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Amazon Launches Fitness Service — Watch Out, Peloton!

On Tuesday, Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced a slew of new products and services at its annual fall product launch event. These include the Halo View health tracker and two related services: Halo Fitness, which will launch with hundreds of studio-quality workout classes, and Halo Nutrition, aimed at helping people develop healthier eating habits.

Here's what investors should know.

An Amazon Halo View and the Halo Fitness app on a smartphone. Image source: Amazon.

New Halo products and services

Amazon's new Halo View health tracker is basically a watch equipped with an AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diodes) color display and haptic feedback that offers wearers "easy access to activity, sleep scores, blood oxygen levels, live workout tracking, text and move notifications, and more," according to the press release.

Halo View is Amazon's second pass at a wrist-worn health tracker, following Halo Band, which launched in August 2020. The biggest difference between them is that Halo Band doesn't have a display or screen, so users have to check their health-related metrics on a smartphone. That sounds cumbersome to me, so Halo View seems like a big improvement.

The new wearable comes bundled with a year of Halo membership for $79.99, and will be available in time for the holidays, Amazon said. That membership includes access to the company's two new services, Halo Fitness and Halo Nutrition.

Halo Fitness offers members "hundreds of studio-quality workouts from trusted industry experts and coaches," according to Amazon. At launch, the service will offer cardio, strength, yoga, outdoor, and mobility classes for people of all fitness levels. Integration with a Halo View or Band will enable members to see fitness metrics such as their heart rate as an overlay on their video display in real time.

Halo Fitness app on a large-screen TV. Image source: Amazon.

A formidable competitor to Peloton

Connected-fitness leader Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ: PTON) was already being besieged by competitors. Its would-be rivals largely come from the tech industry -- such as Apple, which offers Apple Fitness+, the first fitness service powered by Apple Watch -- and the traditional exercise machine industry, including Nautilus. In addition, athletic wear specialist Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ: LULU) also entered the space last year via its acquisition of Mirror, which makes a full-length mirror-like screen for streaming on-demand and live workout classes and other content. Halo Fitness puts Amazon squarely in the competitive mix here.

The e-commerce giant has deep pockets and sophisticated in-house content production capabilities, which it has used for years to produce original content for its Amazon Prime Video service. If it chooses to do so in the workout class niche, it could easily out-produce Peloton, which would force Peloton to spend more money on its workout content production in order to stay competitive. Amazon could also poach some of Peloton's most popular coaches. "Money can't buy me love," as The Beatles sang, but enough of it can usually buy a company the talent it desires.

Peloton's recent cash-burn rate is concerning, as the following chart illustrates. Unless the company starts churning out positive operating cash flows, it will find it a challenge to significantly increase its spending on content production.

Data by YCharts. Including marketable securities, Peloton ended last quarter with about $1.6 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities.

Never underestimate Amazon

The expansion of Amazon's Halo family should please shareholders in the company, as the Halo View looks like it could appeal to a much wider range of consumers than the Halo Band did.

Investors in Peloton should monitor Amazon's progress with its Halo Fitness service. After all, there's arguably no company in recent decades that has entered and eventually dominated as many industries as Amazon.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Beth McKenna has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Apple, Lululemon Athletica, and Peloton Interactive. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon, long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple, short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon, and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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