Zwift Layoffs and CEO Exit: More Signs of a Troubled Cycling Industry

18 views 7:52 pm 0 Comments February 6, 2024

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(Photo/Zwift)

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The cycling industry got some more bad news this week. Zwift, the virtual cycling platform, announced a new round of layoffs Monday, as well as the departure of one of its two CEOs. In a post to Zwift Forums, managers pointed to slow growth throughout the cycling industry as a reason to continue streamlining the company.

It wasn’t clear on Tuesday how many Zwift workers would lose their jobs, though the changes would affect all business areas. Co-CEO Kurt Beidler resigned, leaving Eric Min as the sole CEO. While the company’s focus on virtual, at-home cycling has attracted many users, it has also been spending money on new technology.

“Growth has not rebounded at a fast enough pace to justify all of the investments that we have been making,” Zwift wrote in the Feb. 5 announcement. “As a result, we are taking action to become leaner with a continued focus on delivering great experiences for our community.”

In-game footage from Zwift; (image/Zwift)

Rough Road for Bike Industry

It’s another reminder that the cycling industry continues to struggle after a post-pandemic spike in sales fizzled out. Peloton has closed stores and laid off hundreds of employees over the last 2 years. Like many bike makers, Giant reported a large drop in profits (49%) from weak sales in the U.S. and Europe.

As for Zwift, this is the company’s third round of layoffs in 3 years, according to Zwift Insider. The company reduced its workforce by 20% in May 2022, laying off 150 workers. That trend continued in 2023 with another 15% reduction that affected 80 workers, including several long-time executives.

However, the layoffs won’t affect the company’s plans for 4-year Tour de Frances Femmes and Paris Roubaix Femmes sponsorships.

“We are committed to this sponsorship and supporting the continued growth of women’s cycling,” Zwift said.

While the cycling industry continues to face declines in sales, there are still plenty of opportunities, Specialized chairman Mike Sinyard told Forbes last year.

“During Covid, people were riding their bikes like crazy,” said Sinyard. “There are now a lot more cyclists out there.”

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Alex Morrice, 22, and Luca Vergallito, 25, will join major cycling teams after winning the 2022 Zwift competition; (photo/Zwift)

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