Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – January 24, 2018”
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Alan: Hi, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from ‘Massage-Chair-Relief.com’ and today is our biweekly massage chair industry update for Wednesday, January 24th, 2018.
[SCREEN TEXT: Stock Status]
Alan: You know, I don’t usually go in to stock too much anymore, because the stock schedule gets so, it’s – here’s the thing, I think that we know about a chair that’s in stock, or out of stock, or in stock especially – and then we send in the order, and then we find out that it’s out of stock, because often times, some of the companies don’t notify us of stock, you know, stock status. And so, I just kind of gave up on it because I’d say on one industry update, this is the only chair that’s back-ordered, and then the next day I’d have an order, and find out that that one was back-ordered, and it was too late to say anything. So, I just said ‘Oh, bag it,’ but I will say, though, that I did receive an update from Inada, an update – and when I say Inada, I mean Inada, Positive Posture, and Panasonic – the only chair that has been back-ordered from them is the ‘Black’ leather Inada DreamWave. That’s supposed to be in this week. As of matter of fact, it should be in now. Also, I believe Human Touch had good stock. Infinity is back-ordered on the 8500X3 on all colors until the middle of February, so a couple of more weeks, two to three more weeks, and I received an update from Osaki that the 7200H is back-ordered until the end of January, as is the Cyber 2.0. Mid-March, the 4000LS will be in stock, as well as the Titan Executive, the Japan 4.0, the 4000T, ‘Black’ and ‘Cream,’ and the ‘Brown’ Maxim will not be available until April now. So, they have some – they’re definitely out of stock on some chairs, but also the – who else is out of stock? Just a minute, I think Johnson Wellness are in stock on all their chairs. Anyway, so I think there’s kind of the after-holiday slump when chairs start to go, when the stock is low, and because of all the buying during the holiday season, and the massage chair companies have sent out their orders for new chairs from China, or Japan, and it’s just a matter of waiting for them to come. So, it’s not uncommon to have stock issues after the holidays, but anyway, I just wanted to mention that to you in case some of you were wondering why I’m not mentioning stock status more frequently, as I used to every week before.
[SCREEN TEXT: My Visit to CES in Las Vegas]
Alan: OK, I went to the CES – well, I guess it’s a couple of weeks now, it’ll almost be a couple of weeks now – in Las Vegas to see what’s cooking in the massage chair industry, and there really weren’t any new models that I saw.
[SCREEN TEXT: Panasonic MAJ7 – New Model from Panasonic!]
Alan: There’s the big one that I saw that was new was the Panasonic MAJ7, which is a new model from Panasonic that actually has foot rollers. So, this is the first Japanese designed, or engineered, massage chair that has foot rollers. Now, it’s made in China still, but it’s under the auspices of the Panasonic engineers, but that new chair has foot rollers, which is kind of extraordinary for a Japanese chair, and so when I went to CES, they had it on display. I sat on it, it was a good, vigorous massage, it was a more cushy feel. It looks a lot like the MA73 and the MA70, but a more cushy massage, there’s more, it feels like more padding, softer padding. You cannot rotate the ottoman because of the foot rollers, so but it still has a back pad, and the armrests that kind of make it look like a regular chair, and it can be used as a regular recliner chair, if you just want to use it to watch TV without using the massage chair function. The foot rollers were good, it was intense. It has a program in there called ‘Core,’ which basically works on your core, from neck down to low back, a little bit differently, it has a different program there. I can’t remember exactly how that program worked, but I thought it was kind of cool that they used, had a program called the ‘Core,’ and it still has heated rollers. It has easy remote-control function, it has 3D rollers as well. Oh, and one thing that you can do on that chair – OK, most chairs, if you want to change the intensity of the airbags, you have to – you can change the intensity of the airbags on any massage chair, but when you change it, it changes all the airbags to the massage chair, so it’s a gross systemic intensity change. The J7 from Panasonic does not, or it does allow you to independently increase the intensity of airbag compression from one area to another. So, if you just want it on the legs, you can do it, if you just want it on the arms, you can do it, and this is during the auto programs, you can adjust that. So, that’s a pretty cool feature for usability. And it’s called the J7 because it has what they call a ‘J-track,’ and I want to talk a little bit about this J-track.
[SCREEN TEXT: J-Track vs. L-Track vs. S-Track]
Alan: The Infinity Presidential also has a J-track, and I’ll be talking about this on a blog post. But L-track, OK, first of all, we understand the concept of the S-track, don’t we? The S-track suggests that the shape of the spine is followed by the shape of the roller track. So, the roller track goes forward in the neck, reverse on the mid back, forward on the low back, and reverse on the buttock, or at least the SI joint, or the hips, that’s the S-shape of the track. And then the L-track continues on from the S-track, down under the buttock, so it comes right along the lines of the seat. The drawbacks of that is that you can’t flatten the chair out to get a really, really good stretch like you can on an S-track. Well, now they’ve come out with this J-track, which we see on the Infinity Presidential, and apparently on this Panasonic, and I’m not going to talk about the J-track in terms of how it affects the Panasonic massage, but as far as the Presidential goes – because the Panasonic is not an extended roller track, not like an L-track, or one of these other – the L-track, or the other J-track chair. So, what happens is the J-track, it follows the S down the spine, and then instead of going right under the seat, it goes down at a 45-degree angle, and so that – and then the 3D rollers – I think this can only work on a 3D-roller chair, the 3D rollers extend fully out to meet the hamstring, and the glute muscles, and the piriformis muscles. So, it feels exactly like an L-track, no different than an L-track, but the idea is that the track goes down a bit, so that the chair, instead of having an L-track like this, it’s more of a J-track. The whole chair can recline to a more horizontal position, which will allow for a greater stretch, and the Infinity Presidential does have a good stretch, better than other L-track chairs. So, it feels like an L-track, it looks like an L-track, but it is a J-track, which is a little bit of a variation, which is pretty clever really when you think about it, because it allows an L-track-like chair to have a good stretch, which is not really commonplace for an L-track chair. Anyway, I hope I haven’t confused you, call me if you have any questions, or email me, or whatnot, I can explain more to you. But the Infinity Presidential is a J-track, and I will be doing a review on the Legend, the Presidential, the Ekon – oh, I want to talk a little bit about the Ekon too – and also, the uKnead Lohas.
[SCREEN TEXT: uKnead Lohas]
Alan: The uKnead Lohas, we had the beta-test chair in our showroom in Utah, great little chair for about $4000, but they came out with the final product. I think I mentioned this two weeks ago, but they came out with the final product for market, and it’s a nice chair. It’s got a very nice remote control, much easier to use than the one that I have in my showroom, it has nine programs, instead of four, it’s – what else does it have – oh, it’s got Bluetooth connectivity to it, which my beta doesn’t have. But anyway, uKnead Lohas, I’ll be – and they deployed that chair just in the last month – they started shipping them out, so I will write a review about those too. So, I’ve got a lot of reviews to write, but just wanted to let you know, for those that keep – I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Luraco Legend, I will write a review about that. We’re quite familiar with that now, in both of our showrooms, and we’ll have some good feedback.
[SCREEN TEXT: Osaki Pro Ekon – New Model!]
Alan: But also, the – I mentioned to you, the Ekon – Osaki’s come out with an Ekon, their Osaki Pro Ekon – and it is a nice-looking chair. It’s kind of got that Iyashi-chair look, where it has kind of a – it has some, like the fiberglass, or hard plastic shell – but combined with the upholstery, so it doesn’t look as fully plastic as the Iyashi did, but it’s a nice-looking chair. Plus, it’s got foot massage, and this one has calf massage, and I’m going to talk about calf massage in just a moment, as an aside, but this one has calf rollers, not discs, it’s rollers, and again, I’ll explain the difference in just a moment. But the Ekon’s a nice-looking chair, a nice chair, it’s a 3D L-track chair, it’s got a strong neck massage, strong low back, strong feet-and-calf rollers, and it has Bluetooth connectivity as well, I believe. And anyway, it’s a nice-looking chair too, you can take a look, you know, you can take a look at it on my site, I do have that one up, thank goodness. I’ve still got to get up the Panasonic and the Titan Jupiter XL. But that Ekon is on our website, you can take a look at it, and get a little better feel for what it looks like, and what the feature set is, but we’re excited about that, I know Osaki’s excited about that. I think it’s a nice chair, and it’s made in one of the best factories in China, the one that I visited, actually, a couple months ago. I think this is a great chair, and I think it’s going to a winner.
[SCREEN TEXT: Less and Less Brand-Name Massage Chairs at the $3000 Price Point]
Alan: It’s also priced up in the same price point as much of the other 3D L-tracks, I think it’s $7999, same as the Novo, a little bit less than the Infinity Presidential, a little bit more than the Luraco Legend, but all these 3D L-tracks are going up in price. And by the way, the $3000 price point for chairs, which was common in the past, for a brand-name chair, they’re hard to come by nowadays. Osaki has some, the uKnead chairs have them, there’s still some good chairs in the $3000 price point, but you’ll notice that the prices of chairs are progressively increasing. I mean, I remember when the Novo XT came out, I thought there’s no way people are going to pay for this, for a Chinese-made L-track, but the quality of the chair is great, and it is a popular seller. It’s our top-selling L-track chair, so you know, shame on me for doubting the market for you know, noticing a good chair when it’s around, but I am surprised that the chairs have gone up as much as they have. And the way, the J7 from Panasonic is now priced at $9995, same as the Cozzia Qi.
[SCREEN TEXT: Cozzia Qi Redesigned for Easier Delivery]
Alan: And by the way, the Cozzia Qi has been redesigned a little bit, so that in comes in three boxes now, instead of one. The Cozzia Qi had sale problems because of the chairs couldn’t be delivered because the box, at its narrowest point, was 36 inches, and most doors are 32 or less, external doors and internal doors, or exterior and interior doors. Well, they’ve redesigned it, and now it comes in three boxes, so it can fit through pretty much any door. And that Cozzia Qi is a chair known for its superior scanning, and adaptability to the body of the user, and plus, it has a great massage, but that chair now comes in three pieces, and that one’s also priced at $9995, like the Panasonic J7, MAJ7. So, anyway, just wanted to let you know about that. Oh, and oh, I’m kind of losing my mind here, but I was talking about the CES. When I was at CES, I visited Infinity, and they only had the RiageX3 there, which is a chair that they only sell through their own website, and through Brookstone stores, so I don’t really know much about it. It’s a lot like the old Iyashi, just a different body, and a little bit different roller track, but I can’t, that’s just what I was told, I don’t know if that’s, in fact, the case. The Iyashi’s now been discontinued, so it’s kind of hard to tell for sure. But so, Infinity, I saw Infinity there, I saw Human Touch there, they had a small, little booth, it was 10 by 10, and it was full of the Novo XT, which I had mentioned to you, is our top-selling L-track. Also, I saw, Infinity, I saw Panasonic, and I tried out their new J7, I saw the, Inada was there, with their DreamWave. And by the way, it’s always so nice when I go back to, when I go to CES to connect with all these people, all my suppliers, I really have a wonderful time there, visiting with old friends, and people that I do business with, but rarely see because they’re all in different parts of the country. But it was great to see Cliff and Ian from Inada, and Alex, and Brandon, and D’Andre, it was really good to meet, and see them again, and you know, it was really just a very, very nice experience to be there.
[SCREEN TEXT: Positive Posture Brio Upgrade!]
Alan: Positive Posture, which falls under the Furniture for Life family, which includes Inada and Panasonic, and another brand name that’s not related to massage chairs, they were there, and they had their Brio, and you know, we got a Brio, we were one of the first stores, if not the first store to get the Positive Posture Brio, which is another 3D L-track. But there were, they had had a couple of issues that we identified, and told Furniture for Life, or Positive Posture, about, in that you could not, if you wanted to change – it was a 3D L-track – but if you wanted to change the intensity of the rollers, the intensity of the airbags changed as well. So, for some people, it was squeezing too hard at the maximum intensity, but they needed the rollers to be stronger, and deeper, but the airbags were too strong for them to handle. So, and that, and also, when you were in the manual mode, you could not adjust, you could not turn on the rollers and airbags, in the manual settings, you could do one or the other, and those were two things that we noticed from using the chair in the showrooms, and they made those changes. And so, when we were there, we noticed that those changes had been made, we were notified that they were being changed because of our feedback, but the Brio was there as well. But as far as new models go, that was it, it was just the Panasonic J7, and that’s it. Last year, there were so many more. I know there was the Inada Nest, there was the Luraco Legend, the Luraco Sofy, the, well, Infinity had another model that they sold, that they sell through another distributor, but there were a lot of new models to try out, but this year was different, and maybe next year, we’ll see a whole bunch of new ones.
[SCREEN TEXT: Calf Roller Discussion]
Alan: OK, calf rollers, I want to talk about calf rollers, and I want to talk about massage chair scams, which are becoming increasingly popular, by the way, or common. I shouldn’t say popular, they’re not popular at all, they’re common, and people are falling for these scams, but it is not, it’s not good, it’s not a good thing, it’s not good in a, it’s not popular in a good way. But anyway, calf rollers, now, when you hear the term calf rollers, first of all, there’s not many chairs that have calf rollers. We first saw it in the Human Touch Navitas Sleep chair, which has since been discontinued. It was a chair, or a brand that is a Human Touch chair, but made in conjunction with Johnson Wellness, and that chair had rollers that went up the sides of the calves. It was incredible, I really liked it, and it was very strong, and for some people it was too strong, and maybe that was one of the reasons why the chair was discontinued, but I personally really liked it. It was the first chair that we’d seen that had rollers coming down the sides of the calves. Well, now, there’s also chairs that have discs in the back of the calves, and now, the Osaki Ekon has rollers, like foot rollers, in or behind the calves as well. So, you’ve got discs, you’ve got rollers, and then on the Navitas, which has been discontinued, but may come back under a different label, you have rollers going up and down the sides of the calves. So, when you hear the term calf rollers, and you see a chair that has calf rollers, make sure you’re clean on what kind of rollers they are. It may be disappointing to you if you’re expecting rollers like a foot roller, but it ends up being a disc, or if it has rollers down the sides of the calves, and it’s way too intense for you, and all you can really handle are discs, or the rollers in the back. So, anyway, I just wanted to talk a little bit about calf rollers, because they are becoming more popular, and I think we’re going to see more and more of them. I’m sure we’re going to someday see rollers on the sides of the thighs, rollers on the arms, maybe even rollers on the quads, in the years to come. But the calf rollers, right now, are things that are, it looks like they’re becoming more popular.
[SCREEN TEXT: Massage Chair Scams!!]
Alan: OK, now, I want to talk about a scam. Now, I talked to you, over the course of a few of these industry updates, about these chairs that were selling on this website, and it was some kind of massage chair mart, or massage chair store, something like that, and they were selling these chairs for 2, 3, $400, and this was like an Inada DreamWave, which is a $9000 chair, selling for $400. It’s obviously a scam, you’re not going to get a chair for that price, but having said that, I have had call after call. I don’t get them anymore. It looks like this one’s been nipped in the bud, but I was getting calls, and I was getting angry Facebook comments and emails from people demanding their chairs, and I would say ‘Well, who are you, I don’t know who you are, give me your name,’ and of course, they weren’t one of our customers. But they were online, found a link, and they have many, many different addresses, different massage chair, you know, web addresses, that led to this same website, and people were paying that money, that’s what’s even more incredible, and it wasn’t just here in the United States, I had two calls from Canada, and a number here, and I even had one from a guy in Malaysia. And they are spending money, 2, 3, $400, they’re thinking they’re getting a 5, or 6, 7, 8, or $9000 massage chair for 2, $300. That’s a scam, I mean, duh, but I understand that people, when it comes to money, our judgment gets a little impaired. That happens for business owners, and for consumers, so just, that was a scam, and now we don’t see it much anymore, I think they got busted. Well, anyway, we’ve had a couple of price matches this week from a company called ‘SaleFitnessEquipment.com,’ and they were having prices that looked more legitimate, like a Brio, for example, that was $3599, that is well below our cost. They were selling an Inada DreamWave, I think, for $5500, and a Luraco iRobotics 7 for $5200, well below our cost, our cost, and of course, well below the minimum advertised price. Well, here’s the problem, people are going to come to us for a price match. We will not match that price. I emailed every one of my suppliers to let them know about this, and of course, every one of them said they’re not authorized dealers, it’s a scam. The phone number is a foreign phone number, it’s like in India or something, but the website looks legit. And it looks like a real website, and they don’t just sell massage chairs, they sell exercise equipment, and some other things. Well, anyway, here’s the problem, people are going to call me – this is a more legitimate scam than the other one, 2, 3, $400, that’s obvious – this one, it’s close enough in price that it makes you, you know, really think ‘Gee, this is a good deal.’ So, they will call us, and they will say ‘Will you match this price? You say you price match. Will you match this price?’ Well, of course, we only match price from authorized dealers. Well, they’re going to go to us, they’re going to go to someone else, one of my competitors, and they’re not going to match it either, because they know they can’t, because it’s below our cost, and then they’re going to go on to that website, and they’re going to buy that chair at that price, thinking they got a screaming deal. And it sounds more legitimate because the prices are in the thousands, but thousands less than what the chairs retail for, and they’re going to get burned, they are going to get burned. They’re not going to honor, the suppliers are not going to honor sales of those chairs, and you’re not going to have any warranty support, even if you got the chair. So, just again, buyer beware, be very, very careful, and there’s these scams out there, and you know, this is kind of like the wild west in massage chair land. I mean, when I got in the industry 13, 14 years ago, there were a couple of, you know, a couple of primary competitors, and there was only really one or two chair companies in town, that was Sanyo, and Panasonic, and Human Touch, and really, Human Touch was the, was it. Well, now you’ve got so many different companies, and you’ve got so many different retailers, and you’ve got so many different websites popping up, like ‘Bob’s Massage Chairs,’ or ‘Fred’s Massage Chairs,’ or whatever, and please be careful. Please be careful, just be careful. That’s all I can say, I’ve seen enough people get ripped off that it breaks my heart. And of course, there’s other retailers like us, and others, that try their hardest to make sure the customers are happy, and provide the service and the product they want, and do it, you know, expeditiously, and do it fairly, and take good care of their customers. But then you get a few of these rotten apples that kind of make life miserable for everybody, and this is an example of one of those outfits that make everybody look bad, and it makes them look like idiots after, when they’ve been ripped off for 3 or $4000, thinking that they’re getting an $8000 chair for a fraction of the price. Please be careful, and if you have any questions, of course, call me. I’m not offended if you don’t buy a chair from us, or if you buy a chair that we don’t carry, but call me and ask me, I’ll give you my honest opinion, and I’m not going to try sway you, or upsell you. If you’ve read the reviews on my site, you know that that’s not the way we function. I’m not going to try to sway you to another chair just because I think it’s going to be a better profit margin for me. but I will tell you if I think a chair is, if they’re, I’ll tell you if there’s red flags, and I’m going to be, well, I’ll be talking more about that in the weeks to come. But if there’s red flags, I will let you know. If not, I’ll also let you know, and if I haven’t sat on the chair, I’ll be honest, and tell you I don’t know much about the chair, but I’ll tell you what I do know about business red flags that may come up about some models, or some chairs, or whatever. So, anyway, feel free to contact me any time.
[SCREEN TEXT: 888-259-5380]
Alan: Anyway, I guess that’s about it, and as far as contacting me, you can contact me at this toll-free number, 888-259-5380. You can also reach out through our YouTube, through Facebook. You know what, make constructive – OK, another pet peeve, and I’m sure every business owner that puts videos on YouTube struggles with this – but I get all kinds of weird comments from people. Some of them are fairly offensive, you know, the calling me out on crap that I have no idea why they’re calling me out on, calling me a dumb A, or one guy thought I was, you know, I needed my cocaine fix because of my twitch. I’ve got a, kind of a nervous twitch, and you may have seen that, and saw that. I have these twitches, and I’ve had them since I was a child. But some people will say, you know, ‘Gee, you need another hit of cocaine,’ or whatever, and it’s kind of like stuff that’s totally unrelated to the massage chair industry. It’s kind of funny. I didn’t like the guy that called me a dumb A, though, I thought that was, I mean, I’m not the smartest tool in the shed, or the sharpest tool in the shed, I’ll admit, and my kids will vouch for that. But to insult people, and to say things that are completely unrelated to the topic at hand, it’s just a waste of space, and a waste of people’s time and energy. So, but anyway, and I can’t remember where I was going with that, but oh, anyway, you can make comments on our YouTube channel, or on our Facebook page, and I’ll gladly respond to them. You’ll see that I always do, and of course, you can email me, go on our chat software on our website, you know, email, text, whatever, you can reach me. It’s pretty easy to get a hold of me.
[SCREEN TEXT: Please “Thumbs Up” Like This Video!!]
Alan: Anyway, I hope you found this video helpful. I’m Dr. Weidner from ‘Massage-Chair-Relief.com,’ and if you found this video helpful, please feel free to share it on your social media platforms. Thumbs up ‘Like’ us on YouTube if you can too, but we do appreciate you helping us spread the word about massage chairs, and I will see you again in two weeks. Bye bye.
Click on the following link to watch this Massage Chair Industry Update on our YouTube channel.
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