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Can Peloton Continue Its Torrid Growth After the Pandemic?

By Brian Withers - Feb 23, 2021 at 7:33AM

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Here's what to watch.

Peloton's (PTON -1.49%) growth has been aided by pandemic tailwinds for the last year and the company is still scrambling to meet the unprecedented demand for its popular spin bikes. Revenue growth has been overwhelmingly powered by fulfilling these expensive pieces of exercise gear. The big question on investors' minds is what happens to growth after the company eliminates its bike backlog and the world gets vaccinated.

On a Feb. 5 Fool Live episode, Motley Fool contributor Brian Withers discusses what Peloton investors should watch as consumers move into a post-pandemic world.

Brian Withers: Lots of numbers here. I just wanted to split out 82% of the revenues coming from products. You can sell one $2,000 bike, that's way more than a $13 [per] month subscription. You're going to see this, the subscriptions over the course of the year has gone up a little bit. But most of their revenue comes from this product sale.

Now, they have really low churn, under one percent [per month], which [are] people are leaving the platform, especially on their connected fitness product. But it's important to know as this craze dies off, and they're not going to be able to maintain a 124%  year-over-year growth after the pandemic dies down and after the backlog gets filled. What it will be, is a great question.

The gross margin for connected fitness didn't go up as much because they're spending a bunch of money to expedite product to get it to customers. The gross margin for subscriptions went up a little bit, which is nice. You won't see the full impact to the price [increase] flow-through until next quarter. That'll be something that I'm watching. Overall, gross profit's around 40% .

Surprisingly, if you think how innovative this company is, they only have four percent of their money [top line revenue] in the R&D. A lot of it is into sales and marketing, which is, I think that's where they put their media spend and a lot of their development efforts for content. They're certainly into music. I think Beyoncé was probably not cheap. But you did see the R&D expense go up considerably year-over-year. I'd really be interested to see the number after they do [the] Precor [integration]. I would hope that they would want to keep every single one of those people and keep them around to help learn from somebody who's been in the industry for a long time. 

I had couple of Peloton questions I have to answer.

Brian Stoffel: Go for it.

Brian Withers: One was about, I think I have the wrong screen, future guidance for subscription growth. Here it is. It's growing almost 20 percent, quarter-over-quarter sequentially. Then the other question was, what was growth prior to COVID? This was from the perspective for 2017, 2018, and 2019. Actually, it was hitting doubles [+100% year-over-year growth] then as well. So it's certainly been in the high-growth mode at least for the last five years.

Then the other one is, would they continue growing after the pandemic? Will gyms take it into gyms? I was reading Thriving Fool who said,

The Peloton community is so committed. They actually make the product go viral. Users can work out with their friends, and the global community. They keep adding new ways to sign up without a bike. The Peloton meet-ups are a big deal. The Peloton community is what people want to be part of.

They've talked about either being part of gyms, or getting in hotels where this Peloton community, no matter where they are, they can go and get access to a bike if they're even traveling or whatever. I think the brand cache around this thing is really big right now. That's why I said this is a premium brand. They're going to want to make sure they are catering to their best customers. They definitely could go into gyms and have a mixed live experience as well there.

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