LONDON, United Kingdom — This month Italian fitness company Technogym launched its long-anticipated Technogym Bike, a smart indoor exercise bike to rival the hugely successful Peloton model.
The launch has been unveiled with support from London boutique fitness studio 1Rebel, which this week rolled out Ride Live, providing members with unlimited access to stream spin classes with its most popular trainers on the Technogym device, at-home or in the gym.
The platform is part of an integrated network made up of smart equipment, the “mywellness cloud” and apps that form the Technogym Ecosystem, which the company says is active in 15,000 fitness and wellness centres around the world.
Technogym’s founder and CEO believes this interconnected matrix of products and digital content will enable the company to compete in a rapidly growing digital fitness market that research group Mintel recently estimated at £4.9 billion in the UK alone.
“Variety and personalisation will be the keywords for the future of the wellness and fitness industry,” Nerio Alessandri told Welltodo. “The digital revolution is empowering people to look for unique experiences and digital technology and artificial intelligence will be more and more important to understand your customer’s profile and to deliver personalised services.”
Thanks to Technogym’s “Apple-like model”, Alessandri added, the company has developed a connected ecosystem made up of innovative technology, engaging content and now with the bike, is enabling third-party operators such as 1Rebel to recreate its studio experience in peoples’ homes.
The dawn of a new era
Technogym has been leading the adoption of digital fitness solutions since 1996 when it launched the first software system to integrate and manage training at the gym and in 2012 when the brand released its cloud computing platform connecting fitness equipment with apps and wearable devices.
But more recently tech startups such as Peloton, which was founded in 2012, have set the pace on revolutionising the home workout market. Now, with Technogym Bike and its open digital platform which allows brands such as 1Rebel to reach consumers beyond the studio, the Italian company is looking to quickly make up ground.
Technogym has hinted the bike is the first in an array of connected products including a rowing machine and treadmill, focused on different activities such as running, bootcamp classes, rowing and boxing — all to be hosted on the Technogym Live open platform.
Although Alessandri would not confirm it, he did say the bike launch was the dawn of a new age for the 35-year-old Italian company. After focusing on product, software and digital technologies, he said the bike now represents “the first step of a new era: the contents era”.
With the emergence of Peloton along with innovative brands such as Flywheel, Fiit, Pivot, Hydrow and Mirror, the interactive digital fitness market is booming, with Mintel predicting further growth to £5.3 billion by 2023.
Mintel also found that 47% of gym-goers in the UK would consider cancelling their gym membership due to the wide variety of at-home digital choices now available to them – numbers which only reinforce Technogym’s move into the home workout arena.
Alessandri added: “We will continue to invest in innovation to ensure growth to the whole industry, to create unique and irresistible experiences for the end-user and to guarantee value to operators in strategic partnerships.”
Peloton sets the pace
Early signs from Technogym’s chief competitor Peloton, according to data from CB Insights, suggests consumers are already hooked on the at-home workout model.
CB Insights’ data revealed Peloton saw a 12-month subscriber retention rate of 95% – an impressive feat given 22% of traditional gym members stopped going six months into their membership.
And despite a shaky debut on the stock market, which saw shares drop 11% in September when the company went public, the Californian company this week announced plans to release two new pieces of fitness equipment next year, including a new cheaper treadmill at a more accessible price point than the current $4,000 model, and a rowing machine.
As reported by Bloomberg, Peloton is also considering options to link its smartphone software to Apple Watch and Amazon’s Fire TV, signalling a potential new phase of expansion for the brand.
Beyond cycling, Peloton offers bootcamp-style workouts, meditation and yoga classes through apps which don’t require expensive equipment. Peloton said it has more than 500,000 paying subscribers with users taking nearly a dozen workouts per month on average.
While Peloton launched its stationary bike at $1,995 (£1,554) and a $39 (£30) subscription, the Technogym Bike retails at £2,450 with a monthly subscription of £39. To soften the blow, 1Rebel is offering a finance plan of £99 per month across three years, including a subscription to all 1Rebel content.
From the Technogym Bike console, you can choose your favourite session based on the trainer, music and duration, and join live classes from London with 1Rebel, New York with Rumble and Milan with Revolution by Virgin Active. Technogym says more studios are soon to join from Europe, the US and Asia.
1Rebel co-founder James Balfour commented: “1Rebel has made its mark as a disruptor brand with a loyal following. Now, we want to extend our ‘fitness as entertainment’ concept directly into consumer’s homes.
“Not only will this partnership with Technogym allow us to challenge an existing market with our premium class offerings, it will transport consumers into our revolutionary Victoria studio, empowering RIDE members to take our bold and unapologetic values into their homes.”
With the launch of this new vertical, 1Rebel believes its valuation is set to increase significantly.