At home exercise used to be aerobics with Jane Fonda on a VCR which evolved to P90X and other DVD products. In today’s competitive digital age, the convince of working out at home is not enough.
Today, Peloton is usually the first name that comes to mind for at home exercise. Devoted at home cyclists, viral ads, and a recent IPO have highlighted the promise of digital fitness solutions for the home. Peloton has a cult-like following of over 1.4 million users. Buying the at home exercise bike costs $2,245 and at about $40 per month, users can attend classes, track their statistics, and get shout outs from trainers or other members. Peloton started in 2012 and IPO in September 2019 at $29 per share, a valuation of about $8.1 billion. This product was first in disrupting the gym industry through a digital platform and highlights the opportunity for digital in the at home fitness landscape. Due to the hardware, Peloton is seeing limitations in its solutions and has put a cap on its ability to scale beyond cycling. (True, they have entered into the treadmill space, but this has the same conceptual limitation factors that any large equipment, geared towards one general motion, would face.)
Mirror is a new entrant into the at home fitness market. At first glance, it looks like any other mirror but can display fitness programs, live instructor programs, your workout data, and contains speakers, a microphone and camera to better facilitate your workout. It also comes with a heart monitor with straps but you can sync up to your apple watch if you prefer. Mirror provides some of the same benefits that Peloton does- at home convenience, membership into weekly or direct classes, data around performance statistics, a community, and a less high, but still costly hardware buy-in and subscription model ($1,495 for the mirror and $39 for a monthly subscription). Founded in 2016 by a Harvard Alumni, Mirror finalized its series B at the end of 2019, totaling $74 million and is evaluated at over $300 million.
The successes that support this evaluation of Mirror is largely compounded by four key elements: firstly, the buy-in to the concept has been paved (fast-follower), secondly, there are less limitations implicated by the hardware, thirdly, strategic partnerships and endorsements, and lastly, expansion beyond the at home fitness industry.
Mirror does not have to put in the resources to educate the public and its target base around what at home fitness is like, the high cost of the hardware, or the subscription model for classes. As a first mover, Peloton did much of this heavy lifting to solidify this idea to a large user base. Mirror can ride the “Peloton wave” into peoples’ homes with much less friction than Peloton faced.
-Vast Fitness Possibilities
Mirror’s hardware takes up far less space than a Peloton or treadmill but that is just one aspect of differentiation. While competitors focus on exercises that are dependent on the hardware (cycling or treadmill), Mirror’s hardware allows for users to engage in a multitude of fitness routines. Yoga, HIIT, barre, boxing, and weight training are just a few of the options Mirror subscribers have access to in the comfort of their own homes. The impact of this digital solution taps into the global network of popular, alternative, and newly trendy exercises that can be led by instructors around the world at a user’s convenience. Importantly, this product can adapt with budding trends or cultural influences in fitness where its competitors cannot. Before the next Zumba becomes a staple in fitness centers, a curated version could be transported to your home. You might have such a good time that you have your friends join the following class and join the Mirror community. Similarly, with personalized data and preferences, these new types of workouts or communities can be appropriately surfaced to targeted users. If the workout requires additional equipment, such as light free weights, there is a potential marketplace created as well. This alludes to the potential Mirror has beyond fitness.
– Expansion Beyond Fitness Possibilities
While Mirror is currently marketed as a digital fitness tool, its applications could go far beyond toning your abs. The healthcare sector is booming in telehealth solutions and Mirror is poised to leverage their hardware and data in order to deliver this care to users. The large interface, camera, speaker, and mic all provide the basics for many levels of care. Mental health visits or physical therapy could be done through Mirror’s platform. Taking physical therapy as an example, a user has personalized data about their preference and ability to do a specific yoga class. This means not only tailored versions of yoga poses to make sure you don’t irritate a recent injury, but also an avenue for customized physical therapy and live feedback to speed up that same issue. Strength and flexibility can be captured through both the yoga session and the physical therapy session or perhaps one can substitute the other. Either way, tracking the exercises and performance on them can be recorded and sent to the user’s provider. Again, this is just one example of how mirror could expand into other markets and create a vast amount of value; the possibilities are plentiful (teaching courses for sign language, augmented reality that allows potential buys to try on clothes before purchasing, and as social networking platform to name a few).
– Initial Fitness/Lifestyle Partner
With the environment primed, large scope into areas of fitness as well as the potential to move beyond, it is no wonder that large fitness clothing retailers would be an attractive partner; Lululemon thought so too. The digital presence that Lululemon currently has through its social media and online retail would help launch Mirror into already well established communities that largely fit Mirrors target demographic. Mirror’s digital platform will get a boost with engaged community members as well as potentially providing feedback to investors like Lululemon about their products (eg. are users wearing the clothes during workouts, non workouts while using the camera, ways to surface items in curated manner to buyers).
The future holds many potential avenues for Mirror but even as a fitness solution, this digital offering opens doors where its competitors have not. Mirror is positioned to tap into multiple markets given its hardware, digital technology, and social connectivity.
“Fitness Start Up Mirror Raises”. 2020. Techcrunch.Com. https://techcrunch.com/2019/06/03/fitness-startup-mirror-nears-300m-valuation/ https://www.businessinsider.com/lululemon-karlie-kloss-invest-mirror-2019-10.
Owens, Jeremy. 2020. “Peloton IPO: 5 Things To Know About The Interactive Exercise-Machine Company”. Marketwatch. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/peloton-ipo-five-things-to-know-about-the-interactive-exercise-machine-company-2019-08-28.
“Peloton Ad Is Criticized As Sexist And Dystopian”. 2020. Nytimes.Com. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/03/business/peloton-bike-ad-stock.html.
WIRE, BUSINESS. 2020. “MIRROR Announces $34 Million In New Funding”. Businesswire.Com. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191030005189/en/MIRROR-Announces-34-Million-New-Funding.