Back in November, Peloton—then a newly public company—aired a commercial featuring a woman who came to be known as “Peloton wife.” In the 30-second spot, she receives a surprise Peloton bike from a man we presume to be her Peloton husband, then a year later surprises him turn with a video documenting her journey from nervous newbie to forever changed rider. Viewers did not like this ad. At best it was awkward, at worst it was dystopian and sexist. Peloton’s stock dipped 15% as detractors on social media roasted the company. Peloton didn’t exactly apologize, but told CNBC “we’re disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial.”
A few months later Covid-19 put the world on lockdown, and suddenly a Peloton didn’t seem like such a bad gift after all. When Peloton reported earnings May 6 for the quarter ended on March 31, financial chief Jill Woodward said the company couldn’t make bikes as fast as people were buying them, and that orders continue to be backlogged in every region.
Had you bought stock on December 5, for $31.31 a share, it would be worth about $43 a share today, making Peloton one of the top-performing stocks of the pandemic.
Only 10 US-listed stocks have performed better than Peloton’s, which is up 51% so far in 2020. Dominant amongst those are healthcare and tech companies such as Moderna, which began testing a coronavirus vaccine in March, and Zoom, the video-chatting platform that has taken over the work and social lives of many in quarantine. And when it comes to non-essential consumer goods, only the online home furnishings company Wayfair and electric carmaker Tesla—which recently proved that it can grow profitably, even amidst a pandemic—are beating Peloton.
Perhaps the Peloton wife—or she who invested—gets the last laugh.