Fitness startup Mirror acquired by Lululemon for $500M

Mirror is launching remote personal training sessions for $40 a piece.
Image: Mirror

The COVID-19 pandemic has put many things in perspective. That includes the fact that home fitness is here to stay. Some companies, like Mirror who sells a $1,500 reflective display for home workouts, are banking on that fact.

It appears that some larger players now want in. Lululemon, a popular fitness apparel brand, recently announced that it plans to acquire the startup for $500 million. If anything, the half-a-billion-dollar purchase price shows that there is money to be made in the smart home fitness industry.

Capitalizing on the Situation

The very nature of shelter-in-place orders and social distancing has been a major boost for some companies. While traditional gyms and fitness spaces are closed, workout enthusiasts are turning to other alternatives. One solution is home fitness gear.

Still, buying a set of dumbbells and a yoga mat doesn’t replace the atmosphere of working out in a gym or being coached by a trainer. Mirror’s signature product aims to emulate that experience without users needing to leave their living room.

Lululemon announced its plan to acquire Mirror in a press release on Monday. Its CEO, Calvin McDonald, says, “The acquisition of Mirror is an exciting opportunity to build upon that vision, enhance our digital and interactive capabilities, and deepen our roots in the sweatlife.”

Notably, McDonald cites the fact that Mirror has its own revenue model. The smart fitness startup offers both live classes and on-demand workouts along with its hardware. Users can subscribe monthly to access a catalog of classes for $39. Those who prefer a more interactive workout can book private sessions with personal trainers for $40.

Although that sounds expensive, it’s actually cheaper than most in-person sessions in major cities. Better yet, the entire thing happens through a 40-inch reflective display in the user’s home. No mask required.

The New York Times notes that Mirror is projecting more than $100 million in revenue this year alone. Moreover, it anticipates that it will break even or be profitable by 2021. Considering that Mirror’s interactive fitness mirror launched in 2018, that’s an impressive accomplishment.

Changing Times

With the emergence of a global pandemic, the fitness industry is being forced to adapt. In 2018, it was estimated to be worth $94 billion.

As of now, many gyms remain closed. Those that have reopened have measures in place to try and halt the spread of the coronavirus. While things like masks and dividers might be fine in a grocery store, they are far more restrictive in a fitness center.

In response, the fitness industry is shifting to a virtual mindset—much like every other sector. Mirror is practically built for a time when going to the gym is out of the question. Traditional gyms and studios are turning to other digital methods to try and keep their members engaged.

Whether that means hosting yoga classes on Instagram Live like Modo Yoga or selling on-demand classes like countless other studios, the future of fitness looks a lot different. Even once it is safe to return to gyms, many workout enthusiasts could choose not to.

There’s a certain comfort to working out at home. Thanks to today’s digital innovations, there’s no reason not to.

Lululemon’s acquisition of Mirror may be the beginning of a virtual fitness revolution that could amount to major paydays for other forward-thinking startups.


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