Massage Chair Industry Update – 1/22/24

February 3, 2024
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
February 3, 2024
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Massage Chair Industry Update – 1/22/24

Hi, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from Massage Chair Relief, and today is our bi-weekly massage chair industry update for Monday, January 22nd, 2024. Thank you so much for joining me today. As I mentioned in my last broadcast, I was planning on attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which I did, and we’ll talk about that in a moment. Next week I’m going to be attending the Las Vegas Furniture Market at the World… I can’t remember what they call it. It’s a huge facility with three monolithic buildings just full of furniture throughout.

 

[00:00:38]

It’s a place where distributors and manufacturers come to show their wares and to find people to sell their products for them; retailers, and local distributors. So, it’s always fun to go there. I enjoy going to that. CES, which is what I was at just over a week ago was fantastic. And what they’ve done is they’ve grouped all the massage chairs, most of the massage chair companies close together, so it was very easy for me to find them and to visit with them. And I’ll tell you, I started off by going to Human Touch®, and they have a nice big booth right in the opening of the center hall at the convention center in Las Vegas.

 

[00:01:22]

And they had the new Super Novo 2.0 and the Super Novo X. Now, the 2.0 is out already. And we’ve talked a little bit about that. There are some subtle differences between the 2.0 and the regular Super Novo. And those changes include a little bit different roller track. They call it an Intelli Track 3D Advanced SL Roller Track. Now the original Super Novo is still available. It’s not being discontinued. With that chair, it doesn’t have an auto-scan system, so you can set the height of the rollers for your own spine, which is kind of neat because you can change it at any time during the course of your massage.

 

[00:02:09]

Well, they’ve also added now a shoulder memory detection feature. So, whoever the last person was that sat in the chair, the chair will remember where you set that, shoulder height, and they’ll recreate that for your next visit on the chair. Also, the Super Novo 2.0 is going to have an App for Android and Apple so you can operate the chair from your phone. The old or the current supernova has an Alexa feature. There’s a bridge device between the voice response and the chair that you can use to say, you know, Alexa, do this, Alexa, do that.

 

[00:02:54]

And so now this one has just an app on the phone. It also has a USB port which the other one had, but it also has wireless charging for your device. And it’s a little bit lighter chair. I’m going to talk about the Super Novo X; which is the heavier chair. But it’s about the same weight, and most of the rest of the features are pretty close to the same. And that chair is out now. So, if you want the Super Novo or the Super Novo 2.0, they’re both available in the market now. The 2.0 is $1,000 more, so its list price is $10,999. Now, the Super Novo X is their innovative new chair, and I had a video filmed of me in the chair with, Victoria Lladoc, who is Human Touch’s® director of marketing, going over the features of the chair.

 

[00:03:52]

And it was interesting to sit in it. It’s a strong chair. It’s got a split track feature so it’s going to be able to give you a stronger stretch. It has calf rollers and calf kneading on the airbags, which will give you a stronger calf and foot massage. Other features of that chair are the side panels of the chair, the panels on the armrests. By the way, those armrests go up. So, the OHCO M.8 opened up. The Luraco i9 chair has sliding armrests that come back like sliding doors. And this one has armrests that come up. So there are three different variations of armrests opening to allow people to enter the chair from the side.

 

[00:04:41]

And for people that have pretty intense back pain, which I’ve had in the past, I know how difficult it is to mobilize, especially when you’re trying to get into a massage chair. It makes it very easy to access the chair. It’s just like getting into a car. Or for those who are just elderly and it’s hard. I’ve seen some people who are quite elderly try to get into a regular massage chair and it can be very bothersome. You’re trying to negotiate backward falling into the seat of the chair in a standard massage chair. These newer chairs that have armrests that move out of the way, allow people to elderly people to come in through the side, like getting into a car, so it makes it easier to get in.

 

[00:05:23]

That chair is also 369 lbs., so it’s about, 5 lbs. heavier than the Super Novo. And I was going to say about the panels on the armrests; the panels are interchangeable for different colors. So, you’ve got a pad set that can be a different color. And the panels on the side of the armrest can be a different color. So, the interesting thing about that is, if you ever want to change the look of your room that you have the chair, maybe change the color from, one theme to another theme, you can change the armrest panels and the pads of the chair to match the new decorum.

 

[00:06:04]

For example, the base is black across the board. On all the Super Novo X chairs, the base is black color. But the pad set can be black, espresso which is a very dark brown, cream gray, or tan color. And the door panels can be black, espresso, cream, gray, tan, red, gray metallic, or woodgrain design color. So, they’ve really come a long way in accommodating the inner interior decorator in us all. And I personally don’t care much about colors and stuff like that. It matters to me that they match. But matching it decorum, if I have a black chair in just white a white-themed room, it doesn’t bother me as much, but my wife would definitely have a bone to pick with, choosing the wrong color.

 

[00:07:06]

Anyway, there’s lots of flexibility with this chair. Also, it has what they call the multidimensional dual sink roller track. They call it a flex track, which is basically a split track. They’ve just got their own name for it, their own vernacular. I told you it has the calf rollers. It has the kneading. They call it orbital motion, but it’s kneading or oscillating calf airbags. It has definitely a stronger stretch than the other Super Novo chairs have. It has the last used memory shoulder detection feature that I talked about with the Super Novo 2.0.

 

[00:07:45]

And it also has JBL speakers instead of the Altec Lansing speakers in the original Super Novo. And you know what? Altec Lansing, and JBL, are both great-quality speakers. No other massage chair that I’m aware of, boasts brand-name audio equipment as part of their massage chair Bluetooth music system. So, that’s pretty cool. Also, the seat dimensions are one inch wider on the X, as opposed to the 2.0 and the regular Super Novo. So, you got a little bit more width, not as much depth. I think it’s about an inch less in-depth. Actually, it’s a couple of inches less in-depth, so you don’t slide back quite as far in the chair when you sit in it.

 

[00:08:28]

And I’m not sure, I can’t remember when I sat on it, but it may facilitate the rollers going a little bit further down into your calves because the seat moves back a little bit. I don’t know. I can’t remember, so I’m just blowing smoke now. Anyway, those are the major differences. And the pricing on that chair depends on what pad set and what panels you get. For example, the pad sets, the gray and the tan are leather, whereas the black, the espresso brown, and the cream are synthetic leather, what they call soft hide. Also, the gray metallic and the wood grain on the panels are vinyl as opposed to a soft hide for the other colors.

 

[00:09:14]

So, there’s a, I believe, $1,000 difference in pricing. So, the chair can range anywhere from 14,999, with the chair with one of the soft hide pads and one of the soft hide door panels. But it can also increase $1,000 for a leather pad or $1,000 for the gray metallic or wood grain vinyl. So, the price of the chair fluctuates from 14,999 up to 16,999, depending on the features that you get; those accessory features for the armrests and the pads. I hope that’s clear. I hope I haven’t overtalked that. Also, other new models that are coming out, the SYNCA Wellness.

 

[00:09:56]

As I’ve explained in the past, SYNCA Wellness is part of the parent company Johnson Wellness Tech. Johnson Wellness Tech purchased, I believe it’s called Mount Fuji Factory in Japan, which created the Fujiiryoki chairs in the past. But the Fujiiryoki chairs in the past were not distributed in the United States. very well. And now they are being distributed by SYNCA Wellness and Johnson Wellness Tech, which is the parent company of the factory. And so, they’re going to be introducing a whole new line of chairs, beginning with three chairs, under Fujiiryoki name brand.

 

[00:10:36]

And those are Japanese-made chairs. And I was talking to Nicholas Beas, who is the guy that runs the US operation for the massage chairs and is a very knowledgeable guy. I really enjoy talking to him. And he’s going to be one of our guests on our live stream, I believe, in March. And he’s going to be talking about three new chairs from Fujiiryoki, and some very interesting stuff coming out of that factory that I’ve not seen before in terms of aesthetics, in terms of trying to make it look and feel more like a piece of furniture. The top chair will have something along those lines and then two other chairs below that.

 

[00:11:10]

And then there are two more Chinese-made chairs coming out for SYNCA Wellness. So, they had a lot to announce at CES, and I’m excited about that. I’m going to be flying down to Southern California at the end of February to check out the chairs. Hopefully, the chairs will be in by then, and then we’ll discuss it live on our live stream in the first part of March. So, very exciting developments there. But he didn’t have much to show me yet. A lot of it’s pretty secret. But I’m looking forward to seeing what they get. And he thinks that they’ll have a couple of models when I come down to visit at the end of February.

 

[00:11:52]

And so that’s for Fujiiryoki. It’s a weirdly spelled name. It’s F-U-J-I-I-R-Y-O-K-I. And of course, SYNCA. It’s all the same company, different brands. SYNCA also has the Inner Balance line of chairs as well. So that’ll be three different brands for that company. And speaking of the live stream, Kristy Kim, the owner of True Massage Shares, which is a brand that we’ve been carrying for a couple of years now; we had her on. They’re based in Georgia, and they have some nice chairs. We have the Tru Eclipse Plus and the Tru Symphony Chair. And in my Utah store, we have the Tru Iconic chair, which is a little bit lower price point.

 

[00:12:38]

The new Eclipse is brand new. It was the original Eclipse that we have in our showrooms, then they upgraded it to the Tru Eclipse 4D Plus. And that chair now comes with a three-year labor, and five-year parts warranty, as does the Tru Symphony. The Iconic has a one-year labor, and three-year parts, which was their previous warranty for all their chairs. But because of the improved quality of the chairs from the factory, they’re going to they’re going to bump up the factory warranty to three and five. So, that’s pretty cool. And that is on their new Eclipse 40 Plus and their Symphony models.

 

[00:13:23]

If you want to go full five years of parts and labor, it’ll be $350. And that’s on either a factory warranty, whether it’s the three-five or the one-three. They will have an extended warranty of five years total. So, on the Eclipse and the Symphony, it’ll add two years of labor because the parts are already five years. On the Iconic, it will add four years of labor and two more years of parts. Of course, we have a lifetime labor warranty. So, that extended warranty for the Eclipse you don’t really need because we’re going to be giving you a lifetime labor warranty anyway. And you can see that live stream.

 

[00:14:05]

It’s on our YouTube channel. I posted it last week after our time together. And it was definitely great talking to Kristy. It’s always good to talk to people from the industry, but it’s also nice to talk to someone who’s bringing new chairs to the market. And she kept saying, “Service over sales. Service over sales.” Which is our motto as well. After-sales support is far more important than pre-sale support. I forgot to mention they’re bringing in a split track chair called The Crown. That will probably not be here until next quarter, but we will keep you updated on that.

 

[00:14:45]

And I don’t know the pricing on it or anything like that, but that will have a split track. I think it’s a quad roller on the bottom, and two rollers on the top. And I believe that’s coming from a different factory from the Infiniti, Daiwa, Human Touch® chairs, which all come from the same factory. So, it’ll be interesting to see how that how that chair is. And we’re excited to see it. Also, going back to new models, Daiwa has a new Supreme Hybrid X. And I sat in that chair when I was at CES. And what will differentiate it from the current hybrid is it has the same colors, the same body, same roller mechanism, but what it’s going to have is the Ottoman will extend out a little bit further.

 

 

 

[00:15:27]

So, for long-legged people, it’ll go out a little bit further. And that’s good. By the way, if you have long legs, you want to buy a chair and you love the chair and the legs just don’t go out as far as you’d like them to, extend them out as far as you can and then drop the Ottoman down. And that’s what we’ve always told people to do. And it does work. The problem with the shortened short Ottoman is that your knees stick up higher, right? And if your knees are sticking up higher, that means your calves aren’t buried into the calf wells and you’re not going to get massaged effectively there.

 

[00:15:57]

And also, it means that your thighs might be coming up off the seat a little bit. So, drop the Ottoman down and it’ll bring your knees down, it’ll bring your calves fully into the calf wells and it’ll bring the back of your thighs down flush onto the chair seat. Well, when you have a longer foot extension on the Ottoman, well, then you don’t have to worry about that as much unless your legs are really long. And some people have really long legs. That’s one of the reasons why the Luraco says they can handle someone up to 6’10”. It’s not just because the chair back will go up to their neck; it’s because their legs extend so far that, it can handle someone who’s got the legs of a person who’s up to 6’10”.

 

[00:16:37]

Anyway, that is the new model from Daiwa. I also went to the Body Friend booth. I didn’t sit in any of the chairs, but their chairs come from the same factory as Daiwa, Infinity, Human Touch®, and some of the Osaki chairs. And they have an interesting chair that has legs that go up and down, independent of each other. And I’ve never seen that before. I haven’t sat on it. I don’t know if it’s a gimmick. I don’t know if it’s legit. But we are going to be visiting. When I go to Southern California in February to visit with Nicholas at SYNCA, I’m going to also be dropping by Body Friend.

 

[00:17:13]

They’d like us to carry their chairs, but their business model for the US market is very different. Body Friend, in case you didn’t know, is the number one massage chair retailer in Asia. But in the United States, it’s been a little slow relative to other companies like Infinity, Osaki, Human Touch®, and Daiwa because they have a very different distribution model. Anyway, they would like to have more retailers, but a lot of people are afraid of jumping into, their business model, which is again different from what we’re accustomed to. But anyway, I’m going to be visiting with them at the end of February as well. I hope to. That’s the plan.

 

[00:17:55]

And then I can give you more information about that. I just want to say when we talk about new models … And there have and I don’t know if you remember this a few weeks ago in either my newsletter or in my massage chair industry update, I said there are not really a lot of new chairs coming out. I knew about the new Super Novo chair, but then I went there at CES and it was like, bang! Okay, Diawa is coming out with a new model. Bang! SYNCA is coming out with five new, or two and three for Fujiiryoki. So, I felt like, Holy cow! I’m a little behind the scenes or behind the times on these new models coming out.

 

[00:18:41]

But I will tell you, I call it the glitch stage when a new chair comes out. And we see this with pretty much every new model that comes to market. We call it the glitch stage. At the beginning of a new model, the factory and the distributors are working out glitches in the chair. And how do they find out if there are these glitches? Well, the testing of real customers who buy the chairs and then have a problem with it and then communicate with the massage chair company or their retailer and say, “Hey, this chair’s got a problem.” And then the massage chair company, the company that imported the chairs or had them made overseas will contact the factory and say, “Hey, we’re getting a recurrent problem with this, this and this and this glitch.”

 

[00:19:26]

And it’s the glitch stage. They’re going to fix it. But some people are turned off if they get a brand-new chair and it’s got a glitch right off the bat even though it’ll get fixed. But there are some people that just don’t like that and they return the chairs. And increased returns results in increased costs, and increased defective chairs back at the distributor. Nobody likes a chair that has glitches, but in the early stages, you’ll see that. So, people are saying to me, “Hey, when can I get a hold of this model? When can I get a hold of this model?”

 

[00:19:57]

And I usually say, “Well, you know, the chairs coming out in such and such a month, but maybe get give it a couple of months before you commit to it to make sure that there aren’t things that the factory didn’t find or flush out during their testing. Or if the distributor of the chair, like Human Touch®, SYNCA, or Daiwa finds out that there are some issues with the chair that were never discovered or flushed out earlier. It’s kind of nice to get that out of the way so you don’t have to worry about being one of the guinea pigs if you will.”

 

[00:20:27]

And guinea pigs, maybe that sounds bad, but you kind of feel like you’re on a brand-new chai because that’s exciting. It’s like, “I’m the first one to get this chair or one of the very first people to get this chair.” But you may also be one of the first people to have a problem with the chair, too. Just be aware of the glitch stage on new chairs. The one time when you might not see that happen as much is if it’s a chair that has been repurposed or rebranded under another company name. For example, a lot of these original split track chairs, the ones that Daiwa and Infinity had were basically from one factory.

 

[00:21:10]

And so, the roller technology, for the most part, was just replicated, maybe with some tweaks for each different company so it makes it a little bit different. Maybe the chair body has some different features. Maybe the peripheral features were changed or different. But the technology of the roller track is essentially the same. Well, when the first company that came out with them, Daiwa came out with them with the supreme hybrid, at least in the US market, they probably had to iron out a few of those glitches. Well, then Infinity came out, with their Circadian and Luminary, and maybe they were able to avoid some of those problems because the factory fixed them on the pioneer of the retail distribution, which was Daiwa, at least for us in the United States.

 

[00:21:59]

So, there are some exceptions to that rule. But if it’s a brand-new technology that we’ve never seen before, kind of like Luraco chairs, maybe like these new Fujiiryoki chairs, these are all brand new chairs. Well, with Luraco, their original i9 was brand-new technology. Their i9 Max, which was an upgrade is the glitch-free model because they fixed all the glitches with the i9 and then introduced the i9 Max with some other features, which made it even an even better chair. So, you’ll see these things, happen with new models. And if you’re not afraid of maybe being one of the guinea pigs on a brand-new chair and seeing that your chair might have a glitch. But it will get fixed. They always fix it.

 

[00:22:47]

And if they can’t, they’ll replace it. So, you’re always going to be okay. But, if you’re not afraid of that, well, then everything I just said is pretty much a moot point. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you about what we call the glitch stage. Lastly, there are not many sales going on right now. After, the holidays, December, Black Friday through New Year’s, it’s a fairly busy time with sales. But, as of the 15th of January, this month, the sales have pretty much knocked off. The only company right now that we were emailed a sale about is Ogawa. And they typically have sales every month. They’re Ogawa Active L 3D is 3,799.

 

[00:23:34]

Their Master Drive AI 2.0, they say is $8,099. That’s not the price. I can’t remember what it is. Anyway, it’s $4,000 off. The Ogawa Active XL is 3,899. And the Master Drive LE, which is their new model is priced at 6,799. So, that’s what’s going on in the current sales. Of course, in our showrooms, we have certain in-store sales so you can always call one of our showrooms or our toll-free number to find out what’s cooking. But those are the published, advertised prices that that I’m aware of right now that I think that we have right now.

 

[00:24:19]

And if you want to know weekly what our updated sales are, you can scroll down on the home page, and you’ll see the area where you can download the free report. You’ll be put in our digital newsletter. And this one, we send out every week. And that has an update on sales, new models, a feature article, or a feature video. There’s more up-to-the-minute kind of stuff in that digital newsletter. And I think that’s it for this week. It was an exciting time at CES, exciting to see what’s going on. And I’ll talk about that another time, but there are some other factories that were represented there.

 

[00:25:08]

And there’s one chair, one factory in particular that we’d like to see if we can carry one of their models. There may be some issues with it because they have some of their own stores. I’ll give you more information as that, as that is learned. And of course, so we’re going to the Furniture Market in Las Vegas. I’m just going for the one day on January 30th. And I’m going to be visiting the Cozzia Ogawa JP Medics company. And then I’m going to be visiting Infinity, and I’m going to be visiting Osaki Titan and try out some new chairs there and visit with old friends. I really enjoy going there.

 

[00:25:44]

It’s not quite as chaotic as the Consumer Electronics Show, but I get to spend more time talking with people who are very knowledgeable in the industry, and I really enjoy that. So, whatever I learn and whatever we do, I’ll share that. If you want to see what I did at CES, you can go to our blog on our website. And I wrote an article about what I saw and everything. Basically, I told you now maybe a few extra things, but I also have the video of me sitting in the Super Novo X, if you want to check that out.

 

[00:26:15]

Anyway, I hope you found this video helpful. If you did, please feel free to thumbs up like us on our YouTube channel. We appreciate it when you do that. And of course, help us spread the word about massage chairs by sharing this video or any of our videos with any of your friends and family on your social media platforms. I’m Doctor Alan Weidner from Massage Chair Relief, and I’ll see you again on the next video. Bye-bye.


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