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The year 2021 is already shaping up to be a pivotal one for the rapidly evolving fitness industry. 

With more virtual exercise programs and at-home fitness products on the market than ever before, the pandemic has drastically changed the way Americans workout. And experts say that connected fitness is here to stay. Some companies like Peloton have emerged as early leaders of the new fitness era— closing its banner 2020 year with a major $420 million acquisition of Precor.  

Though many predict brick-and-mortar gyms and studios will not become obsolete, those companies may soon enter a period of consolidation to account for closures and bankruptcies during the pandemic, while also adding digital services to keep up with today’s fitness landscape. 

“What you saw happen in retail is exactly what’s happening in fitness on the bricks and mortar side: lots of consolidation while the industry goes through this period of shifting to digital and a hybridization of offerings,” Bryan O’Rourke, a fitness analyst and board member with the International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association, told Insider. 

We spoke with several fitness industry experts, including O’Rourke — ranging from market researchers and venture capital to marketing gurus — about possible M&A activity to look out for 2021. Here’s what they had to say. 

SEE ALSO: From Peloton to Classpass, meet the 17 digital fitness executives who are transforming the way Americans workout as the pandemic reshapes the exercise industry

Apple could acquire Peloton.

According to Jake Matthews, senior intelligence analyst at CB Insights, there may be a future in which Apple sets its sights on Peloton, as it continues to grow its technology empire and expand further into the fitness realm after launching Apple Fitness Plus in December 2020. 

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“The Peloton brand is more Apple-like than really any other brand in the world,” Matthews said. “If you watch the first five seconds of the new promotional video for the Peloton Bike plus, you would think that you were about to watch a video for the new iPhone. The brands are really similar in a lot of different ways.”

Ultimately, Matthews said it would be a mutually beneficial merger that would help Peloton bolster production thanks to the “operational excellence and scale of a company like Apple,” while allowing Apple to tap into Peloton’s loyal user base to grow its subscription business. 

“Both Apple and Peloton have already laid the groundwork for integrating the two companies,” he said. “Acquiring Peloton would give Apple a base of loyal, really highly engaged customers — who honestly are already Apple customers — that they could transition to Apple Fitness Plus and the Apple One bundle to help catalyze the growth of their subscription business.”

Peloton might also buy up more brands as it continues to build out its own portfolio.

As Peloton looks to expand its offerings beyond its popular stationary bicycle and treadmill, Claude Zdanow — CEO of marketing agency holding company Stadiumred Group — said it may look to acquire other buzzy connected fitness startups to widen its …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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