Lululemon subscription plan offers fitness where, when and how its customers want it

Photo: lululemon athletica
Sep 30, 2022

Lululemon athletica on Wednesday unveiled an expansion of its Studio Mirror subscription plan that combines the company’s wall-mounted remote fitness technology with in-person experiences, early access to events and merchandise discounts.

The program, lululemon Studio, will launch on Oct. 5.

“Our guests’ fitness needs have evolved and lululemon Studio is solving for them by providing members with access to fitness content from our world-class trainers and studio partners at home, on the go and live in studios around North America,” Nikki Neuburger, chief brand officer, lululemon, said in a statement. “lululemon Studio unlocks the versatility our community has told us they are looking for now. No longer will you have to choose between going to your favorite studio or streaming a class at home—you can have both.”

Studio will seek to build upon the more than 10,000 on-demand and live-streamed classes offered through the Studio Mirror device. Subscribers paying $39 a month will now also have access to additional studios online including AARMY, Y7 Studio, DOGPOUND, FORWARD__Space, Pure Barre, Rumble, AKT and YogaSix. They can also choose to take classes at these studios in-person at a 20 percent discounted rate.

The Studio program will help position lululemon to take advantage of Americans’ hybrid fitness habits developed during the pandemic. Sixty-five percent of fitness consumers report having hybrid routines, according to McKinsey, Quartz reports.

Lululemon sees its fitness programming and studio partnerships as a way to strengthen the community-building efforts that have been at the center of its success from the beginning. This will, in turn, advance the chain’s sales efforts, with Studio subscribers gaining early access to lululemon events and 10 percent discounts on merchandise up to $5,000 annually.

New members of lululemon Studio will need to buy a Mirror, and the retailer is offering a special price of $795 and free delivery on the device. Existing Mirror subscribers are automatically added to the program at no additional cost.

“We see lululemon Studio as being the daily go-to destination for experiencing the most dynamic content from the industry’s top trainers and studios, covering a range of fitness genres for all levels.” said Michael Aragon, CEO, lululemon Digital Fitness.

Lululemon acquired Mirror for $500 million in 2020. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will the lululemon Studio program become the go-to destination for a large percentage of the retailer’s customers? Where do you see the program most benefitting lululemon?

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"Lululemon should partner with a gym or fitness studio that will help engage customers truly where they are."

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8 Comments on "Lululemon subscription plan offers fitness where, when and how its customers want it"

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Mark Ryski

Lululemon continues to deepen its relationship with its very dedicated customers, and Studio has the potential to be a powerful platform. The acquisition of Mirror provided an important piece of the puzzle, and now we’re seeing the other pieces come together. Lululemon has always been about community, and connecting their community through Studio is sure to be a win for this already top performing brand.

Neil Saunders

Oh, yet another subscription program! When does subscription fatigue set in? That said, I think Lululemon has a better chance than many at making a success of this, mainly because of the loyalty of its customers and because a high percentage of them regularly undertake yoga or other fitness as part of their lifestyles. The in-person element/discount is an essential component as there has been a strong pivot back to classes, gyms and studios.

Liza Amlani

I love that Lululemon continues to meet their customers where they are but this strategy is a plea to save their connected fitness business. People are back at gyms and outdoors. Working out at home is not as attractive as it once was and the pandemic clearly drove that shift. Lululemon should partner with a gym or fitness studio that will help engage customers truly where they are.

David Spear

Lululemon does a magnificent job of connecting with their consumers. Their products are awesome and their brand following is loyal and strong. Studio is another piece of the puzzle that enhances the overall journey and differentiates from other brands. I like the acquisition of Mirror because it will drive a new revenue stream and carve a niche for those individuals who are seeking fitness at home or in an affiliated studio. That said, there is substantial risk. With a significant number of people working hybrid, I see packed gyms and yoga studios, and these are not affiliated with Lululemon in any way. Being completely transparent, I am fully remote and love getting up early, getting out of the house and working out at my local gym (not a good omen for Studio).

Melissa Minkow

Considering the recent struggles of Peloton, I worry about this initiative. These new benefits will be crucial in helping Mirror stay afloat and ensuring customers find value in the offering.

Ken Lonyai

Interesting, but I wonder how many people are willing to spend $795 for a mirror that is only useful with Lululemon, pay for a subscription, buy their quite pricey workout gear, and pay for a gym membership or other in-person classes. That sounds like a small demographic swath and I’ll point out, the economy is headed for a crash.

Tara Kirkpatrick

Lululemon does have a history of creating community and engaging customers in a lifestyle, so a program like this is in its DNA and should succeed at some point. I see this going through more iterations before it really takes off.

To Melissa’s point, the environment for connected fitness right now is tough. Looking at connected fitness apps’ monthly active users compared to the apps of physical gyms and fitness studios, it became clear this summer that home fitness people are ready to leave the house: gym & studio apps saw a 77% increase in users in June while routine users of connected fitness apps fell 33%. Given this sentiment, lululemon could focus more on the other member perks as a funnel. For examples, investing in the exclusive community events, trading up the 10% for an annual sale for members only (given that lululemon does not do sales), and organizing with its studio partners some some luxury treatment for members when at the physical studios for class.

Harley Feldman

Lululemon Studio will attract some portion of their customers. The real question is, how long will people stick with their commitment with Studio? This will depend on the seriousness customers will remain committed to the workouts. However, it is a very good idea to connect these customers to the lululemon brand for purchase of workout clothes and accessories that the retailer sells. The two largest benefits of the program are the steady flow of income on a subscription basis, and the continued communication of the brand to the Studio customers.

"Lululemon should partner with a gym or fitness studio that will help engage customers truly where they are."

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