal year – so by June 30th, 2022.
During the Q&A session with investors that took place after the earnings call last week (in August 2021), John Foley was specifically asked if he could provide any insight into what additional products that might be launching this year. This is how he answered [emphasis & bolding is ours]:
New products, unfortunately, we can’t talk too much about them, which is frustrating to me, because I am super excited about a lot of these new platforms that I get to experience and see in the R&D pipeline. We have said that strength is a key priority for this year. There is some rumors of some other products that we might be working on. But I will say to Jill’s earlier point about manufacturing scale, we’re pretty focused. We don’t have 50 new platforms in the R&D pipeline. We have a few that we’re very excited about that we think are going to be staples in our portfolio.
And several of them have been we’ve been working on for several years. So this should be a big year for our members and the new product pipeline. And we look forward to sharing information as soon as it’s available.
One key thing to note is he did not explicitly clarify if he was talking about the calendar year, or fiscal year in this context. And “rumors of some other products” here likely refers to the rower.
Also, John Foley’s view on Peloton’s approach to strength has changed over the years. He had previously alluded to thinking that Peloton might be able to win strength with just extra content, but now it appears clear that they are taking a hardware-based approach to strength. The physical form of the hardware is still a bit of a mystery. However, it appears Peloton might try to win strength with two very different hardware devices.
One device, originally codenamed Peloton Tiger but potentially now called “Peloton Focus”, is rumored to work like a Microsoft Kinect device, or a small webcam. You could plug it into a TV you already have, and the Peloton Focus could track your form, provide form feedback, and possibly count reps for you. This would be a lower cost product for people looking to dip their toes into strength, who might be happy with the free weights they already have.
Peloton is also reportedly experimenting with a full-blown strength hardware experience. Many people wonder if they will try to directly take on Tonal, who are seen as a leader in the connected strength category. However, according to a survey sent to members, Peloton’s strength hardware might look very different from that. Reported to be called the “Peloton Platform”, it might literally be a platform, with pulleys and cables that come out from the platform to provide the resistance & strength training. Note that Peloton is likely researching many form factors for their strength product, so there is no guarantee the final Peloton strength product that is released would look like the rumored Peloton Platform device.
The day after the earnings call, John Foley sat down for an interview with Bloomberg. He was again directly asked about new Peloton products – “So what else is on the Peloton road roadmap that investors can get excited about? We’ve reported on some potential new products – a rower, a strength training machine, a new heart rate wearable – What are the status of those?”
John Foley again alluded new new platforms coming sometime this year, but wasn’t more specific than that:
So we we just reported yesterday that 10% of our revenue has gone into R&D. So we have so many fantastic new platforms, to your point Emily, across all kinds of different opportunities and new platforms that we’re excited to bring to market. We’ve said that this year is going to be a big big year for launching these new platforms. We have nothing to talk about today but I can assure you that we’ve got a lot of
cool stuff. We’re not stopping at a bike or the tread category.
You can see this exchange here on YouTube, or embedded below:
John Foley is not the only Peloton executive talking about new products. Also in the earnings call last week, a follow-up question was asked regarding if the delayed launch of the Peloton Tread (which was officially released on August 30th) would impact the timeline to launch any of the rumored new products. Specifically, if they might need to delay any of the new product launches in order to market and get the word out about the Tread – and not have to be marketing multiple new product types at once too close together. Peloton’s President William Lynch responded to that question.
If you look at our R&D spend that Jill noted, we’ve never been this prolific in terms of investment in exciting new products. And so, we do think about the marketing and sales calendar. We do think about how to make sure we execute and drive the awareness that we need to in each product. And we’re not mixing messages in the marketplace and Tread with low awareness right now we see as a massive opportunity.
Having said that, as John noted, we’re not done and we’re investing heavily. We — the strength category is definitely been something we’ve been thinking about and investing in for a long time. And so we’ll — as John noted, nothing to announce here, but definitely it’s something we’re looking towards in the near future.
Peloton’s 2021 year-end report shows that Peloton spent $247.8 million on Research & Development in FY 2021 – or 6.2% of their annual revenue. In FY 2020, Peloton spent $89 million on R&D – or 4.9%. Peloton notes that some of this change was from “an increase of $49.4 million in product development and research costs associated with development of new software features and products.”
What product do you think we’ll be seeing next?
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I’m personally most interested in a wearable, given their recent acquisition of ATLAS.