Massage Chair Industry Update – February 3, 2023

February 21, 2023
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
February 21, 2023
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Massage Chair Industry Update – February 3, 2023

Las Vegas Furniture Market

Hi, I’m Dr Alan Weidner from Massage Chair Relief, and today is our bi-weekly Massage Chair Industry Update for Friday, February 3rd, 2023. Thank you for joining me today. I visited the Las Vegas furniture market this week and got to check in with a number of my suppliers who were there and had a great, great time, great visits with people that are in the know in the industry, and of course, people that are in the know with the particular products that they sell. I visited with Osaki Titan, and they have a new chair called the X-Rest, which I thought was fascinating because it has a mechanism on the shoulders where the airbags inflate and push down on the shoulders.

Osaki Titan Massage Chairs

[00:01:05]

And then part of that mechanism has two little roller balls that dig into the base of your neck right at the angle of the shoulder and the neck on both sides. And I thought that was fascinating. It’s hard to find chairs that do anything to the traps. I think the only other times we’ve had airbags that pushed directly on top of the shoulders were the old Inada Dream Wave, which has now been discontinued. It’s not on the market anymore. And the Ohco M.8, which also has airbags from the headpiece that push down. Well, this isn’t so much a headpiece as it is a mechanism attached to the chair that pushes down like an accordion style down on top of your shoulders. And again, at the same time, having little roller balls that dig into the angle between the neck and the shoulders. A nice chair. It’s built in the same factory as the popular Maestro LE chair.

 

[00:02:04]

And they also have a hood on it that comes down and gives you privacy. It sequesters you from the world around you, that comes down to about your chest and it’s just quiet in there and you can enjoy the massage. It’s a smooth-running massage chair. Good chair. They also had the Osaki Maestro LE 2.0, which has some upgrades, some feature changes compared to Maestro LE, but essentially the same roller mechanism, the same mechanical and electronic components. There are a few programming changes and whatnot. But that was also of note at the furniture market for Osaki.

New Massage Chair From Cozzia

[00:03:00]

Now, I also visited Cozzia, which is the parent company of Ogawa and JP Medics, and Brookstone and their recliner line called Svago. And while I was there, I visited with John Cribbs, who is the VP at Cozzia. And he was he’s been very helpful to me in the past in terms of enlightening me about new products and whatnot. And they had the new JP Medi’s Kaze, which is an upgrade from the Kumo, which is a very popular chair for us. And the Kaze has the chair doctor feature. I don’t know what they call it on the Kaze, but it’s the same feature that’s in the Master Drive AI and the AI 2.0. It senses tightness and particular areas of concern on your spine and you hold it during the scan in the palm of your hand with your thumb on the button on the top to activate it.

 

[00:04:03]

And at the end of your scan, it puts on the screen, on your remote control. It puts a reading of the areas of your spine that need attention. And mine needed shoulders and I believe low back. My mid back looked good, but my neck shoulders, and low back were kind of tight. And of course, that is true. Those were my areas of greatest duress, postural duress, and soreness. So, anyways it was nice visiting with John. The Master Drive AI 2.0 which is the replacement for the AI, the original AI, was there, the same one that we have now in our showrooms. It also has the chair Dr feature. I should also mention that the that the Osaki X-Rest also has a device like that on their chair. I can’t remember what they call it the pain sensor or something like that.

 

[00:05:00]

And of course, it’s no coincidence that chair, the Osaki X-Rest, the Osaki Maestro LE, the JP Medics Kumo, and the Ogawa Master driver are all made in the same factory, just branded with different company names. So, they’re using this chair Dr feature a little bit more widespread. So anyways, that’s the Kaze. And it has a few nicer lines. It has an enclosed foot massager, which we don’t have on a Kumo or the Master drives, but it has an enclosed foot massage mechanism. It has nice lines. It has quick keys. It has 3D/4D 40 roller mechanism, L-track. It’s a nice-looking chair. I think it’s listed at 12,999. And we don’t have that one in our showroom, but we should have it up on our website very, very soon.

New Luminary Massage Chair From Infinity

[00:06:04]

I think that was it for the Cozzia. Then I visited with Infinity. And infinity introduced a new chair called the Luminary. And the luminary is on the same vein as their Infinity Circadian Syner-D, as the Kyota Nokori, as the Daiwa Supreme Hybrid; all made in the same factory, all with that split track technology. The Circadian and the Hybrid we have in our showrooms, most of our showrooms. The luminary, I think we may introduce into our showroom. Its list price is a little bit less. But what I like about it is it has kneading airbags in the calves along with calf rollers. The Circadian does not have the kneading airbags. So, I like that. What they told me is that it has the same calf massage mechanism as the Infiniti Genesis Max, which if you’re familiar with, has a very, very good calf and foot massage.

 

[00:07:11]

And they’ve taken that technology and moved it on over to this new Luminary. And it has more synthetic leather exterior, not as much plastic or fiberglass or whatever the material is that you’ll see on the Circadian and on the Daiwa supreme hybrid. So anyways, the Luminary, it’s listed at 9,999 as opposed to the 12,999 price tag of the Circadian. And we discussed in our staff meeting yesterday about carrying that chair in our showroom. And we probably will. I know that’s the way, that’s the direction that Infiniti wants the brick-and-mortar stores to go is to carry that Luminary chair. And we will carry it in at least two of our showrooms. Anyways, that’s what’s going on with Infiniti. It was great to visit with Michael Milone again.

 

[00:08:00]

That’s one of the great things about the furniture market is I get to reacquaint myself with the people that I have been involved with for years in each industry. Michael Milone at Infinity, John Cribbs at Cozzia, and Nicholas Beese at Synca. And I’m going to talk about Synca in just a moment. And Jeff Chae at Osaki Titan. It’s always a wonderful opportunity just to reacquaint myself with these old friends and to learn from them about what’s cooking in the industry. And then as I mentioned, we visited with Nicholas Beese at Synca, and they have introduced a new JP 3000. Now, the JP 1100 is a chair that we’ve been carrying for a few years. The JP 3000 is the long-awaited upgrade. Now, Synca, or the parent company Johnson Wellness Technologies purchased the Fuji medical factory in Japan and so now their chairs from that factory are about at least 70% Japanese made.

New Synca Massage Chair Model

[00:09:08]

And that’s unusual because most of the chairs that say made in Japan, the vast majority of the components are built in China, but the chair is then shipped to Japan for assembly testing, and programming. And thus the phrase made in Japan applies to those chairs. Well, the JP 1100 and the JP 3000 truly are a majority made in Japan. They mention here, I’m just looking … I don’t have it up on our website yet. I’ve heard about it coming for quite some time, but it is officially out on the market now. We’ll add it to the website soon. It’s manufactured outside of Tokyo in conjunction with … And again, that’s the company Fuji Medical that invented chairs back in in the 1950s.

 

[00:10:02]

But the key components are made by Hitachi and the master upholstery is done by Nissan. And so, the best materials. The Japanese do make the best materials and the best components, and their testing is second. And that’s why some of these other chairs get sent to Japan for testing and programming. So, this is a genuinely Japanese chair. The thing that really makes this chair unique is its AI feature. And AI, of course, is artificial intelligence. They use this AI to help monitor the tension of your muscles while you’re in the chair. So, as the muscles change tension during the course of a massage program, which is what we hope a massage chair does, the chair will read it and then adjust the tension of the rollers on the muscles throughout the course of the program.

 

[00:11:01]

We saw something similar to that with the Panasonic MAJ7 and now the Mach1 which has a sensing device that takes feedback thousands of times throughout the course of a program to adjust according to the feedback gained by the software from your spine. So, the JP 3000 is similar in that regard. And they talk about some other features. And we’ll go into it when we put it on the website. But they also had a chair there called the Jin 2, which is a lower-end chair. Their price on it’s 3,499. And one of my employees sat on it when he was at the CES earlier this month or earlier in January, and he told me about the chair. And I’d heard about it, I just don’t know if I’d ever sat in it. It’s been around a while, but I sat in it when I was visiting with Nicholas earlier this week and I was quite impressed with the chair. It’s a 2D L-track, but it does not feel like it’s made from lesser components, like a lot of the cheaper chairs do.

 

[00:12:07]

So, this may be a model that we’ll introduce to our showroom or at least a couple of our showrooms in the near future. But that’s a good option for an under $4,000 chair. Nice L-track, quiet smooth rollers, plenty of airbags, and good intensity. I enjoyed that chair. I will say, though, that when Nicolas was talking to me, I was sitting in the JP 3000 and I was enjoying that and trying to focus on everything he was saying about the chair because he was teaching me so much about it. But I fell asleep. And my wife was there and she commented later, “You fell asleep while he was talking to you.” I said, “I know. I didn’t want to say anything. I was embarrassed.” And I don’t know if he realized that I had fallen asleep, but it reminds me of my customers in the showroom. A lot of times they’ll fall asleep while I’m talking to them when they’re sitting on a massage chair. But sure enough, that’s what I did. Also, when I was at the furniture market, I got to visit with Ian Hayes, one of the principals of Furniture for Life, and they had a booth with a few of their chairs there.

Furniture For Life

[00:13:09]

And they have some things in the works for this year. And I should have asked if I could have permission to mention some things, but I won’t say anything because I didn’t ask for permission to talk about it. So, a lot of these companies don’t like to talk about the new stuff down the pipe because they don’t want people sitting around waiting for the new stuff, and then the new stuff comes along and maybe it’s not quite what they had in the old stuff, and the old stuff has gone up in price and the new stuff … Or they put a kibosh on the new stuff and they put it on the shelf for maybe another year or two. So, it doesn’t serve them when I start talking about chairs that are coming down the road and maybe at the end of the year or whatnot. And I met with Kathy Lou also from Human Touch. They have that new Super Novo X, which has which is an upgrade to the Super Novo.

The Human Touch Super Novo X Massage Chair

[00:14:05]

They will still have the Super Novo, but the Super Novo X has these doors that lift up. And I talk about the doors on the 0hco M.8 that open like a car door, and I’ve talked about the sliding doors armrest of the Luraco i9 Max that slides back and forth, and then now the Super Novo is going to have the X chair which has doors that go up, kind of like a DeLorean or something like that on the Back to the Future. But all these features, these easy access features from the armrests are for people that are too fragile or maybe too old or too unsure of their step to back up onto a chair and sit in it. There’s a fear factor associated with that. And also, if you’ve ever had severe back pain and you know, you can hardly move; plopping into a massage here can be tough.

 

[00:15:03]

Well, these chairs in this new technology allow you to get into the chair like you’re getting into a car, butt first, and slide in and swing your legs around. It does make it a lot easier. But anyways, I talk to Kathy and had a wonderful visit with her. They also have a new model called the Rove. It’s a lower-end chair. I think it’s on sale for 3,999 right now. And I don’t have it on my website because I was not very familiar with that chair, if at all, before talking to Kathy. But these are all chairs that we will have up on the website soon enough. And that was it for the furniture market. It was cold in Vegas, man. We came from Utah where it was cold and snowy, but we went to Vegas where it was cold and rainy and I was surprised. I don’t think I’ve ever been in Las Vegas when it was that cold. I know my wife was saying before we left, “Hey, maybe we can go walk along down the strip when we’re not at the furniture market.” And there’s no way we were going to go walking. We weren’t dressed for it at all.

 

[00:15:59]

Anyways, we had a wonderful visit. It was good to visit with my friends from the different companies. And I appreciate their kindness and graciousness and taking time with me while I was there to explain things and whatnot. And also just for putting up with my brashness sometimes or my inquisitiveness. They’re very tolerant and patient with me and I appreciate that. Getting down to more news and notes information, the Luraco chair is still on sale. The i9 Max Special Edition, which is the chair we have in our showroom and which has been quite popular, has $750 off from Luraco. And the i9 Max, the regular i9 max has 500 off. That goes until the 15th. Furniture for Life has their price increase on the on the OHCO M.8.

Massage Chair Price Increases

[00:17:04]

And the Positive Posture Brio chairs went up on February 1st. So. You’ve got the Ohco M.8 went up from 9,999 to 10,999. The Positive Posture Brio Support went from 6,999 up to 7999. And the Brio Plus went from 6,499 to 6,999. Those are the price increases. We’ve noticed that some of the ocean freight surcharges that I talked about last year, and the year before, because of COVID, the freight charges have gone up so much. And Cozzia, the parent company of Ogawa, JP Medics, and Brookstone, had anywhere from six to … Or I think it was 10 to 12% freight surcharges, which were a significant charge. Some of the companies still have those charges, but Ogawa, Cozzia, and JP Medics, that company got rid of those.

 

[00:18:01]

So, I’m happy to see those gone because that really substantially increased our cost on those chairs and restricted us in what we could offer in terms of sale prices. We still have travel surcharges on the Furniture for Life chairs. I think there’s one other company that still has travel surcharges. So, that is something that in the industry as a seller, as a retailer, I’d like to see those gone because that just adds to the cost of the chair, which leads to an increase in the pricing of the chair. Also, a sale this month is Ogawa … Osaki. Gee, how many times have I confused those two companies this morning? But the Osaki Maestro LE is on sale for 8,999.

 

[00:19:01]

We don’t usually see that chair on sale. It’s a popular selling chair for us. We have it in all of our showrooms. And that chair is regularly 9,999, on sale for 8,999. And so, I think that’s it in terms of the sales, I just wanted to mention briefly about discontinued models and parts availability. Now, all companies discontinue models from time to time, right? They all discontinue them. Well, there’s a problem with parts at times. And some companies will when they discontinue a chair and when those parts are gone, they’re gone. And sometimes when the chair is discontinued, if a chair breaks down and they don’t have parts for it, you’re immediately out of luck, per se.

 

[00:20:00]

But you’re not really out of luck. Some companies will have a backup plan, like they’ll give you a super discount on the replacement chair or they have an open box that they’ll replace the discontinued chair with. So, most of companies try to help the customer. And I appreciate that because sometimes some companies, it’s like you’re out of luck. And that’s tough for me to see because as a consumer myself, if I had a chair for three or four or five years and all of a sudden now it’s discontinued, and my chair breaks down and they can’t get parts for it, that’s extremely frustrating. And so, I have a lot of empathy for customers who go through that. And we do everything in our power at Massage Chair Relief to make sure that that customer is taken care of, whether it’s tracking down parts somewhere or getting a replacement chair for the customer, or working out a deal with the distributor, that they can provide something to replace.

Our Own Lifetime Labor Warranty

[00:21:02]

Whatever it is, we want to do whatever we can to take care of our customers. That’s one of the reasons why I have a lifetime labor warranty. Nobody else offers that. And many of my competitors, and this is no joke, they think I’m an idiot to do that. They also think that about my return policy. And sometimes I think I’m an idiot with that one. But needless to say, if you’re spending $10,000 on a chair and the warranty lasts three years and after three years, you’ve got to pay $200 for a service charge or more, and then parts, it gets even more expensive. And so, my thinking, whether it’s misguided or not, and my conscience feels that the lifetime labor warranty is extremely valuable because we pay the service calls for as long as you own your chair. When you sell it, it doesn’t transfer with the chair sale, or if you give it away, we don’t transfer the lifetime labor warranty.

 

[00:22:02]

But for as long as you own the chair, we will pay for the service calls to repair it. You’ll have to get the parts from the company. And sometimes those parts can be as cheap as 15-20 bucks. Sometimes they can be $400. If it’s a roller mechanism or a motherboard or something like that, you’re going to pay a few hundred bucks. But the bottom line is you’re not going to have to pay for labor. Again, that’s $200, in some cases more, depending on what part of the country you live in and who the tech is. But these chairs that are discontinued prematurely or discontinued but you can’t get parts anymore or you have a breakdown in your chair after the fact, your warranty expires; these are things that I am acutely sensitive to and I just want you to know that. So, regardless of your situation with a chair, we will do all we can to make sure that you’re taken care of.

 

[00:23:00]

Now, if you’ve got a chair, you’ve had a chair for six, seven, eight years, that is for many chairs the life expectancy of chairs, particularly the lower priced chairs. If you’re buying a premium chair, we expect ten years and maybe even more. So, we expect those chairs to last that long. And if you’ve got a chair that that’s breaking down in that time frame and there are no parts available, then there’s a problem. And we have to we’ll do what we can to make sure we rectify that problem for you. So, anyways, I think that’s about it for this week’s Massage Chair Industry Update. I hope you found 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 or any of our videos with your friends and family on your social media platforms. And of course, realize that I’ve got I think, 800 videos on my YouTube channel.

 

[00:23:58]

Of course, many of them are from chairs that are since discontinued or out of circulation. But there is a lot of good information on chairs that we carry now and we’ve carried in the past that are still in the market. And you can get a lot of information from those YouTube videos. Take advantage of them. Use them to your advantage. You can spend hours on that doggone YouTube channel of ours. It’s very, very helpful. And we have some things that are in the works right now for our YouTube channel, disseminating information to our customers and having our customers a little bit more engaged in the education process. And I’ll share that with you when we to a place where we’re ready to do it. But anyways, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from Massage Chair Relief. I hope you again found this very helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 888-259-5380 and we will be happy to answer your questions for you.

 

[00:25:01]

And I’m very accessible as well through emails or contact pages on our website. I will take care of you in any way that I can. I hope you have a great day and I will see you again in two weeks. Bye-bye.


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