Massage Chair Industry Update – June 5, 2023

June 7, 2023
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
June 7, 2023
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Massage Chair Industry Update – June 5, 2023

massage chair industry updateMassage Chair Industry Update – 6/5/2023

Hi, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from Massage Chair Relief, and I’d like to welcome you today to our biweekly massage chair industry update for Monday, June 5th, 2023. I hope you’re all doing well. I appreciate you visiting with me today. The Luraco sale on their i9 Max and the i9 Max Special Edition is still on. They’ve extended it to the end of Father’s Day. By the way, a massage chair is a wonderful Father’s Day gift. And there still is some time to get a chair for your dad or anyone in your life, for that matter, before the 18th, which is Father’s Day Sunday. Anyways, there’s $1,000 off for the I9 Max and $1 00 off for the I9 Max special edition, which is the one that we have in our showrooms because it has a split track. I think I’ve mentioned this before. Also, the Rove from Human Touch® is on sale from 4,999 down to 3,999 until the end of June.



Also, the Fleetwood discounted price was 5,999. It’s regularly 9,999. But they’ve just increased that base price or the sale price to 7,999. And that Titan Fleetwood is a popular selling chair. It’s a good chair. The IT-9800 from Infinity is on backorder. We just found that out because a customer purchased one. And that’s a good chair for people that are really tall and really big because it doesn’t have a foot massage mechanism to inhibit the length of the legs. It also doesn’t have airbags or shoulder airbags to inhibit a larger upper body or torso part of your body. And that chair, it basically just has rollers going up and down your back and some airbags in the calves, but all the rest of it is ideal for fitting a really big body.



So, someone who’s maybe 320-330 pounds and 6′ 7″, 6′ 8″, whatever, it’ll fit all kinds of people. Well, that chair has been around for a long time. It used to be back in the day when I first started this business, there was a company called Neox, which had that same chair, but that company went under. And Infinity imports that chair now is the IT-9800. Anyways, where I was going with that is that it’s back ordered until September. Titan has a new chair called the JP 650. It’s “made in Japan.” But like the OCHO M.8 and the and the JPMedics Kumo, the components are made in China, then it’s exported to Japan where the chair is assembled, tested, and programmed, so thus giving it the … They’re entitled to say made in Japan. And so, that chair, it’s an L-Track, 3D L-Track chair, calf rollers, foot rollers. It looks like a typical Chinese-made massage chair.



The difference being that there’s the Japanese component which is not so much in the design or the look of it, but in the function. The Japanese are known for their testing protocols. And typically, a chair like the OCHO M.8 or the JPMedics Kumo have lower failure rates because of the Japanese testing and the programming and assembly. But we don’t know this one yet. This one’s a new one, so we’re not really sure how it’s going to play out in terms of failure rates and fix ability. But anyways, I just want you to know about that chair. That chair is listed at 4,999, which for a “made in Japan” chair is a pretty decent price. The OCHO is, I think, 10,999. The Kumo is, I think, around the same price.



Now, there is the new Synca JP 3000, which quite a high percentage of it, is actually made in Japan. The company that owns Synca is called Johnson Tech, and they bought a factory in Japan, I believe. I can’t remember if it was the Mount Fuji. They bought a massage chair factory, and they are building chairs out of that factory now, under the Synca name. And they have this new 3000, which like a typical Japanese massage chair, more conservative, traditional-looking body. And it doesn’t have an L-Track; it has an S-Track with foot rollers. But what makes it unique is its A.I. Roller Technology. So, I don’t know fully yet what that entails, but I do know after visiting with Nick Beach, who’s their US representative at the furniture market back in January, the Japanese technology has feedback mechanisms.



It caters the massage to your particular spine, your particular muscle tightness, your particular body shape, a much better fit than you would on just a regular roller mechanism. So, there is some pretty intuitive technology that makes the chair fit you better, even from one sitting to the next, based on what your muscle tightness is, if you’re more slumped, or if you’re standing more upright or whatever. A similar technology is found in the new Panasonic chairs as well. So, this seems to be a more Japanese-leaning technology. Not so much caught up in the looks of the chair as they are in the technology of the chair. And it’s pretty awesome technology. All right. And let’s see, what else have we got for you?



The Ogawa sale just ended, but the JPMedics Kumo until after Father’s Day, you can get the five-year extended warranty on a Kumo. And I think that’s about it in terms of sales and stock issues. It’s traditionally a slower time of the year in the summertime. Things slowed down after COVID was a non-issue anymore for the buying customers. But this is the time of year where things tend to slow down, and so we might see some more sales. We might see some new models coming out towards the end of summer, getting ready for the fourth quarter, Black Friday, Christmas time, but right now, relatively slow. Now, I want to talk about two things. Number one is, often times I get asked about particular chair models that I know nothing about. I.



For example, I get asked about Kahuna chairs or some Osaki models or Medical Breakthrough chairs or Osim chairs. As a matter of fact, I just got a comment on one of my videos on YouTube about an Osim chair. Now, we carry in our showroom, in our business, we carry what we call premium massage chairs. These are brand-name chairs that come with in-home warranties. If something goes wrong with your chair, they’ll come to your house and fix the chair. They’ll send you the parts you need. They typically have good customer support. So, if you need to get a hold of someone to help diagnose the problem that your chair is having, these companies, I say typically, do pretty good. Sometimes companies go through a little bit of a lull where they’ve lost some employees or are hiring new ones, and so maybe their knowledge base is not as broad as it was with the previous people. And you go through that with some companies. But the good companies will keep their people very, very well trained no matter the turnover.



But there are a lot of chairs out there that are cheap chairs. You can get them for … We get a lot of people that come to our showroom asking for 1000 to $2000 chairs. Well, I’m going to tell you, you’re not going to get a great chair at that price point. You’re going to get a chair that’s probably made in a lesser-known factory. I think I can say with confidence that there are at least a thousand factories in China that build massage chairs. Not all of them are massage chair factories, but they’re factories that build other products that also build massage chairs. And the testing is not great. The components are cheaper. The engineering that goes into the chairs is not strong. So, you can get cheaper chairs. We did a video some time ago comparing a $500 chair to a $5,000 chair and you could see the components were definitely different.



There was wood, wooden components in the cheaper chair, and a metal frame and metal or a good solid plastic smaller components that were in the nicer chair. You could definitely see a difference in the quality. And the types of rollers were different. And you can go back and watch the video. That’s on our YouTube channel. But anyways, what I’m trying to say is, a premium chair, you’re going to pay more money for, yes. You’re going to pay for a good chair, but you’re going to get a good chair, a very good chair with good support. So, I think when you go online, as you know with your phone, when you’re around your phone, and you mention a word of a product or anything. I was talking to my nephew yesterday who just came back from living in Norway for two years, and we were talking about Norway. And today, I got on my phone, I got all these ads on my Facebook feed about Norway.



Anyways, if you mentioned massage chairs in your home or around your phone, you’re going to start seeing ads coming up for chairs that are sold primarily direct to consumers. They’re not through a retailer. Direct to consumer. And I’ve talked about the advantages of both before. If you want to know my feelings about stuff like that, go to my website, go to the education tab, and download. I have free downloads there. You can download my book called Buyer Beware. And that booklet, it’s more of a booklet. I think it’s 20 pages. And that gives you an insight into some of the gripes I have about the massage industry, the things that you need to be aware of when you buy a chair. And one of them is, these chairs, not all chairs are created equally. And chairs that are sold directly to the consumer don’t have the support of a middleman. If your chair breaks down, you have problems with it, and you can’t get a hold of the company that distributes the chair, you’ve got no retailer as a middleman to help you get your chair fixed.



And I get calls all the time from people looking to get their chairs repaired because no one at the company is responding to them. Anyways, there are chairs that you can get made from these little factories in China that are pretty cheap. You can get chairs that are $1,000, $2,000, but just know that you’re not going to get quality or good quality. You’re going to get quality, some kind of quality. It might be poor quality. But you’re not going to get great quality or good quality that you can rest comfortably with. And if they do have a warranty, most of those chairs don’t have much of a warranty at all. You might get a parts warranty where they’ll send you the parts. You may have to pay for the parts. But they will not have an in-home warranty. How can they afford to pay anywhere from 2 to $600 to repair a chair when the profit margin on those chairs is probably 500 bucks, 400 bucks, 300 bucks?



So, they don’t have the money or the support infrastructure to handle labor support. So, you get what you pay for in our industry. But there are chairs that are better quality chairs, and there are chairs that are lesser quality chairs. I have a company out in Georgia that wants me to sell a brand of chairs that are lower priced chairs. Profit margins are very low. Of course, they always talk about how great their customer support is, but they had another line of chairs before and we had customers complaining about the line of support or the kind of support they were getting, the non-existent support for all intents and purposes. Now, they tell me that they’ve improved things and it’s better now. But when the chairs are lower priced and with the cost of shipping and the cost of logistics, the cost of parts, the cost of just setting up a business here in the United States to support a new line of chairs, a 1 to $2000 chair you’re going to be left wanting.



It doesn’t mean you can’t get that chair. There are people that don’t have much more money than the 1000 or $2000. And you know what? They can at least get into the market. It doesn’t mean that their chairs are going to last a long time. It doesn’t mean that they’re going to have great support if something goes wrong with the chair, but at least they can get into the market. And then maybe if the chair goes bad, they can get another one for $1,000 or 2000. Or as time goes on and their resources change, they can maybe buy a premium chair that’s going to last them 10 to 20 years and have customer support behind it. But anyways, I just wanted to talk a little bit about that. There are good factories out there. For example, the chairs at Ogawa, Human Touch®, Infiniti, Daiwa, Luraco. They’re all good factories, good manufacturing facilities that do a good job building chairs. And those chairs are typically going to cost more because they’re great facilities, they’re high-tech state of the art facilities that build good chairs with good innards, if you will, or bones, if you will, but you’re going to pay a little bit more for that. So, it just depends on what you’re looking for.



If you don’t care, you’ve just got 1000 bucks, you want to buy a massage chair, it’ll do you some good, I promise you. Any massage chair will do you some good, but it may not be what you’re going to end up with in the long run. And it might leave you with a little bit of a side ache if you have to deal with problems with the chair. Anyways, I also wanted to talk briefly about shipping, not here in the United States, but shipping internationally. Now, we have people that watch our videos that are from other countries. I get emails all the time from people that say, “Well, what do you think about this chair here in Australia” or “Can you get can we get that chair in Korea” or “Can we get that chair in India?” I get a lot of requests about information like that. And I’ll tell you, we’ve shipped chairs all over the world, literally everywhere in the world.



India, we even sold a chair to Iraq. We’ve sold chairs to Denmark and other parts of Europe. And we’ve sold chairs to, oh my goodness, all over the place. But there are issues that you’re going to have to face if you’re going to buy a chair from an American distributor. First of all, the warranty is not going to be in effect except for parts. So, let’s say you live in Germany and you order a chair from the United States, and something goes wrong with your chair. You can talk to the massage chair distributor here in the United States and find out what the problem is and diagnose it. And they can send you parts, but you’re going to have to pay for the shipping of those parts. They’ll honor the warranty for the parts availability, but they will not ship the parts out to you like they would here. There’ll be no labor coverage also for you. And so, you’ll have to find someone there who can, unless it’s yourself, who can fix that chair or replace that part once you get it. The other issue you’re going to deal with is customs, getting your chair.



Now, there are two ways to ship chairs. It’s either ocean freight or air freight. Ocean freight is cheaper but takes longer. Air freight is more expensive, but you can usually get your chair within a week or so, a week and a half. But the issue is you’re going to have to deal with customs, duty, all that stuff that you may be responsible for when you bring a chair into your country. And your country will let you know. And you would probably want to communicate with your customs officials in your country before you import a chair so you know what you’re on the hook for. Now, when we ship chairs to Canada … I’m from Canada originally, so I’ve shipped a few chairs up there. Well, here’s the thing with shipping to Canada. You’re going to need a customs broker, and that’s someone who takes care of all the hassles of getting your paperwork in order to get the chair across the border, without any issues with customs. Now, you’ll probably have to pay the customs tax or GST or whatever it is that they’re going to charge you up there, but they will let you know what you’ve got to pay.



Well, the same goes for other international destinations. There’s probably some sort of a customs broker for your country. So, let’s say you’re in Germany again. And you can look Germany custom brokers or whatever. And they will help you to get the paperwork or help you figure out what you need to bring your chair into your country. And lastly, when you get a chair, it goes to the port or to the airport, and that’s where it is going to go. So, you have to come get it. And if you don’t have a truck or you live 100 miles away or whatever, and you can’t get to the airport or to the port, how are you going to get your chair? Well, most countries, and we learned this quite by accident from the company that we do our international shipping with, ocean freight. That’s how we do most of our shipping, through ocean freight because the cost is way less than air freight. Anyways, they say that most countries will have, businessmen, if you will, or little operators in the area who will can bring the chair out to you from the airport or from the ocean port.



And they will usually contact you to say, hey, you got a chair here, we can ship it out to you for X number of dollars or whatever the currency is for the country you have or country you live in. But there are usually resources for that as well. And any entrepreneurially minded person in any country has already probably thought of this. Hey, I can ship these. If that customer lives in the middle of the island or in the middle of the country and the port is way over here, we can get that chair to them for a price. So, that’s a way to make some money for these operators. And it’s a good way to make money. And you’re doing a valuable service if you’ve got a truck and you can drive to the airport or the ocean, port, the ship port, go ahead and do it, you can do that. And then all you got to do is pay for the customs. But there are operators that provide that service if you need to bring the chair from the port to your home.



And I think that’s about it. Oh, and also take into consideration the exchange of your currency with the American dollar. For my friends in Canada, my friends and family in Canada, when they come down here, they’re paying much more Canadian dollars for American products than they used to. And sometimes, it’s been the other way around. When we go up back home to Canada, we’re paying more in dollars because of the exchange rate. So, be aware of the exchange rate. Of course, I’m sure you will be when you’re buying a chair from out of the country. Anyways, I think that’s just about it. I hope you found this information helpful. If you did, please feel free to thumbs up like us on our YouTube channel. And by all means, share this video with your friends and family to help us spread the word about massage chairs. Anyways, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from massage Chair, and I will see you again in two weeks. Bye-bye.

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