February 13, 2020
According to VICE, boutique studio owners are worried that ClassPass could crush the industry.
Over the years, ClassPass has reshuffled its business model and endured a down round while alienating studios and subscribers on both sides of its marketplace. Along the way, there have been plenty of questions about whether or not their model was sustainable.
- In theory. ClassPass users get discounts on fitness classes, studios get new customers, and the company takes a cut.
- In practice. Studios have seen their piece of the pie shrink, users are hooked on artificially low prices, and ClassPass has become a powerful middleman.
According to ClassPass: dissatisfied studios represent a small minority of its 30,000-plus partners. And CEO Fritz Lanman told VICE his company’s model is “as friendly as you can imagine.” But that’s of little consolation to operators who see ClassPass as devaluing boutique fitness and creating a race to the bottom.
Punchline. This newly-minted unicorn has to find a path to sustainability, profitability, and/or liquidity for its investors. How ClassPass gets there and whether or not it will come at the expense of studio owners (and the broader industry) is the real billion-dollar question.