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Amazon Halo Expansion Could Upend Connected Fitness Space

Alongside announcements about Alexa, home robots and other new devices earlier this week, Amazon unofficially set its sights on Peloton, aiming to take on the connected fitness giant with an expansion of its Halo platform.

Amazon first released Halo last year as a wristband device that tracks various health performance indicators, a clear competitor to the Apple Watch and Google’s Fitbit, though the original Halo Band did not have a screen.

Related news: New Amazon Halo Squares off Against Apple Watch in Wearables Market

This week, however, Amazon added the Halo View, which has a screen, as well as Halo Nutrition, a platform to help build healthy eating habits, and Halo Fitness, a new service with hundreds of studio-quality workout classes akin to Apple Fitness+.

“Customers tell us Halo is having a meaningful impact on their lives, offering important insights and tools they need to meet their health goals,” Melissa Cha, vice president of Amazon Halo, said in a statement. “We’re excited to add even more to Halo, with new experiences to help members work out and nourish their bodies.”

See also: Amazon Leans on Alexa to Connect With ‘All Aspects of Consumers’ Lives’

Peloton, for its part, reported a 114% year-over-year increase in connected fitness subscriptions in its most recent quarter, as well as paid digital subscription growth of 176%, with total membership reaching over 5.9 million. Still, the company has been unable to move past the recalls it issued for its treadmill products earlier this year after reports of one death and dozens of injuries. Last month, the company said it had been subpoenaed by the U.S. government for documents and information related to how the company reported those injuries, and Peloton is facing several lawsuits in association with the recalls.

Competing with Peloton is no easy feat, and Amazon is far from the only company seeing opportunity in the connected fitness space. Connected exercise bike company Echelon, for example, received an investment from Pitbull earlier this year and continues to build out a platform centered on entertainment as well as fitness, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he sees virtual reality fitness subscriptions coming in the future.

Read more: Connected Fitness Competition Grows for Peloton

But Amazon, which has nearly 50% of consumers’ eCommerce spend, has spent years building trust with customers and selling them devices for their everyday life, such as e-readers, tablets, smart speakers and streaming TV devices, which perhaps makes the Halo wristband a logical addition to a person’s smart home.

Additionally, Amazon has substantially undercut the pricing of Apple’s Fitness+ membership; the latter costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year, while a Halo membership is only $3.99 per month.

A Space for Wellness

Amazon Halo is part of the eCommerce company’s larger push into healthcare and wellness, especially as those topics remain top of mind for consumers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, Amazon signed its first employer customer, Precor, to its virtual primary care business. Over the summer, the company rolled out the service, called Amazon Care, to its employees in all 50 states, with plans to make it available to other employers going forward.

Since the pandemic began, Amazon’s share of consumers’ health and wellness spend has grown from 2.8% to 4% — a small amount, but still more than it has historically grown, according to PYMNTS data. Looking solely at eCommerce spending, Amazon has gone from a 36% share in the second quarter of 2020 to a 44% share in the same period this year.

Amazon’s share of health and personal care spending is still below retail rival Walmart, though the box store giant hasn’t seen much movement despite the global pandemic. Walmart appears to be trying to change that, acquiring telehealth company MeMD earlier this year and investing more into creating in-store clinics.

Those initiatives, though, may only get people in the door when they’re under the weather. With Halo, Amazon is creating a space for people to focus on wellness no matter their condition.

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