Transcript of Video Titled "Massage Chair Industry Update - January 18, 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, January 18th, 2021. I hope you're having a great week and a good day today. I got lots of good information for you in the massage chair world.
[SCREEN TEXT: Current Sales]
Alan: In terms of sales right now, we have the OHCO R.6 is on sale for $7999. The Panasonic MA73 is on sale for $6999, although that’s on back-order, and I've got a couple of comments about back-order later. The Positive Posture Brio Sport is on sale for $5999, and the Luraco Legend Plus, Luraco is having a flash sale where there's $1000 off on that chair until the end of this month. The OHCO and the MA73 and the Brio Sport sale is also ending at the end of this month.
Alan: Also, I should let you know that the OHCO M.8 is going to be going up in price on March 1st to $9999 from $9799, and the, what's the other chair, oh, the D.Core Cirrus, one of my favorite chairs, is going to be going up in price to $8499 from $7999, also on March 1st.
[SCREEN TEXT: Port of Long Beach Backlog Still Going On]
Alan: I mentioned the back-order thing, there are still backups at the port of Long Beach, and I've talked about this quite a bit through the holiday season, but now that the holidays are over, there's still a backup, and one of my customers commented on my last industry update that they saw, they live in Long Beach, and they saw, just like we had mentioned, a long line of ships, waiting to come in to the port, all along the horizon. So, chairs are still back-ordered, chairs are still in the slog of logistical molasses coming in to the port of Long Beach. And because of the, well, some of the chairs that we have on back-order are still chairs like the Kumo, the JPMedics Kumo, the Daiwa Supreme Hybrid, the Osaki Admiral, the Ogawa Active L Plus, there and the Panasonic MA73 is on back-order, and there always seems to be some model back-ordered one way or another for almost every company, but and that is kind of the nature of the beast.
[SCREEN TEXT: Luraco Chairs are "Made in America" so Not as Prone to Back-Order Issues, Although Some of Their Parts Come from Taiwan]
Alan: One company that has somewhat circumvented a lot of that problem, and I thank Robin Rettiker for letting me know this, she's from Luraco and she mentions that because they don’t depend on a lot of foreign parts, they have a good inventory of chairs, of the Luraco chairs. As you may or may not know, their chairs are made in America, with their non-critical components coming from Taiwan, and of course, they're still dependent on foreign components, but all the electronics, and all the crucial, critical components are done here in the United States, and so there's not as, we have not had a back-order problem with them. I remember once we had a back-order problem with the color brown, or something like that, on the upholstery, but that was like a couple, maybe a couple years ago, or a year ago, but we haven’t had many problems with back-orders, and a lot of that is attributed to the fact that they build a lot of their components right here in the United States, so for what that’s worth. Also, but as far as these logistics go, there are still back-orders, it's still waiting, the reason that they're having a backup of getting chairs in to the port is because they don’t have enough trucks to get the containers out of the port once they come out of customs, and so that’s where a lot of the delay is as well. And I have heard that in China, there is a shortage of containers because they are all, the containers have been dispersed around the world for shipment, and everybody's backed up. And so, there's a shortage of containers in China to put new chairs. So, see, it's all messed up, it's all interconnected, it's a kinematic chain, you cannot affect one part without affecting everything, and so if there's a delay in shipping in China, then their delay is going to be reflected in the chairs coming to America, and if there's a delay in getting them through the ports, there's going to be a delay in getting them to you, and to the warehouse because of the trucking shortage.
[SCREEN TEXT: Shipping Costs are Going Up]
Alan: Well, anyway, the list goes on and on, and I've talked about this for the last three or four episodes of the massage chair industry update, so you’re probably sick of hearing me say it, but you know, don’t wait around for chairs if they're back-ordered, order them now, and then get, speak for one in the incoming shipments, even if they're going to be late. And because, part and parcel, because of the delay in the shipments and all the logistical nightmares throughout the world, a couple of companies, and I mentioned this before, but Ogawa, Cozzia, JPMedics, Brookstone, that company, and also Human Touch are increasing their freight charges. Ogawa has raised theirs 3%, or are raising theirs 3% on February 1st, Human Touch has increased theirs. That will affect us, because our shipping costs will be up, but that will also affect sale prices, and discounts, and things like that because of increased shipping prices, there's going to be less profit margin for the retailers, and so there's not going to be able to be as many sales as there typically have been. So, just be aware of that, and that’s not every company, but we suspect that it will creep in to our costs one way or another, and whether it reflects in your buying experience remains yet to be fully seen.
[SCREEN TEXT: New Brookstone Line of Chairs - Flagship Model BK750 AKA Mach IX]
Alan: I mentioned that Brookstone is part of the Cozzia/Ogawa/JPMedics family, that’s a new line of chairs that came out. We put up their flagship chair on our website, it's called the 750 or the Mach IX, and it's a nice-looking chair. We have one going to our Arizona showroom right now. We'll have more of a report on that in the next update, but that’s a nice-looking chair. A lot of the features look similar to other chairs that that company has put out, like it looks, some of the features are similar to what we've seen in the MasterDrive AI, the old Cozzia Qi, and so we'll kind of see how that mix presents itself in this new 750, the new body, and with a couple of other additional features of this chairs. But here's, it's some things that are in this new Brookstone 750, or the Mach IX, it includes the 4D L-track microchipped VarioMotion robot, which is, I believe, the same thing they have in those other two chairs that I just mentioned. Ultraquiet robot, lumbar heat, touch screen, you can, it has a memory function for saving programs, you have the interface in multiple languages, self-diagnostic software, Bluetooth speakers with chromotherapy, three heat zones, where you can have heat in the calves and in the knees, the lower back, and the neck and shoulders. It's got that metallic coating, if you don’t get the picture, it's actually a very pretty-looking chair. It kind of is reminiscent maybe of a car, or something like that. It's got a metallic coating on the housing, and electro-plated trim for a gunmetal look. It also has Alexa-compatibility, and wireless charging for mobile phones, and a USB port if your phone is old like mine and you can't use a wireless port, or the wireless mat. Anyway, so that’s that new chair, and we'll have more on that in our next update. But anyway, that chair is retailing for $9999.
[SCREEN TEXT: Osaki Ekon Discontinued]
Alan: The Osaki Ekon has been discontinued, and apparently, they're waiting for a new one called the Ekon 4D to come out. The old Ekon squeaked a lot, you know, or creaked, creaked, maybe not squeaked, but creaked, because there was a plastic shell, and when the chair would be deploying the airbags in the shoulders, it would push against you, but it would also push out against the plastic, and you could kind of hear it go 'ck, ck,' a little creaking sound, and it was more obvious when you were in a small, quiet room. But anyway, they're upgrading that to the 4D, I don't know anything about it, just that if you're looking for the Osaki Ekon, you're not going to find it right now.
[SCREEN TEXT: New JPMedics Kumo Color - Triple Black]
Alan: Let's see, oh, the new Kumo color, Kumo, the JPMedics Kumo originally came out with the pearl exterior with the cappuccino interior, or a pearl interior, or an espresso interior. The cancelled the pearl on pearl, and they brought out the black, the dark, you know, the black with the dark red interior, and that was a nice change from the off-white exterior, which some people didn’t like. Well, now they’ve come out with a black on black, and they're calling it Triple Black. So, I don't know why it's Triple Black, but it must be really black, but that color is now out, so you can get that chair in the black.
[SCREEN TEXT: Affirm Financing Pop Up]
Alan: Also, Affirm is what, OK, so we offer financing on our massage chairs, as most massage chair companies do, and we use Synchrony Bank, but we also use Affirm financing, which is part of our checkout process, and we've had some problems lately with, well, I wouldn’t say problems, but little hiccups with people using, selecting the Affirm option to buy their chair, and then not being able to complete the transaction. Well, what happened is there's a pop-up blocker on their browser that’s prohibiting any pop ups, including the pop up of Affirm, because when you click, you know, process my order, and you’ve selected Affirm as your option, an Affirm window will pop up, and then you can fill out all your information and find out, you know, how much you're approved for, or what you're approved for, and what, you know, what, you can select what terms you want for your financing. Well, if you have the pop-up blocker enabled, that’s not going to show up, and you're going to think 'Well, something's not right because it's not working,' and we've had this experience a couple of times in the recent past. So, that’s why I'm mentioning it to you. So, if you're going to use Affirm financing on our website, or probably on any website that accepts Affirm, or uses Affirm as a payment option, be aware that you will probably have to un-, well, not probably, you will have to unlock the pop-up blocker, or turn it off temporarily, so that you can process the order.
[SCREEN TEXT: Massage Chairs for the Blind]
Alan: Alright, and then I had an interesting call from a gal named Lucy this week, or last week, and she is blind and she's trying to find a chair that would accommodate her inability to see. And of course, you look at these chairs and you don’t think of it, because if you see, it's not something you're acutely aware of, but when you start looking at it through the eyes, and pardon the pun, look at it through the eyes of a blind person, you understand that maybe OK, a touchscreen will not do much for them, because if it's just a complete touchscreen, they're not going to know where the buttons are, but unless of course, they can put a piece of tape on that button, so they can feel it, and know the shape of the tape or whatever, that they’ve come up with some incredibly creative ways to use a chair's remote control, so that they can get going on their chair. But what about if you want to be able to change the intensity of the rollers, or the intensity of the airbag compression? On most chairs, you got to go in to, like it's not just a button on the remote, you got to push a button, and then another button, and then another button, and how, and it's the same button, but on a touchscreen, the menu is different. So, how do you do that when you're blind, and you can't see anything? And so, it was interesting to talk to her about it, and she's talked to my manager at the California showroom because we've got a couple of chairs that are Alexa-enabled or Google enabled as well, and if you could command chairs like the Pegasus Daiwa, where it has a built-in voice-response feature so you can tell the chair what to do. Well, these are things that we don’t think much about, and I mean, those of us who are not inhibited by sight. This is something that is, it probably needs to be refined a little bit more, and technology that works a little more efficient, and a little bit more comprehensively for these chairs. But I want to thank Lucy for bringing that to my attention, because when a blind person is trying to find a chair that will give them the ability to, and the interface to be able to select all the options that are, a typical person uninhibited by sight issues can do, that’s a real challenge, and so we're finding that the chairs that have apps may have some advantage there, definitely the voice response seems to help. There's chairs, like the Panasonic chairs, or like the Synca chairs, the JP1100, or maybe even the Kagra, they have buttons, like hard, old-school, hard rubber buttons that you can push, and once you learn where those buttons are, and what they represent, then you can, you can make some changes. And there are some chairs that have the quick keys on the side arms, like the Daiwa Supreme Hybrid, or the Novo, the Super Novo from Human Touch, or the JPMedics Kumo, or the Ogawa Master Drive AI, they have the quick keys, so you can turn the chair on, you can press the power button to move to a different program, you can adjust the depth of the rollers, you can change the positioning of the chair, like raise the legs, extend the legs, bring the legs back, raise or lower the chair back, turn on heat, like in the Daiwa, you can turn the heat on for the Supreme Hubble, or the, sorry, the Daiwa Supreme Hybrid, you can turn the heat on with a button, you can put it in to zero gravity. So, there are ways that I think these massage chair companies, and they don’t come out overtly and say 'Here is a great option for blind people,' but they have options sets and feature sets that accommodate these, some of these liabilities, these physical liabilities. Anyway, so just so you know, I just thought that was a very interesting, I thought it was a great conversation with Lucy, and it made me more aware of what is available, and so in the future, I think we're probably going to write an article about that, and maybe list some chairs that would be, that could accommodate that disability, and so we can provide chairs for these customers. I mean, whether you're deaf, dumb, or blind, or you know, a hockey player, you need, you still need, a hockey player that’s been hit in the head a few times, you still need an ability to use a massage chair because you're still going to have back pain, or neck pain, or headaches, or whatever the case may be. So, no one is exempt, no physical human being is exempt from some aches and pains, or the need for relaxation, which is some of the perks that a massage chair gives you. But anyway, I thought that was an interesting insight from a customer of ours. Thank you, Lucy. And then finally, I want to talk a little bit about, OK, and I've addressed this in my Massage Chair Dictionary video series on YouTube, and you can go there and see all the different terms that people have coined over they years, and that even we have coined to some degree, and that we use, and people don’t really know what it means, like what does it mean quick keys, what does it mean to say zero gravity, what does it mean to say 4D or 3D, and what's the difference?
[SCREEN TEXT: S-Track vs. L-Track vs. SL-track]
Alan: Well, one of the things that I've had recently come up quite a bit is phone calls, I get phone calls from people that say 'I know that there's an S-track and an L-track and an SL-track, but,' or I'll tell, they’ll say 'Now, I definitely want a chair that has rollers, you know, massage rollers on the buttock,' and I'll say 'Oh, you want the L-track,' and they’ll say 'Yeah, but I would prefer an SL-track.' And so, I get comments like this all the time, and basically what it is, is it's a mistake of the industry to kind of mislead, it's not intentional. I don’t think it's intentionally to mislead people, even though in our industry, massage chair companies will come up with words that make you think that they have an advantage over another chair, like I don't know, like chromotherapy, but you know, most chairs have lights somewhere on the chair, or you know, 4D versus 3D, or I don't know, an L-track versus an SL-track, and I just want to go over this really quickly with you, so you understand the difference between an S-track, an L-track, and an SL-track. First of all, an S-track is indicative of a roller mechanism that follows, goes down your back and follows the S-shape of your spine. It goes from your neck, down to your back, your low back, or tail bone, that’s an S-track. And an L-track continues that S down your back, and then goes under your seat, constituting the L-portion of the track, so that’s an L-track, that’s an S-track. Well, guess what? All the L-tracks have an S-track, because all L-tracks have that curve-following roller track of your spine that eventually turns at the bottom and goes underneath your seat. So, when you hear the term L-track, you can know that that is an SL-track. If someone tells you they have an SL-track, and to make you think that that’s something special over a regular L-track, that is not anything different, or special, or unique. An L-track is an SL-track, plan and simple. So, SL is equal to L, got it? Now, there are some chairs that say they have a J-track, or a max-track, and those are different. That’s when an L-track comes down your back, it goes down the S-shape, and then it goes like an L underneath your butt, a J-track comes down your back, and goes down at an angle, like a J, instead of an L, directly under your butt, it goes down at an angle. And the advantage of that is that the rollers can, the roller mechanism can flatten out more, so you can get a better stretch, you see? And a max-track is similar to a J-track. So, you'll hear these terms about different tracks, but don’t be messed up or fooled by S-track versus, or an L-track versus an SL-track. It's the same bloody thing. So, for what it's worth, there's our massage chair lesson for this week.
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Alan: Anyway, I hope you found this video helpful. If you did, please feel free to thumbs up 'Like' us on our YouTube channel, and of course, help us spread the word about massage chairs by sharing this video with your friends and family on your various and sundry social media platforms.
Click on the following link to watch this Massage Chair Industry Update on our YouTube channel.