In March, a couple of weeks after sweeping stay-at-home orders had brought much of the U.S. to a halt, William Lynch says he realized Peloton Interactive Inc. would fare really well in the year of the pandemic. Orders were flooding in from areas under lockdown at such a rate that Peloton halted all its marketing in the U.S. The customers kept coming. Covid-19 “changed everything for Peloton,” says Lynch, the former Barnes & Noble Inc. chief executive who’s been the company’s president since 2017. “We saw what was already a rapidly growing business just explode.”
It’s awkward: booming growth while the novel coronavirus has ravaged families and caused economic upheaval. But Lynch says a broad shift to at-home workouts, which underpins Peloton’s whole business model, was under way well before 2020; the pandemic just sped it up. Now he and his colleagues are working to convince the world that Peloton’s momentum will continue once the virus eventually subsides.