Massage Chair Industry Update – February 24, 2023

February 28, 2023
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
February 28, 2023
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Massage Chair Industry Update – February 24, 2023

Hi, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from Massage Chair Relief, and today is our bi-weekly massage chair industry update for Friday, February 24th, 2023. Thank you so much for joining me today. We have a few things to deal with in terms of discontinued models. The Osaki First Class massage chair announced has been discontinued. That was a fairly popular massage chair. We saw a fair number of sales of it, but usually, it was only sold when it was on sale. And it looks like they were more or less trying to clear out the inventory. But the Osaki First Class has been discontinued. The Luraco sale ended on 2-15.

New Massage Chair Models for Massage Chair Relief

[00:01:03]

And our web people have been adding all these new models and I have to update all the information for our comparison charts and My Chair Finder software. And I have to update all that data. So, those massage chairs should be up and running on the website within the next 24 to 48 hours. And the new massage chair models that we have are the Ogawa Active L 3D, the Ogawa Active XL 3D, the Ogawa Refresh L, the Infinity Luminary Syner-D, which is a similar chair to the Infinity Circadian, but it has a little bit of a wider fit and it has calf kneading instead of just calf airbag inflation, it has airbags that actually need the calves and it makes for a little bit better stretch.

 

[00:02:03]

We also have the new Human Touch Whole Body Rove, The Whole Body 8.0, the Osaki High Point, the JP Medics Kawa. And those are the chairs we will be adding within the next 24 to 48 hours. Also, we’ve just received the information for the new JP Medics Kaze. And I talked about that. I saw that at the furniture market. And I mentioned that to some degree in that two weeks ago in the massage industry update. And also, the new X-Rest from Ozaki, we finally have that information and we’re going to have that added to the website in the next few days or probably early next week as well. So, lots of new models coming out. I know there are two companies that are coming out with Japanese-only made chairs, so their components are all made in Japan.

Made in Japan Massage Chairs

[00:03:03]

Made in Japan Massage Chairs I suspect there might be some smaller components or components that help build the components to help build up the components that are maybe made in other countries. But these chairs are not just assembled, tested and programmed in Japan, they are actually built in Japan. But we don’t have much we can give you right now. One company, we know the name of the chairs, but can’t mention it. The other company told me that their chair is coming out sometime at the end of March, March-April. And we’ll let you know about that as well. It’s rare that you get a high percentage built Japanese chair. So, it’s going to be interesting to see what these models are, how they fare against the Chinese brand and how they hold up to the testing that’s going to go on with new people buying the chair.

 

[00:03:59]

Massage chair companies can test their new chairs, but often they’re not really going to know everything they need to know about that chair until it’s being sold to the general public and hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands of people are sitting on it, and then that’s when they start getting feedback on the warranty and then they know the things that need to be fixed or changed or updated or improved. And so, it’ll be interesting to see. The Japanese are known for incredible testing, and that’s what sets them apart from the world. But it’ll be interesting to see how they do with these new models. And from what I’ve been told, the prices of these chairs are going to be reasonable. Well, I know one of the chairs that are coming out is going to be in the $5000 to $6,000 price range. I’m not sure about the other one, but we’ll let you know as we learn more about that. Now, we have I had mentioned in a previous industry update that some of the massage chair companies are getting rid of their ocean freight surcharge fees. They were charging anywhere from 5 to 12%.

Massage Chair Shipping & Delivery Cost Increase

[00:05:03]

And some of those companies are starting to get rid of those because the overseas freight charges are not as much as they used to be. And we appreciate them passing that on to us. And onto our consumers. However, having said that, local shipping here in the United States has gone up. And I don’t know if you’re aware of that, but shipping costs for in-home delivery and set-up, for long-haul freight have gone up quite a bit in recent months, especially at the beginning of this year. So, we have noticed that Human Touch and Furniture for Life and Ogawa have increased white glove delivery charges. And this is probably because, and I don’t know exactly the reasons why the white glove delivery is so much more money, but probably because the cost of gas has gone up quite a bit. Also, they’ve been very busy, a lot of in-home deliveries for furniture and massage chairs and whatnot.

 

[00:06:04]

They’re busy, so they’re charging a premium as well. And some chairs, as we’ve mentioned in the past, like the GTS9 from KAI is a difficult chair to assemble and takes a lot of time. And so, they’re bumping up their white glove service charges to the massage chair company. And then, of course, they pass that on to us and to the consumer. So anyways, you’re probably going to continue to see increases in shipping prices, and not just in massage, this is probably going to be across the board, especially for larger ticket items, so just be aware of that. Just know that that is going to be worked into the price of the chair in some instances or it’s going to be an add-on, but it’s going to be higher than it’s been, so just be ready for that. We’ve already seen a change in what we can charge for white glove delivery for the Human Touch chairs. And like I said, Furniture for Life for the GTS9.

 

[00:07:02]

And any deliveries in New York or Florida, they’ve increased their white glove delivery substantially for those states. So, it’s very much in flux. For years and years, and I mean years, as long as I’ve been in the industry, white glove delivery, you could pretty much plan on what that was going to cost. It was pretty static. You didn’t see a lot of fluctuation in costs unless it’s out in the boonies or it’s like we say, there’s not a lot of companies that serve out there in a particular region where you might live, and so they charge reasonable amounts. But now, definitely, things are changing and you’re going to see more and more shipping increases. Anyways, enough of that. And finally, I don’t really have much more to add in terms of the basic stuff that’s going on in the industry right now. At the beginning of January, the beginning of each year with the Consumer Electronics Show and the furniture market, there’s lots of new stuff being introduced to the market.

Massage Chair Discounts & Long Term Financing

[00:08:05]

It is kind of an exciting time, but then things kind of slow down. And so, probably in March, April, May, June, July, you won’t see a ton of stuff. You’ll see the odd new model or two. But I think things will start to kind of slow down. You’ll see some sales for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, July 4th and things like that. But anyway, keep tuned into my industry updates and we’ll let you know what’s cooking and what’s going on. Now, I just wrote an article this last week in my blog about massage chair discounts and massage chair financing terms. And I want to just talk about this briefly. I believe I’ve talked about this before, but I want to go into a little bit more depth. Some folks will come to us and say, “Hey, listen, we want to do a discount on a chair,” and then we work out a price for them. And then they say they want 48 or 60-month financing on that same chair.

 

[00:09:04]

And it’s very difficult for us to do that because when we give up price discounts, we are cutting into our profit margin, of course, naturally. But the issue with financing is that people don’t realize this, but we get charged a merchant processing fee by the Synchrony Bank or a Firm Financing or whatever financing company it is. They’re going to make their money. And if it’s 0% interest, which most of the Synchrony plans are that we deal with, they have to make their money somehow and they’re going to make it off of the merchant processor fees that they charge us. And so, when you’re looking at a chair and you want to get 48-month financing or 60-month financing, you’re getting close to, I’d say, 16 to 18, 19% merchant processing fee that’s charged to us. And that’s on the total amount.

 

[00:10:04]

If you paying if you’re paying sales tax and shipping and all that other stuff, the cost of the chair, we get charged the total amount financed that percentage that Synchrony charges us. So, if you’re getting, let’s say, a 10% discount … And the example I use in my article is if there’s a chair that has a 30% profit margin and you’re getting a 10% discount or a 15% discount on that chair, and then you want 48 months financing or 60 months financing, we’re looking at a close to 18% or 19% merchant processor fees. There is virtually next to no profit margin remaining for that chair. Now, that might be great for you, but it is not good for the business. And the business that operates that way is probably hurting to begin with because they’re willing to do anything to get the deal and get the sale but there they’re staying power in the industry is probably less than quite a bit, which means they may not be around in a year or two to support you if you have a problem with your chair.

 

[00:11:15]

What I’m basically saying is you can’t run and you can’t run a business at really, really, really low-profit margins unless you’re selling thousands and thousands and maybe millions of products like a grocery store or a department store or something like that. But when you’re selling massage chairs or other high-ticket items like that, you have a certain profit margin you have to deal with. And it’s not like McDonald’s where you’re serving thousands a day. You have to make enough money to cover all your overhead. And of course, overhead is rent, utilities, Internet, staff, of course, payroll, deliveries, local shipping repairs, all that stuff comes into play.

 

[00:12:04]

And so, that is why if you’re searching for a good deal on a chair and you want high-end or high term long-term financing, it’s going to be very difficult for you to find that anywhere. And so, just understand that’s why it’s hard to get both. Because both cut into the profit margin of the business, and if the business cannot sustain coverage of their expenses because they’re getting next to nothing in profit margin, well then they’re going to have to say, “No, we can’t give you both. We can give you 12 months financing or maybe 18 months financing and a good discount on the chair. But we cannot give you both because that will basically eat up the profit margin.” So anyways, I thought you might be interested to know that and understand that as a shopper, the business lessons that come into play for business owners, and so that’ll help you understand why maybe you can’t get these kinds of deals all the time like high end 60 months financing and 15% off on the price of the chair.

 

[00:13:13]

It’s difficult for the retailer to provide those kinds of services and deals to you. So anyways, just thought you’d like to know that. And again, most people don’t understand that 0% interest financing means 0% for you, but it means a percentage of merchant processing fee for us the retailers. Did you know that for every credit card transaction you make, the merchant has to pay? So, they have to pay a merchant processing fee for credit cards. That can be anywhere from two and one-half to four and a half percent, depending on the card, depending on the rewards that the card has, etc., etc.. But most people don’t realize that. We’re seeing more and more retailers adding an additional 3% or three and a half percent onto the price of their products because they’ve got to cover that that processing fee.

 

[00:14:04]

But financing companies do the same thing. And if you’re getting 12-month financing, you know, it’s only going to cost the merchant three and a half to 4%. But if you want 60 months financing, it’s going to cost them 18 to 19%. And that is all something that the retailer has to pay. I hope that makes sense. It. Of course, you can always call us if you have questions about that or anything else about the whole process of buying a massage chair. I don’t know if you’ve been able to tell from my industry updates, but I do try to be very disclosing and transparent about our industry and what things to be aware of and what things to watch out for. And this is something that you’ll as a buyer, you’ll appreciate knowing because it’ll help you understand why some retailers and most of us cannot offer huge discounts on price and then huge 0% interest terms because we’re paying the price for that.

 

[00:15:02]

The distributor isn’t paying for it. The credit card company isn’t paying for it. The financing company isn’t paying for it. We pay for that. And so, we have to be very, very cautious as prudent business owners and business managers to make sure that we’re not going in the hole and losing money on deals because then we’re not going to be around. Plain and simple. Well, anyways, that’s it for my Massage Chair Industry Update this week. I hope you found this information helpful, this video helpful. If you did, please feel free to thumbs up like us on our YouTube channel and help us spread the word about massage chairs by sharing this video or any of our videos with your friends and family. And of course, give us a call at 888-259-5380 with any questions you have or visit us through our social media platforms or email or whatever. We are always accessible. And usually, we can talk to you that moment or that day, so feel free to reach out any time. I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from massage-chair-relief.com, and I will see you again in two weeks. Bye-bye.


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