Politics Deflate SoulCycle Bookings


*Update 8.28.2019*

Since publishing our original post on 08.15.2019, we have continued to monitor data on SoulCycle bookings. We have analyzed data through Sunday, 8.25.2019 where we continue to see a negative impact on bookings and weekend attendance at SoulCycle locations throughout the U.S. continued to decline between 9% — 19% following the boycotts.

While some of the additional decline observed at the end of August may be attributed to normal seasonality (particularly ahead of Labor Day weekend), we have not yet seen any recovery in attendance following the early August boycotts.

Original Post 08.15.2019

On August 7th, several news outlets reported that Stephen Ross, the majority owner of the company that owns Equinox and SoulCycle, was planning a fundraising event for Donald Trump. An immediate backlash on social media ensued, with many disavowing Ross for his alignment with the president and calling to boycott Equinox and SoulCycle.

While it is too soon to tell how many memberships have been or will be canceled at Equinox, Earnest data suggests that there has already been a notable decline in SoulCycle attendance.

Key Takeaways

  • New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, all cities with large liberal bases, make up approximately 46% of SoulCycle’s booked rides.
  • There was a noticeable drop in bookings nationally in the days immediately following the fundraiser announcement (~10%).
  • SoulCycle’s weekend attendance dropped approximately 15% in New York and San Francisco.

SoulCycle’s Soul Resides in Liberal Cities

As the SoulCycle website states: “SoulCycle is more than just a workout. It’s a sanctuary.” SoulCycle has always marketed itself as much more than a fitness studio — it has become a lifestyle. The company hosts pro-women and pro-LGBTQ initiatives and also refers to its studios as a safe space.

While having a presence in 20+ markets across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., on average 46% of SoulCycle’s total booked rides come from New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, cities that are home to many wellness enthusiasts that tend to lean liberal in their politics.

Boycotts Lead to Immediate Decline in Attendance

Our analysis of SoulCycle bookings shows a decline in SoulCycle attendance across the U.S. in the immediate days following the news coverage.

Includes U.S., U.K., and Canada SoulCycle locations. The majority of SoulCycle locations are in the U.S.

Thursday, August 8th saw a moderate drop of 3% in class attendance. On Friday, there was a more dramatic downturn, with 11% fewer riders compared to the last four Fridays of classes since July 12. Saturday and Sunday also continued to see 8–10% drops in attendance. This appears meaningful considering that the average weekend to weekend change in attendance nationally is less than 2% (excluding holiday weekends).

The Coasts See Biggest Bookings Drop

Earnest’s data shows that the drops in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco were especially sharp. With protests breaking out across the country, weekend attendance (Fri-Sun) was down 15% in New York City and San Francisco, and 11% in Los Angeles.

Alternatively, class attendance in the Hamptons — the site of Ross’ fundraiser and additional protests —remained flat.

Outside of these regions, SoulCycle attendance also fell, but only by about half as much. This could be problematic going forward for SoulCycle, as New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are far and away its biggest markets. We will continue to monitor these trends over the coming weeks to see how the boycotts continue to impact SoulCycle.

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