Lululemon is calling it quits on Mirror. And it’s tagging Peloton for help parachuting out of connected fitness.
As part of efforts to wind down the business, Bloomberg reports that Lululemon plans on ending hardware sales this year. The companion app will be made unavailable to new users at the end of 2023. Lululemon will continue to offer service and support for existing Mirror owners. According to Bloomberg, those changes will start taking effect on November 1st.
To ease the blow, Lululemon has inked a five-year deal with Peloton to provide ongoing content to existing users, as well as develop co-branded apparel. As part of the agreement, Lululemon will start offering Peloton classes on its Mirror device and Lululemon Studio app. Paying Lululemon Studio subscribers will get access to thousands of Peloton classes, videos, and series, while users on the free tier will get a smaller selection of Peloton content. Peloton will in turn sell co-branded Lululemon apparel in its stores and online starting October 11th. The two companies will also host a series of in-person community events.
As for non-Peloton content, Lululemon will stop making its own exercise videos next year, and won’t feature third-party content either. It’s also decided to discontinue a digital-only subscription it introduced earlier this year.
The writing has been on the wall for some time now. Lululemon was rumored to be hunting for a buyer earlier this year, especially after earnings showed the $500 million acquisition was essentially worthless. It’s also reflective of the current state of connected fitness. Companies that have relied on premium hardware and pricey subscriptions have struggled to regain their footing once covid-19 quarantine restrictions were lifted. Competitors like Tonal and Hydrow started the year off with layoffs. Meanwhile, Peloton’s business woes have been an entire saga in their own right.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
This Lululemon Mirror news serves as a reminder of connected fitness’s Achilles heel. Most connected fitness hardware is locked to a single company’s content. If that content well dries up, you’ve got a bricked device that you paid hundreds or thousands for. At the very least, the deal with Peloton helps Mirror owners get a few more years of use out of their devices and a longer lead time to finding an alternative. However, it’s much less risky to buy a non-connected piece of fitness equipment and pay for a cheaper fitness app subscription.
Peloton itself has been pointedly shifting away from hardware toward subscriptions. Earlier this year, it rebranded its app and launched three new app-only subscription tiers. And just yesterday, Peloton announced Tom Cortese, its last remaining co-founder and chief product officer, was stepping down. His replacement, former Twitter executive Nick Caldwell, was described in a press release as having “a proven track record of building and scaling products and services that excite customers.”