Catalysts for Peloton Extend Long Past COVID-19, Says Top Analyst

During the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting to the new normal has meant finding new ways to stay active. Forced out of the gym, many consumers have turned to Peloton Interactive (PTON) and its indoor exercise equipment and platform to feel the burn. In response, the stock has been working up a sweat as well, climbing 80% higher in the last three months.  

Writing for Needham, five-star analyst Laura Martin has been a vocal supporter of the company throughout the public health crisis, but there’s a plot twist. What has changed in the PTON story? After hosting a fireside chat with Peloton’s CFO, Jill Woodworth, the analyst tells clients that she sees the positive valuation implications extending through 2021 and beyond.  

First and foremost, Martin points out the ecosystem value, or the lifetime value per customer versus customer acquisition costs (LTV/CAC), is higher than her pre-COVID estimates. PTON was able to reach 1 million subscribers three months earlier than she originally expected, which is significant as “$40/month for 3 months extra adds $120 to LTV up front, at a much higher LTV/CAC since PTON has stopped ads during COVID-19.” Not to mention churn is also on the decline, implying higher LTV.  

There has also been significant total addressable market (TAM) expansion thanks to COVID-19. To back up this claim, Martin cites the fact that the number of buyers under 35 years old is two times higher, the indefinite closure of gyms is driving more bike purchases and 30%-50% of new owners didn’t have any intention of buying a bike before the pandemic. In addition, stronger barriers to entry like music, PTON’s edge over its peers with respect to its installed base, structurally lower bike production costs and mobile-only paying subscribers and free trial subscribers, which are a low-cost onramp to PTON’s platform, bode well for the company. 

While Martin acknowledges that its expensive treadmill played into investors’ fears that its TAM was only made up of wealthy consumers, COVID-19 added 40 million unemployed subscribers. This reflects a “catalyst for lower-cost bike purchases, which would materially grow PTON’s actual and perceived TAM.” 

Martin added, “We believe investors are undervaluing structural cost savings tied to COVID-19, such as: a) near-zero marketing costs now in US and UK driving positive adjusted EBITDA during full year 2020, two years earlier than IPO projections; b) excess bike installs are moving PTON down the production cost curve faster, resulting in a higher gross margin structurally.” 

All of the above prompted Martin to keep a Buy recommendation and $50 price target on the stock. This target conveys her confidence in PTON’s ability to surge 9% in the next year. (To watch Martin’s track record, click here)     

In general, other analysts echo Martin’s sentiment. 20 Buys, 1 Hold and 1 Sell add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. Based on the $48.23 average price target, the upside potential comes in at 5.3%. (See Peloton stock analysis on TipRanks)