While some are struggling amidst a pandemic, others are profiting directly from it

This pandemic is really only making the poor poorer and the rich richer. But does it really matter which side you’re on when you’re getting fitter? Today Business Insider announced Peloton’s founder, John Foley, is the latest to become a billionaire during the pandemic. 

John Foley joins Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and other notable names in the billionaire club as the rise in Peloton stock has brought his wealth to $1.3 billion. 

The Bike

Peloton is self described as an “American exercise equipment and media company,” with a mission to bring boutique fitness to your home. To the untrained eye, the Peloton bike looks like a stationary bike with a tablet connected to the handlebars. But in fact, the Peloton team has found a way to bring all the joys of group fitness classes to the convenience of working out at home with innovative technology and talented fitness instructors. 

The whole ensemble creates quite the package. Let’s take a look at the price of everything, shall we? The Peloton bike can be purchased for $1,895, and the Peloton Bike+ (shown in the above video), their newest model, can be purchased for $2,495. 

 

Despite the high price tag, the clips can still be tricky! 

At first glance that number does seem horrendous. But in comparison to paying for work out classes, it is actually not terrible. One person can easily spend over $1,656 purchasing classes at other indoor cycling classes such as SoulCycle, rental shoes not included.

If you are a novice stationary bike rider, you might be wondering

Let’s dive in! There is an additional $39 per month fee attached to buying a bike that covers the tech side of Peloton. With this, a rider has access to the entire Peloton library, live classes, and other types of workouts available on the app. Not to mention cool features such as individual user profiles, streaming abilities from different devices, real time data from your workout, programs and challenges.  

The Community 

BUT WAIT! There’s MORE! Like many cult-like boutique workout classes, the community aspect is strongly emphasized as being part of the Peloton experience. With the Peloton app riders are able to ride along with other members live. Riders have the ability to filter by age range and gender… talk about community. But they do host fun special event classes open to all and attended by many. It’s a “movement” that’s “a million members strong.” But the community seems to extend outside the bike app. 

So after all that, you can tell why so many people have been excited to be Peloton owners!

Peloton’s fiscal fourth quarter sales have risen to over 172% according to CNBC. The company’s share prices were also up almost 8% in after-hours trading. This is all thanks to the high demand of working out from home due to the pandemic. Without access to gyms or in-person work out classes, Peloton saw numbers soar. Even as more and more gyms begin to re-open, people are still opting for their personal stationary bikes. Foley told investors, “Organic demand for our bike remains strong and member engagement remains elevated, despite improving weather and the gradual opening of brick-and-mortar fitness locations.”

Product Demand

In fact, so many people seem to want a Peloton bike, that the company seems to be struggling to meet the demand. Bike shipments are being delayed up to two months, and customer service is being swarmed. Peloton executives say that they expect delays through June 2021

But Peloton seems to be giving all their attention to their bikes, even delaying the release of their new treadmill. Foley even seems to want to make an effort to keep his product affordable. He slashed prices of the original bike when the company came out with Bike+ model. The original model of the Peloton was $2,245, which is $350 more than today’s market price. Customers who just got their bike were about to throw a fit when they found out they paid a higher price for their original bike, but Peloton bit the PR crisis in the butt. They offered a credit to all customers who bought an original bike before the prices were marked down. 

Foley has also discussed other ways to make Peloton more accessible to others, throwing out the possibility of a rental program for the future. 

Billionaire Bad Guy Dilemma

While all this excitement with Peloton sounds great, becoming a billionaire comes with lots of resentment and backlash. Especially when you happen to be directly profiting off the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to the unemployment of 13.6 million people in the U.S

Profiting off a pandemic brings up a whole new ethical debate. Chema Vera, executive director of nonprofit group Oxfam International, said, “The economic crisis we are suffering because of the pandemic has been fueled by a rigged economic model. The world’s largest corporations are making billions at the expense of low wage workers and funneling profits to shareholders and billionaires — a small group of largely white men in rich nations.”

While Foley definitely seems to fit the “white rich men” billionaire mold, he is not the only one who’s wealth has grown during the pandemic, nor is he getting much heat surrounding his profit. Founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos seems to be the brunt of many people’s frustrations about billionaires profiting at the expense of others, especially during the pandemic. 

If Bezos wasn’t taking the heat though, would Foley be met with more resistance? Maybe not since his product does give people endorphins after all! 

Whether or not you think profiting off of a pandemic is moral or not, you must admit that John Foley is definitely doing something right with Peloton. Would you ever buy a stationary bike? Is working out from home just asking for too much?