Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – July 19, 2021”
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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 Monday, July 19th, 2021. Thank you so much for visiting today.
[SCREEN TEXT: Shipping/Logistics Issues Continue]
Alan: I want to talk a little bit about pricing, chair pricing, logistics, and whatnot. As you know, or as you may or may not know, there have been logistical issues with getting chairs here in the United States through the port of Long Beach from China and Japan since the fourth quarter of last year. And things are still, and what happened is that the logistics chain was disrupted because there weren’t chairs, or the product wasn’t coming out of China because of the virus, and then when then they came here, well, when things opening up in China, things were kind of closed off here a little bit, and so there was less demand here. But now, then, when people started kind of realizing that they could still get stuff online instead of going to stores, the online orders surged, China didn’t have enough product to accommodate that and even today, you’ll hear things about microchips that can’t be produced yet, at the rate needed. There’s just a lot of, it just created this backup. So, anyway, what happened then is there was this backup of chairs, or not of chairs, of containers coming from China and Japan, they’re backlogged off the port of Long Beach. It took two to three weeks to get through the port, or it took a week or two to get to the port, and then another two weeks to get through the port, through Customs, and then of course, then the truckers, and there was a short of truckers, to handle all the influx of new product, there was a short of truckers to take the product to the warehouses around the country. So, anyway, that backlog of product off the coast of Long Beach, or of California, in Long Beach, that resulted in a shortage of containers back in China, and in Japan, they didn’t have enough containers to ship the demand, because all of the containers are on ships, or not all of them, but the vast majority of these, or a large percentage of the containers were held up on the outside of the port of Long Beach. So, it created this crazy thing, and so now, what’s happened is, because of the shortage of containers, the shipping companies are charging an exorbitant amount to fill a container. So, what used to be a $5000 charge for a container filled with product is now $15,000 to $18,000 a container, and of course, this is being passed along to us, as the retailers, our, the increase on prices of chairs have gone up, not the prices, but the cost of chairs has gone up.
[SCREEN TEXT: Increased Shipping Costs Lead to Increase in Chair Costs]
Alan: Our cost has gone up quite a bit, for example, Furniture for Life just issued, or just began, or started a 5% surcharge on the cost of the chairs. They’ve also started charging us a credit card processing fee, and we also have Human Touch is increasing the cost of some of their chairs, and they have increased the cost of shipping. Osaki/Titan has increased their pricing on some of their chairs. Who else? Boy, Infinity just announced an increase of, I think it’s 5%, in August, this is beginning in August. Ogawa, Cozzia, JPMedics, Brookstone, that company has increased their prices by 5%, and now they’ve jumped it up to 7%.
[SCREEN TEXT: Increase in Chair Costs Without Increase in Retail Prices Lowers Our Pricing Leverage]
Alan: So, what this means is that our costs have gone up. Fortunately, not many of the prices of the chairs have gone up, but what that means is that the negotiating power that we used to have with certain chairs, we don’t have like we had before. In other words, some of the prices that were available on sale, like last year, or for Black Friday last year, will not be available anymore, because we can’t, our costs are higher, and so we can’t afford to lower the price too long, and the distributors can’t afford to lower their prices too much on sale pricing. So, there’s been this crazy, trickledown, ripple effect all the way through the industry, and the bottom line is, the prices of chairs, or the cost of chairs has gone up, the negotiating power of the customer has gone down, and the ability for the retailer to negotiate price has also changed significantly.
[SCREEN TEXT: Luraco and Daiwa Costs Have Not Been Increased]
Alan: Now, having said all that, the two company who have not increased their costs for us yet, or even at all are Luraco and Daiwa, and I don’t, I’m not sure about Daiwa because their chairs come from China, maybe there will be an increase in their costs, I don’t know, but Luraco does not ship their chairs out of China or Japan, their noncritical components come from Taiwan, and so maybe that’s the reason why there’s not such a huge delay for their chairs, even though I suspect that even if the containers were available, and they were shipping out regularly out of Taiwan, they still have to come through the port of Long Beach, but I have not, they have not been back-ordered, they’ve had good stock, and all their electronic, or you know, critical electronic components were made in Dallas, at their factory or warehouse in Dallas, and so that company is not, their pricing has not been affected yet. They have a new model coming out at the end of this year, that was supposed to come out a year ago, but was delay because of the COVID business. The i9, and we, I don’t know yet how the pricing is going to be on that one, and we’ve, I don’t think we ever even heard what the original projected price would be when they brought it to CES over, you know, a year ago, over a year ago, a year and a half ago. So, anyway, just to let you know the prices and the costs have gone up, the prices haven’t, but the negotiating power has decreased, so that’s something to be aware of.
[SCREEN TEXT: Daiwa Supreme Hybrid Now $13,500]
Alan: Speaking of pricing, the Supreme Hybrid from Daiwa, which is a very popular chair, their price, their minimum advertised priced has jumped from $12,500 to $13,500.
[SCREEN TEXT: Ogawa Refresh Plus Has Been Discontinued]
Alan: And Ogawa has discontinued the Refresh Plus model, which was a $1999 chair, a very basic S-track chair, nice chair, but that chair has been discontinued.
[SCREEN TEXT: New Logo/Branding for FFL Brands]
Alan: Now, I also want to mention that Furniture for Life has changed their branding. I don’t know if you remember, I don’t think we have it on our website anymore, we have the new branding on, but the old branding was red, big letters, FFL, with red coloring. Now, it’s a more, a more, what would be the word, a more simple-looking logo, with nice lines, and green color, more of a green accent color. So, it’s a more, a more soothing color, I would suspect you would say, but it, you can take a look at it, it’s on our website. You can go to the Furniture for Life brand category page, and you’ll see the new logo. But anyway, it’s a nice, I think it’s a great change, it’s a nice-looking logo, more of a soothing logo, that’s the word I was trying to think of, but a nice logo.
[SCREEN TEXT: Online Calendars for All of Our Stores]
Alan: Also, we want to mention that we have online calendars now for all of our three stores, so appointments can be scheduled. We are slowly deploying regular hours again, and that will be, you know, within the next month, we’ll probably have the, you know, some stated regular hours for all of our stores.
[SCREEN TEXT: New Massage Chair Relief Store Coming!]
Alan: But we are opening a fourth store, and I’m not going to mention just yet when it’s going to, you know, where it’s happening because we haven’t signed the lease yet, but man, I been working for like two to three months negotiating leases on this location, and it’s not, it’s difficult because there’s a lot of small businesses that have shut down, so there’s more inventory available in this particular market, but the property manager don’t budge much on the pricing. So, even though the supply is up, because of small businesses shutting down, they, they’re still being treated as though, these spots, these retail spaces are being treated by the property managers as though they’re super high demand still, and the pricing is a little bit high. But we’re seeing a drop in, no, I’m sorry, we’re not seeing a drop, but we’re seeing a little bit more flexibility in the negotiating of the lease with the land, with the property managers, so we hope to have a lease signed within the next week or two. I’ve been saying this for a while now, but it is true, it has taken us a while to get to this place, but we, on Friday, we learned that the structure for a new lease is in place. Now we just have to go through the particulars. So, anyway, I’ll probably let you know about that in two weeks from now in the next massage chair industry update, but we’re excited about it, and I just wanted you to know that we do have online calendars. It’s easy to schedule, you don’t even have to call in or anything like that, you just go and schedule your appointment, and our employee, you know, the manager of each store will see you when you come in.
[SCREEN TEXT: New Free, Educational Downloads Available on Our Website]
Alan: OK, as you know, as you know, well, as you probably know, if you go to my website, you will receive a pop-up window that encourages you to download a report called ’11 Things You Absolutely Must Know’,’ or You Must Even Consider, You Even, I don’t know, ‘Before, You Got to Consider Before Investing in a High-Quality, Robotic Massage Chair.’ And we also have the Buyer Beware: Crucial Red Flags to Watch Out for When Shopping for a Massage Chair.’ Those are on our, if you go on our website, you’ll see the navigation-bar options across the top. The one that says Education, the last option says Free Educational Downloads, and those two reports are there. The, I really like the Buyer Beware one, I just finished that one last year, it took me about a year and a half to write it, just because I, there was so much information that was, needed to be assimilated and integrated in a readable, you know, easily understood format, and that’s the ‘Buyer Beware, the Crucial Red Flags’ things. I really love that, I really love that booklet, and it’s a free download for you, and that’s a good one. You should watch that one, sorry, you should download it and read it. It has great information if you’re looking for a massage chair, not just about, like the other report’s ’11 Things You Absolutely Must Know Before Considering Buying a Chair,’ like basic things, but this one goes with a little more depth in to some things you need to be aware of, like sometimes we got some shysters out there that do some false advertising, or whatever, we, I just want you to be aware of what’s, of things before you commit to a chair, and I’ve got another comment about that in just a moment that I’ll mention about another chair. But anyway, and then I added, what I’m saying is I added two more reports. One is the ‘Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Buy Your New Robotic Massage Chair from Massage Chair Relief,’ a little self serving, yes, I know, but it does help to lay our for you the 10 reasons why, you know, why we’re a good choice for your retailer, and then another one is ’13 Shocking Health Benefits That You Never Knew You Could Get From A Massage Chair,’ and we talk about the health benefits from a massage chair, like the physiological benefits of a massage chair, actually conditions that could be helped by a massage chair, and then I also compare, just a one-page comparison of using a massage chair versus a licensed massage therapist, and we saw a huge migration of people over to massage last year during COVID because massage therapists, and chiropractors, and manual therapists were not open for a good percentage of it, and a lot of people weren’t comfortable going to a place where maybe they could catch COVID. So, not to say that those places weren’t protecting themselves from COVID, or the spread of COVID, but there was a psychological from going in person for a massage to a chair. But anyway, there, we talk, I talk about that, and these are all, I’ve written all these reports, but I want to have as much information out there for you in making your decision because I know that buying a massage chair is not an easy thing, and you’re spending, in some cases, spending a lot of money. Well, for you, any amount could be a lot of money, depending on your budget, but even spending $500 on a chair, which we consider a low-price chair, but for someone that’s a big amount of money, and I want to make sure that that person’s making sure that they’re getting their right bang for their buck, the right deal, and they’re not getting ripped off. So, anyway, take a look at that.
[SCREEN TEXT: “Best Massage Chair” Consumer Reports – Bogus or Legit?]
Alan: And speaking of these free reports, I have run across, and I’ve talked about this before, but I just wrote an article about this on my blog this week, and feel free to read it. I think I just put it up on Friday, but there are these reports out there, you know, The Best Massage Chairs, or The Top 10 Massage Chairs, or The Best Massage Chairs for 2021, and honestly, I think those reports are a bunch of, I don’t know, bogus information for the most part because I’ve looked at these reports, a lot of them, and they have chairs on there that don’t even exist anymore, like the Omega chair. There’s a chair that I saw, geez, I think 10 years ago, called the Superior massage chair, I’ve not even heard of it since, and that’s listed as one of the top massage chairs. Omega Montage chair was a good chair in its day, but that was 10, 15 years ago, and that chair, it’s not even around anymore, as far as I’m concerned, as far as I’m aware of, but they include these chairs on this list, and it’s kind of weird because a lot of these reports have some of the similar top chairs, and in my estimation, some of those top chairs are not, I don’t know if the chairs are any good, but the companies that sell them are not all that great, and I would be very, very leery of those reports. Now, understand that those reports are typically, they’re not written by experts in the field, and they’re not written by, I would say not even written by people that are really even well versed in the field, in terms of massage chair models. What they are, are people who sign up as affiliates, and this is principally for Amazon, they sign up as an affiliate, and you could do this. Amazon has an affiliate program, and a lot of business have affiliate programs. But you sign up an an affiliate, and then you market the product for that company, and whoever it is that’s selling the chair on Amazon, you’re marketing for them by putting out free reports, or putting out on ads on Google, or Facebook, or whatever. So, but these are people that, of course, have a vested interest in it because they’re going to get a commission based on what chair they sell you, and I got no problem with people selling chairs, or selling products for a commission, or a profit, that’s what I do. But what I do have a problem with is that they’re throwing information out there and making recommendations that, to someone who is in the market, and in the industry, and has been for 16 years, over 16 years, these reports are not great, they’re kind of bogus, to be honest with you, and I want you to be very, very careful of those. You can read my article about it, I talk about it, I also discuss it in the Buyer Beware brochure that I talked about earlier here. And anyway, so just, it’s kind of a pet peeve of mine, these Best Massage Chairs or Top 10, or Top 12, or Top 8, whatever, they’re not usually, we do not, those of us in the industry would not consider those the top-end chairs. But we do consider that they are biased because the people that are writing them and pitching them are affiliates, people that are trying to sell a chair to get a commission, and I can almost guarantee that the people that make these reports have never sat in those chairs. Maybe they’ve sat in one, I don’t know, on one of them that they have on their list, but I can pretty much guarantee that they have not sat on these chairs, and so just please be very, very careful about who you believe, and what you read. What you read, and what and who you believe because it can be very, very misleading. Anyway, OK, and to make sure you’re not getting mixed up with kind of a weird company, or whatever. Read my Buyer Beware report, that’ll help you look at other things. I think I’ve got a list of 10 things you can look at to try to help you figure out if the company’s good or not. Now, speaking of that, there is one company that’s online quite a bit, and you see their ads everywhere. Their chair is around $1500, we consider those kind of low-end chairs, not particularly premium chairs, but they are chairs that a lot of people can afford, and so they buy them. But I have said many times in the past, be careful, because at that price, at $1500, you’re not going to get great customer support, you’re not going to get much of a warranty, if any warranty at all. The return policy is going to be full of fine print, so be very, very careful. This is what I’ve told people.
[SCREEN TEXT: Low Cost “Off-Brand” Chairs Usually Equate with Little to No Support, Parts Availability Issues, Weak Warranty, Higher Failure Rates]
Alan: Anyway, I received a call, I had a couple of calls, but one last week that it’s fresh on my mind because it just happened last week. But a lady, a local here, called me to say ‘Hey, do you have anybody that can work on these chairs?’ and she mentioned the name, the brand of the chair, and I go ‘Well, I don’t know, have you called them, because they may be able to, you’re going to need to get the parts?’ If you’ve got a problem with your chair and something’s broken, you’re going to need replacement parts. Almost all of the time, that’s the case, and she said ‘Well, they don’t sell parts,’ and I thought ‘That’s fantastic, this is a company’s that’s a very, they only, it’s a one-trick pony, that have one chair, and they don’t have parts for it, and it’s a cheaper chair, so the failure rate’s going to be higher than the premium chairs, so you’re probably looking at a 5%, maybe higher, failure rate, but they don’t have parts.’ So, we do have a technician here in Salt Lake that we use, and he’s fantastic, but he can’t fix the chair if he can’t get a part for it. And this, massage chairs are not such that you can just say ‘Well, maybe we can borrow a part off of that other chair, that other brand chair and use it,’ because you can’t do that. There’s hundreds of massage chair, I think it’s safe to say, hundreds of massage chair factories, or factories that make massage chairs in China, and they all have their own thing, their own proprietary pieces and parts, and whatever, and so to find parts, if they don’t have parts for you, then geez, you’re out of luck, I hate to say it, but you’re out of luck. So, $1500, that, OK, so that, you probably, I don’t know, you just expect more, I mean, I know $1500 is not a lot when you’re looking at $10,000 chairs, but you know what, $1500 is $1500, that’s a lot of money to someone, and to not be able to get parts for a chair that’s broken down within a few months of buying it, that’s a travesty. And that is why I have written Buyer Beware, that’s why I’ve written that report, because stuff like this, the deals are great, but you have to be aware that there’s a tradeoff. If you’re going to buy an expensive chair, you expect to get good customer support, you expect to get a good warranty, you expect to have some parts inventory, you expect for people to answer the phone when you reach out to them, but these cheaper chairs, sometimes you can’t even find the phone number. If you buy it on Amazon, sometimes they don’t even have a phone number to call, you just have a contact information, and who knows if they’ll ever respond, and I’ve heard, of course, nightmare stories about that too. But please, just realize that there’s a tradeoff if you’re going to get the cheaper chairs, you’re going to get less service, less support, and I hate to say it, because it just doesn’t seem fair. You know, when I started in this business, my first chair I bought was back in like 2002 or 2003. It was a Human Touch HT-125, which was their basic model, but Human Touch is a great company, they took care of that chair, and it took care of me. Remember, I had it in my chiropractic office, and I remember when something broke on it, they replaced it, replaced the part, and it was great. Well, now, oh, and I paid $1899 for that chair, and that chair nowadays is like, I don’t know, they still have chairs like that. They have the WholeBody 7.1, which is basically the same chair, but cooler looking, and updated. But it’s a very basic chair, but you’re going to get support from Human Touch. These other companies, they probably have more for like $1999 or $1599 or $1799, more features, but the chairs are not the same quality, OK? It’s important to understand that. People ask me, how, last week on my newsletter, I talked, or I put up a video comparing a $500 Brand X chair to a $5000 premium chair, what are the differences? You can see in that video what the differences are, it’s on my YouTube channel if you want to see it, but anyway, I’m rambling on way too much.
[SCREEN TEXT: Pre-Owned Privately Sold Chairs Do Not Have Warranty Coverage Unless Sold by an Authorized Dealer]
Alan: The last thing I wanted to say is, I’ve had two calls this last week for a pre-owned Super Novo chair. The Super Novo is a good chair, but the chair they say is brand new, and it is in the box, and they’re only charging $5000 for it, it’s regularly a $10,000 chair. Well, I got red flags going off in my head all the time when I hear stuff like that, a brand new chair. So, I asked her, the lady, the last lady that called, and actually, she just called yesterday. She asked if it’s covered by warranty, and usually, if it’s a pre-owned chair that’s not sold by an authorized dealer, no, you do not have warranty. So, again, buyer beware, be very careful. You can get techs that’ll work on it, and you can get pars for it, unlike this other chair that I was talking about, because Human Touch is a reputable company, and the Super Novo’s a good chair, but you will not get warranty. So, if they tell you, if they’re telling you, and this applies to any used chair you’re looking to get, if the advertisement for the chair says warranty included, and it’s not a new chair, and it’s not, you’re not buying it from an authorized dealer, there is no warranty, just be aware, and that applies to any chair. All these major brands, they do not transfer their warranties, unless it is through an authorized dealer. Like ourselves, for example, like we have our 90-day return policy, so a chair gets returned within 90 days, we can resell that chair, with the warranty, because we, that’s the privilege of an authorized dealer. But for someone who’s not authorized, and this chair is like in Wendover or something, and I don’t, there’s no authorized dealers out in Wendover, I’ll tell you that, that I’m aware of, maybe there is, maybe there is, and I shouldn’t have said that. I don’t know if that’s true, maybe I misspoke, but if there’s not, and this chair is just being sold by someone in their garage, buyer beware. You’re not going to have the warranty.
[SCREEN TEXT: Please “Thumbs Up” Like This Video!!]
Alan: So, anyway, that’s enough, I get off on my soapbox, I feel sometimes like I’ve got to say these things, because there are so many people that are naïve and gullible, and they’re just getting in to the market, and they get, they get kind of, I don’t know, they just kind of get, they get taken advantage of, or whatever it is you want to say, but they get screwed over, pardon my vernacular, because they didn’t really consider all these things before that bought the chair. Anyway, that’s it. I hope you found the video helpful. If you did, please feel free to thumbs up ‘Like’ us on our YouTube channel.
[SCREEN TEXT: 888-259-5380]
Alan: If you have any questions, give us a call at 888-259-5380, and of course, help us spread the word about massage chairs by sharing this video with your family and friends, and help us spread the word. We appreciate you doing that. Have a fantastic day. I will see you in two weeks. Bye bye.
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