Massage Chair Industry Update – March 13, 2020 (Video)

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Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – March 13, 2020”

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Alan: Well, good morning. I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from ‘Massage-Chair-Relief.com‘ and today is our biweekly massage chair industry update and today is Friday the 13th of March, 2020, and we’ve got a number of interesting things to go over today.

[SCREEN TEXT: Coronavirus & Massage Chairs]

Alan: Not the least of which is the Coronavirus business that has gripped the world, and of course, our nation here in the United States, but I wanted to talk a little bit about that, and the effects it has, or it’s having on the massage chair industry. There’s only been a couple of companies that have mentioned a shortage of inventory because of the Coronavirus, and we are, we have a back-order on the Ogawa Master Drive AI in the Black, or the Graphite and Brown color, as well as the Burgundy and Black colors. The Blue and Sand color is available still, but that has affected – and we’ve been told – and they’ve been back-ordered for at least a month now, and we’ve been told to expect up to the middle of May. So, that is one thing we’ve heard. I’ve also heard from Human Touch that they’re back-ordered, or they are anticipating some chairs being back-ordered until – let’s see – until, also until May, but they have not specified any particular models, probably because they still have inventory, and most of the companies still have inventory, so you can pretty much get, well, not every chair you want, but a lot of the popular chairs are still available in at least one color. I did have a customer that ordered a ZeroG 5.0 from Human Touch, and we were told that that one was back-ordered until May, but I guess what the problem is, is that the production has slowed down in China, because it’s multi-factorial, really. There’s the slowdown of the production because people were not coming to work, or were called, or were, you know, told not to go to work there, and so production was slowed down, I had heard up to 70%, and I’ve heard that some of the factories now have up to 70% or 80% of their employees back at work. But it’s not just the factories, you understand that the factories receive their parts, many of their parts, from other suppliers around China, and if they are shut down, or if their logistics are impeded by Coronavirus fears, or Coronavirus sickness, or whatever, that will impede the production of the final product in the factory. And I remember when I visited the factory just a couple hours out of Shanghai a couple years ago, I think in that video, which is on my YouTube channel, and in the video I think I mentioned that they’ve got these, all these parts in here, that come from other parts of China. And so, if one of the parts suppliers is compromised, their production is compromised, well then, the final product at the factory is going to be compromised as well. The factory doesn’t make everything that goes in to a chair at that factory. So, anyway, we received an update from Human Touch earlier this week saying that new shipments are going to be, or they’re anticipating shipments of new product by the middle of May 2020. So, both Ogawa and Human Touch are giving middle of May as an estimated fulfillment time for back-orders. But again, I told you earlier, it’s multi-factorial, it’s not just that, you have to understand also that when these factories get back to full capacity, or 80% capacity, all the other, all the other factories will also be getting back to 80% capacity, or more or less, but they’re all going to have back-orders coming, and I’m not just talking about massage chairs, I’m talking about every product in general, is going to be coming now. And so, the logistics issues of having enough freight to handle all the shipments is another thing that will slow down delivery. So, there’s a whole bunch of things that come in to play in the process, from production, to logistics, and then of course, receiving the chairs, and the products here in the United States, if they’re back-ordered substantially, we have found, I remember in the past, when Inada first came out with the DreamWave chair years ago, the demand was so high for that chair, they were always back-ordered, and if you didn’t put in your order now for a chair that’s back-ordered for a month or two out, when that chair came in, and you waited until then to place your order, then you were out because they were all spoken for by people that wanted to buy the back-ordered chairs. So, there’s all kinds of these, all these things that happen along the chain of production, and logistics, and shipping, and receiving of the chairs that, you know, I think we take for granted how smooth everything works until something like this happens. But anyway, just to let you know that – oh, and I think also – I think the people, some people, you know, based on the market right now, you know, yesterday was the biggest single drop since Black Monday in 1987 in the Dow, and so, you know, in the market, so I think people are also maybe holding on to their money a little tighter. So, maybe people aren’t buying a chair right now when they ordinarily might be buying a chair, which can affect inventories in a positive way. In other words, if less people are buying right now, that means the inventories that are the current, existing inventories will last a little bit longer. So, that’s something to consider, but don’t bank on that, because if you want a chair and it’s going to be back-ordered and you wait a couple of weeks, and you find out that it’s back-ordered, still put in your order because that chair may not be available when it finally does come in. All the chairs on that shipment might be spoken for in the middle of May, or whenever the chairs come in. So, my advice to you is if you want a chair, pre-order it, don’t wait until the chairs come in because then you may be out of luck until the next shipment comes, and who knows long that will be. So, there’s a couple of thoughts on the Coronavirus, or not thoughts, but facts about the Coronavirus.

[SCREEN TEXT: Coronavirus & Massage Chair Relief Stores]

Alan: Also, as far as our business goes, you know, I have three showrooms, and we haven’t been asked this yet as far as I’m aware, but we will remain open. Of course, my Utah and Arizona stores, I’m sorry, my California and Arizona stores are fully staffed Monday through Saturday, but my Utah store is open by appointment. So, yeah, if I come down with any kind of flu or symptoms, I will not be there, and we can schedule an appointment for when I am better. But in my California store, we do have staff there, and we are taking precautions. I sent out a memo to all of the staff to follow protocol as laid, or suggestions, follow a protocol based on suggestions by the Centers for Disease Control, and the medical field, and those things include: using disinfectants on all of our chairs after people use them, anywhere where there’s touch, human touch, that is where we’re going to use the disinfectants, and we’re also going to be using disinfectant wipes on all the high, all the frequent human touch areas of the showroom, like the bathroom door handles, or the store door handles, or the light switches, or the toilet seat covers, or the sink, we will be using that to clean, keep everything disinfected after human use. We are also cleaning our, keeping our computers clean, our keyboards, our mouse, the mice, or mouses, mice, of our computers, and so we are trying to protect each other, so that we’re not getting each other sick at the showrooms as well. So, anyway, and we’re encouraging our staff to, when they wash their clothes at home, their work clothes, to wash it in the hottest setting, or the warmest setting possible, and of course, to wash their hands throughout the day. And so, we’re taking our precautions at Massage Chair Relief to make sure that the risk is minimal, and it’s not like we have hundreds of people that come in to the showroom, it’s not an industry that is prone to having hundreds of people come in to the showroom. It’s, you know, one appointment by another, one customer by another, after another, and then, you know, and then they’re there for a couple of hours, and then they leave, and then you know, someone else might come in during that time, and they might come after. It’s not like there’s a herd of people coming in every day to increase the risk. So, it’s a little bit more manageable for us. But anyway, I just wanted you to know that that is what we are doing about Coronavirus at Massage Chair Relief. And don’t you find yourself just washing your hands more, and being careful of what you touch, and if you’re touching your nose now, or your mouth, you’re a little bit aware of it than you were before. I’ve become more aware. I’m not a guy that is prone to panicking about things like this. I mean, we’ve had other things come here, like the swine virus a number of years ago, and you know, we’ve had SARS, etcetera, etcetera. We’ve had all kinds of things that have hit here, and I’ve never been one that’s prone to panic about things like that, but I am very aware of, you know, what is going on, and so just subconsciously I’m becoming a little bit more conscious of, you know, my subconscious is manifesting itself in my conscious behavior without me even maybe realizing it until after I’ve done it, like you know, ‘Gee, oh, I’m touching my mouth, oh, I just touched my nose, or I just touched my eyes,’ or whatever. So, but we’re just doing what we can to get through this stage of the virus spread.

[SCREEN TEXT: Interview with Nicholas Beese of Johnson Wellness Tech About California Prop 65 and What Massage Chairs Have to Do with It]

Alan: Another interesting topic, and it’s not nearly as timely, or as pertinent, or as pressing as the Coronavirus, but I had an interview this week with Nicholas Beese, who’s the senior sales manager for Johnson Wellness Tech. They are the company that has the Inner Balance and the Synca chairs, and they make very good chairs, and they put a lot of energy in to production, testing, research. The products they bring to market are good, well-built products. Anyway, one of the things that Nicholas had mentioned to me when I was at the Las Vegas Furniture Market back in January visiting with him, was this Prop 65. See, I just touched my nose, I’ve got an itchy nose and I touched my nose, and now I just thought to myself, should I have done that? Anyway, we were talking about this Prop 65 in California, which is a proposition put forth to make sure that people are notified if the products they’re buying have any carcinogenic compounds or components, and when I say carcinogenic I mean cancer causing, and some of these chairs have maybe a very, very small percentage if any at all, of these, of some cancer-causing agents. And so anyway, Nicholas agreed to do an interview with me, a Skype interview, and we did that earlier this week and I posted it on YouTube channel, but you might want to go and listen to that. It’s kind of interesting, especially if you’re from California, but even if you’re not from California, and you are interested in, you know, the health benefits of the products you’re buying. Now, massage chairs are very healthy chairs, and they can offer tremendous therapeutic value to anybody, pretty much, but are the components as healthy as they could be for you? And Nicholas goes in to talking about foams, and upholsteries, and even in the mechanisms of the chair, and it’s a good listen, it’s a good, it’s about a 20-minute interview, good information in there. But it talks about the testing that the premium chair companies typically go through to make sure that there’s nothing like that in their chairs, and if there are, they’re supposed to post it on the chair. So, if you see a premium chair, you know, like a chair from Johnson Wellness, or Synca, or I would say even from Human Touch, or Furniture for Life, those chairs have been tested, and part of their, the appeal as premium chairs is that they are very safe chairs, and now there’s a lot of cheaper chairs out there. And Nicholas talks a little bit about this in the interview, is that it’s not cheap to test for these chairs to be, you know, 100% safe and 100% non-carcinogenic, if you will. And so, a lot of the cheaper chairs and the smaller factories, they do not make allowance for this kind of testing. And so, and if they have less than a certain number of employees, or staff, they’re not, it’s not mandated that they notify the public, in California, according to Prop 65, that their chairs have these carcinogenic components. So, anyway, I probably made it more confusing by explaining it now, but listen to the interview, it’s a good interview, Nicholas does a great job of explaining it, and I think it’s of value to people that are extremely conscious and aware of what they’re bringing into their homes. I became aware of this proposition about two, two years ago. I had a customer that received a chair, and the chair did not, I can’t remember if the chair said anything about, I don’t know if it had the Prop 65 label. I don’t think it had that, but it did have a product breakdown of what was in the product, or something like that in the upholstery, and they didn’t want that in their home, and so they called me and said that they wanted to return the chair. And of course, you know we have a 90-day return policy for whatever reason you want to return it, and we took that chair back. But they wanted to exchange it for a chair that they knew was Prop 65 compliant, 100% compliant. So, anyway, interesting topics, you know, all about health, right?

[SCREEN TEXT: Johnson Wellness J6800 & J5800 Have Been Discontinued]

Alan: Now, oh, speaking of Johnson Wellness, they discontinued their J6800 and J5800. Those were the models that they brought in to market years ago when I first started carrying their line. They had the J6800, we had the J6800 in our showroom in Utah, and then they, and they’re, again, like I told you, they’re very well-built chairs. They’re very solid, good chairs, but they didn’t sell as much through the traditional retail network. So, they went and private labeled their products, and one of them that I, one of the products they did private label with Human Touch was called the Navitas, which was a chair I really liked. It had calf rollers up the sides of the calves, which I’d never seen, and have not seen since, but they private label, and they also private labeled through, I think Osaki/Titan had the, I can’t remember what they called it the Regent, or the Regent, or whatever. But they private labeled, and then they decided to go back to their own label, which is Johnson Wellness, under the parent company of Johnson Wellness Tech, and that’s when they introduced Synca, the Synca Kagra, the Synca JP1100, and the Synca Circ, and they introduced the Inner Balance Jin, and now the Inner Balance Gi. And anyway, where was I going with this? Anyway, they have now discontinued the J6800 and the J5800, they had previously discontinued the J5600, and so those chairs, they have, I think they have some existing inventory, but we do not carry that category on our website anymore. So, just so that you know.

[SCREEN TEXT: Current Sales – Ogawa and Osaki]

Alan: And then, I just wanted to mention also that we have a couple of sales going on right now. Osaki has a two year extended warranty, that sale was to be until the end of February, but they’ve extended it until the end of March, a two year extended warranty, and well, I’m going to talk about this as far as these extended warranties go. We’re going to talk a little bit about the extended warranty, and I just learned this this week thanks to a customer, who kind of corrected me on something. And Ogawa is still offering their free extended warranty that they offered in February, they’re offering it throughout the end of March as well. And I think, off the top of my head, those are the only overt sales that we can advertise on our website, and of course, we have in our stores, when you come to our stores, sometimes we have in-store sales that are going on, or if you call the store, but if it’s not stuff we advertise on our website, it’s just stuff that we have going on in our respective locals, but those are the sales that are going on right now.

[SCREEN TEXT: A Discussion on the Subject of Massage Chair Extended Warranties]

Alan: Now, I had mentioned about the extended warranties. Now, most of the chairs come with at least a one-year warranty. Well, all the chairs come with at least a one-year-parts-and-labor warranty. Well, I shouldn’t say all of them. The vast majority of them come with a one-year parts-and-labor warranty. And the chairs that we carry, we only carry chairs that have an in-home warranty, so and then they’ll have a second year of parts, a second or third year of parts, and then they’ll have a fourth or fifth year of structural coverage. So, for example, Osaki chairs have a one-year-parts-and-labor warranty, a second year of parts, and a third year of structure. Infinity has a one year parts and labor, three years of parts, five years structure. The Furniture for Life chairs, like D.Core, OHCO, Panasonic, and now BodyFriend, they have three years parts and labor, and Luraco has a three years parts and labor, with two more years of parts, and so all these different companies have different warranties. Oh, Health Mate has a one year parts and labor, and then five years structure. So, they vary from company to company, and most of the companies will offer an extended warranty option. Some don’t, like Panasonic doesn’t offer an extended warranty option, the Johnson Wellness chairs do not offer an extended warranty option. But the extended warranties can be either – for the most – well, again, it just depends, like for example, Osaki right now, they’re offering a two year extended warranty, so that’s two more years of parts and labor, but that extended warranty also includes two more years of parts. So, if you buy a two year, if you, well, you don’t need to buy it, on an Osaki/Titan chair, or the Inada chairs that are being run through Osaki/Titan, they come with the two year extended warranty also. They always will, but for now, all the rest of the Osaki/Titan chairs come with a two-year-parts-and-labor warranty, and that covers, that’ll now give you, that will move your warranty from one year parts and labor to three years parts and labor, and then, they’re also throwing in, instead of just having one more year of extra parts, they throw in an extra year of parts, another year. So, now you’ve got three years parts and labor, two more years of parts, I was mistaken on that. We had always had Osaki warranties as three years parts and labor on an extended warranty, you still get one more year of parts, and then one more year of structural coverage, so it was three, one, and one. Well, I was mistaken in that, and a customer actually had been told that, and I thought no, no that’s not true, and so he verified that, and then I verified it, and sure enough, it is true. Their extended warranty, their two year extended warranty will give you three years parts and labor, and two more years of parts, which is not a, which is a good warranty, and it’s free right now. Plus, we do a Lifetime Labor warranty, so your last two years will be covered by our labor, our tech, and so now you’ll have a full five years. But then, like Infinity, they have one year parts and labor, three years parts, and five years structure, but they have an option to bring your extended warranty up to two more years, so that you have a three-year-parts-and-labor warranty, or a full five-year-parts-and-labor warranty, and then Ogawa, Ogawa has, each of their models have different coverage, depending on what you get. If you get the Refresh Plus, or the Ogawa Active L, or the Ogawa Master Drive AI, or the Ogawa Stretch 3D, they all have different warranties, so and I can’t remember them all, but you can check them on the website. But they’ll have different warranties where there’s one year parts and labor, with a second year of parts, or a third year of parts, then it’ll have an extended warranty option, and it’s either a full five years, or a three-year-parts-and-labor warranty extension, so they, but there’s all kinds of different warranties, and just make sure you’re aware, as I have had to be week, of what these companies offer in their extended warranties. And so, Osaki’s change caught me by surprise, so I sent out an email to all of my suppliers, and I said ‘Could you please give me an updated warranty certificate, so I know exactly what your company is, you know, what your company policy is, warranty policy is?’ so that I don’t look like an idiot when a customer calls me and tells me that I’m wrong. And I don’t mind being told I’m wrong, but you know, sometimes there’s things I should know, and so this is one of those things I should know, and now I do. But in our new website, which should be coming, hopefully coming up at the end of this month, we will have all the updated – as a matter of fact, all of the information has been sent to the web designers – and they should have it up on the new website by the end of the month. But we have that all updated, so you’ll know exactly what the coverage is, and if you have any questions, give me a call. Oh, and then here’s the other thing. So, the way some of it is described is a little confusing, but one company will say, like say the extended warranty will be five years parts and labor. So, people think ‘Well, I get already three years from, like for the OHCO chair, and now they’re giving me a full five-year extended warranty, and so I get five more years?’ No, with the extended warranty you get a total of five years parts and labor. So, sometimes the vernacular is a little confusing, because different retailers will spin it differently, and so don’t get too confused, and it is confusing. So, if you have any questions about it, give me a call, especially now that I have been corrected about the Osaki warranty, which I didn’t, which I was not updated on, or I did not know about the updates. So, anyway, that’s it for the extended warranties, so good stuff there. But anyway, OK, so I think that is it for this week. We have, let me think if there’s any new stuff coming up? I’ve not heard of any other things going on. We’re just, you know, it’s pretty much just business as usual. Well, not business as usual. I mean, this Coronavirus is affecting business for all of us. I was talking to one of my suppliers who was giving me the import logs of all the different massage chair companies, and you know, many of the companies, shipments are down because of, either because of the Coronavirus, or because of decreased demand, or because there’s way more competition in the marketplace, so you know, we were talking about those cheaper chairs coming in, and how that is affecting some of the dynamics of the industry. But the bottom line is, is that things are totally in flux all the time, and you know, we try to stay on top of all of stuff for you so you can be apprised of what you need to know.

[SCREEN TEXT: 888-259-5380]

Alan: But anyway, I guess that’s about it for this week’s industry update. And if you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at 888-259-5380, and of course, you can reach out through our chat, or through email, or through any of our social media platforms, if you want to, if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to engage, we’d love to visit with you. And a lot of times, I answer those questions, so you know, feel free to reach out.

[SCREEN TEXT: Please “Thumbs Up” Like This Video!!]

Alan: And if you found the video helpful, please feel free to thumbs up ‘Like’ us on our YouTube channel, and of course, help us spread the word about massage chairs by telling your family and friends about this video, or any other video that we carry, that help you teach others about the wonderful benefits of massage chairs. Well, 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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