Transcript of Video Titled "Massage Chair Industry Update - November 18, 2019"
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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, November 18th, 2019. We are getting very close to the Black Friday/Cyber Monday massage chair sales extravaganza. Every year, it is a very busy time in the massage chair industry, and anyway, there's lots of things going on this last couple of weeks that I need to kind of go over with you. Let's, well, I'll just kind of, the list is in no particular order, but let me go over a couple of things with you about stock and models.
[SCREEN TEXT: Human Touch ZeroG 3.0 Discontinued]
Alan: As, OK, first of all, the Human Touch ZeroG 3.0 has been discontinued. As of, last I heard, it was just about a week ago when we had an order on that chair, and then there's also, we still have the ZeroG 5.0 for those of you that like that style and design of the chair.
[SCREEN TEXT: OHCO M.8 in Stock This Week]
Alan: Also, the OHCO M.8, previously known as the DreamWave M.8, is on back-order except for the 'Midnight' color, or hold on, they're all on back-order, I think, except for the 'Walnut' color. All the rest are due in stock this week, and I think it's the 'Midnight' color that’s not going to be available until December 5th, or 4th, or 5th. Anyway, what's delaying the receipt of these chairs is they are changing the nameplate on all of the chairs from DreamWave to OHCO, that’s O-H-C-O. And again, for those of you that haven’t heard, the DreamWave brand has been renamed to OHCO, O-H-C-O, the same, it's still a Furniture for Life company, still same price, still same chair, same manufacturing, same everything. It's the same thing, the only thing that’s changed is, is the brand name, and so when you hear the word OHCO, that’s, that, and you are familiar with the term DreamWave M.8, it is the same chair.
[SCREEN TEXT: Osaki/Titan = New Inada USA Distributor]
Alan: Now, having said that, I just wrote an article and to announce that the new Inada distributor, Inada USA distributor is Osaki/Titan of Dallas, Texas, and you're probably familiar with the Osaki/Titan brand name. Well, they are now the US distributor for Inada, and they are going to have the old Inada DreamWave chair available. It's not the, and it gets confusing, it's not the DreamWave M.8. There was some legal wranglings that forced Furniture for Life to change the name from DreamWave to OHCO, and Inada is still maintaining the model name DreamWave, and that model will be available through Osaki/Titan, they tell me the middle of December. Also, Osaki/Titan and Inada USA, now the distributor for them, they will be, they will have also the new Inada Therapina Robo, which I highlighted in my visit to CES last January, where they introduced it. It looks a little different now, they changed the armrests a bit, and some of the other features of it, but we're eager to see how this chair works, how it feels, what's going on with it. It seems to be an innovative design, an innovative technology. We'll, hopefully we'll have a chair in our showroom to be able to tell you a little bit about it, but and I don't know the price point on it yet. I don't know any colors, I really don’t know anything about it, and I don’t know much about the whole distributorship through Osaki/Titan of the Inada chairs. I just know that they're going to be the distributor. So, when we get more details, we'll share that with you, but we are, we are told to expect the products to be available mid-December.
[SCREEN TEXT: Osaki/Titan Holiday Special]
Alan: Now, speaking of Osaki/Titan, I should mention that they have from now until the end of the year, they're offering a one-year parts-and-labor warranty for any chair between $2000 and $2999, and any chair priced over $3000, they're offering a two-year parts-and-labor extended warranty. Those are the perks, so far, that we're aware of for the holiday season, and they are in place now.
[SCREEN TEXT: Free Positive Posture Sol with Purchase of Positive Posture Brio OR Panasonic MAJ7]
Alan: Also, as I mentioned before, if you purchase a Positive Posture Brio, or a Panasonic MAJ7, that’s the latest, greatest Panasonic massage chair, you will get the free Positive Posture Sol with that purchase. That is also available now and will be available through the end of the year. Let's see, what else can I tell you about?
[SCREEN TEXT: New D.Core Massage Chair Line Now Available]
Alan: Now, the D.Core massage chairs are now on the market. Now, D.Core is, and I mentioned this, again, a couple of months ago when I visited Furniture for Life in Boulder. We talked about the D.Core, Cliff Levin, the president of Furniture for Life, explained some of the features of the D.Core. It has the nice, real wood paneling, it has rollers in the arms, which we've never seen before. Anyway, we will have that chair in our Arizona and California showrooms this, they should be there this week, the 'Beige' color, and so we invite you to come and check out that chair. We are not that familiar with it. All I know is what we were told at Furniture for Life back in October, or yeah, I think it was October, I think I was there in October, yeah, but anyway, we'll give you more once we have the chance to sit in it and really experience it. But the, and there's two models, the D.Core Cirrus and the D.Core Cloud.
[SCREEN TEXT: D.Core Cirrus & D.Core Cloud - Cirrus to be in Our CA and AZ Showrooms]
Alan: The D.Core Cirrus is the one that we're getting in our showroom. The difference between the D.Core Cloud and the D.Core Cirrus is the, there's a difference in price. The Cirrus is $7999, and the Cloud is $6999. The Cirrus has – oh, for heaven's sake, and now I've forgotten – well, there's, there were two primary differences that I, besides the price, there were two primary differences, and of course, I just had a senior moment, and have forgotten them. So, anyway, imagine how my wife and kids feel dealing with me every day when I can't remember things. Anyway, those are the two models, the Cirrus is the model, is the higher-end model. That’s the one we are going to have in our showrooms, I believe, this week.
[SCREEN TEXT: Ogawa Active L Discontinued and Replaced by Ogawa Active L Plus]
Alan: OK, also, the Ogawa Active L, which has been a real popular seller for us in the low-end chair price range, our low in price, chair low-end price range, that chair has been discontinued, and replaced by the Ogawa Active L Plus. It's still the same price, the difference is that this one has three memory programs, which is, we don’t see memory programs a lot on massage chairs. We see it in the Fujimedic Kumo, the Ogawa Master Drive AI, the Panasonic, I believe a couple of the other Japanese chairs have it. But it's not a real common feature, and what it is is, you can create your own, all massage chairs, you can create your own custom massage program through the manual settings, and but if it's a program you like, you can't memorize it, you can't, oh, Luraco also has a memory function, you cannot, you cannot make, most chairs will not remember those programs that you’ve created. This memory function allows you to remember those programs, and this chair will have that. It has three memory programs, just list the Ogawa Master Drive AI and the Fujimedic Kumo. It has five language settings, and it has a leg scan, and if you’ve ever sat in a chair that has a leg scan, it's pretty cool. This, in chairs that have an electronic leg extender, a lot of the time, it does not fit you when you sit in it. In other words, you have to get to the remote control and then press a button to move the legs out or move them back in to accommodate your leg length. These leg scans are allegedly, or they are to scan your legs automatically, and for the most part, on most of the other models that have it, it works. Sometimes it doesn’t, and you got to adjust it anyway, but it makes it quite convenient when you're sitting in a massage chair, and you can adjust the, and the chair will automatically adjust the length of the ottoman for you.
[SCREEN TEXT: Ogawa Master Drive AI Does NOT Have Heated Rollers]
Alan: Speaking of the Ogawa Master Drive AI, it does not have heated rollers. Originally, we were told that, and the literature stated that it had heated rollers and it does not. It still has heat, but it's in the low back and in the knees. Now, that’s an interesting feature about the Ogawa Master Drive AI and the Fujimedic Kumo – by the way, the components of both chairs were made in the same factory in China – there are a lot of similarities between those two chairs, including the airbags in the calves that move up to the knees, and you can massage your knees, and they have knee heat. Also, the quick keys are exactly the same. The remote control is different, and you have a wired remote on the Fujimedic Kumo, but you have a wireless Samsung tablet that, with an app, a downloaded Ogawa app that is your remote control for the Ogawa Master Drive AI, and the display's a little different, but a lot of the programming's the same, and this leads me to another thing, which is kind of interesting.
[SCREEN TEXT: 3D/4D Roller Adjustments in Auto-Programs]
Alan: We're seeing more and more chairs coming out now where you cannot adjust the 3D, or the depth of the rollers, in the auto-programs, and if, well, I take that back, you can adjust the depth of the rollers, but everything is preset in the auto-programs, including the depth of the rollers. So, if the roller is in, say, your mid back, and it's working there, and it has the set depth, and you go to change the depth, you can change the depth in that one segment, but as soon as it moves to the next segment, which has its own preset depth, you cannot adjust, it'll adjust back to that preset depth. So, a lot of the chairs coming out now, including the Master Drive AI, the Fujimedic Kumo, we've seen that on some of the Infinity chairs, the newer Infinity models, we've seen it on, where else did I just see it, oh, the BodyFriend Rex-L Brain has that this same thing, and it seems to, and I don't know why they're moving toward that because it seems kind of cool that you can adjust the depth of the rollers, and leave it, and the whole, and the massage down the whole area of the spine will, the depth will change, and it'll be stronger. But I suspect the problem with that is if you adjust the depth of the rollers for your, and you do it when it's in the neck where you don’t feel it enough, it's going to be too much for your low back, or for your mid back, or too much for your low back, or whatever. But anyway, that seems to be kind of a trend in these chairs, these newer chairs are going that way. The Luraco chairs, interestingly enough, have, you can adjust depth of the rollers in the Luraco Legend Plus, and the Luraco iRobotics 7 Plus, but the depth is segmental, or you can change in segmentally. In other words, rather than changing the depth of the rollers, and it changes the whole global roller track depth, or the depth of the rollers on the whole roller track, in the Luraco, you can adjust it segmentally. So, if you want to adjust it to go, you can adjust, like in the Luraco Legend Plus, you can adjust the depth of the rollers independently in the neck, independently in the mid back, independently in the low back, and independently in the buttocks, and in the iRobotics 7 Plus, you can adjust the neck, mid back, and low back independent of each other as well, so that’s kind of a cool feature that Luraco has. If you want it to be stronger in the neck, you can crank it up, if you want it less in the mid back, you can bring it back, so this 3D thing is changing. By the way, with those chairs where you can only momentarily or temporarily change the depth of the rollers in the auto-programs, you can change them in the manual settings. So, this is becoming, we're seeing more and more of this, which I find fascinating, because it isn't something that I particularly liked when I first noticed that in one of the chairs, I kind of didn’t like it, because we're so used to having chairs where you can adjust the depth globally, but now they're making the massages I think a little bit, they're choreographing them a little bit better, a little bit more nuanced, the depth is adjusted for the shape of the spine. Obviously, if you have an S-curve, and the curve of the neck goes forward, and the curve of the mid back goes back, the rollers are going to go more forward more in to the neck, and less in to the mid back to accommodate that curve and I can imagine that if you wanted to crank up the intensity, it, well, I don’t imagine, I know this is true, if you crank up the intensity in the neck, it's also going to crank up the intensity in the mid back, which might be uncomfortable. So, I can kind of see where they're coming from, and why they're doing this, but it takes a little getting used to if you're, it's a little tough to teach old dogs new trick, and I am an old dog, and this is kind of a new trick, and I kind of didn’t like it at first, but now as I'm seeing how sophisticated these updated chairs are, I can understand that maybe, you know, maybe it's not as necessary as it used to be. But again, that’s just me yacking and speculating, I haven’t talked to engineers or designers or builders of the chairs, so I have no idea. That’s just me trying to come up with some reasoning behind it. OK, let's see, what else can we tell you?
[SCREEN TEXT: "Made in Japan" - Not What it Used to Mean]
Alan: Oh, and I've talked about this before, and I need to reiterate this. I probably need to write another article about this, even though I have written about it before, when you hear about a chair being 'Made in Japan,' know that there are no chairs that I am aware of where the chair is 100% made in Japan. For most chairs, like the DreamWave, like the Fujimedic Kumo, like other chairs that are claimed to be made in Japan, the components, the vast majority of the components are made in China. They're exported to Japan, where in Japan they assemble the chair, test it, and do the programming of the chair, and the reason they send it to Japan for the testing is because the Japanese apparently have this reputation of very particular quality control, and typically, chairs that come, that say they come from Japan, or are made in Japan, have better testing protocols, and therefore their failure rates are lower, and usually there's a better warranty attached to a chair that says it's made in Japan, but the most, I have had discussions about with the heads of different of the massage chair suppliers, and massage chair companies, and the general consensus is yes, these chairs are all made in China, but assembled, programmed, and tested in Japan. There's one model, I believe, is it the Synca JP1100, I think that one, according to them, has 30% of their components made in Japan, which is the highest percent of Japanese-made components in any chair out there, period. And then of course, and well, anyway, and then there's of course, the Luraco chairs, which are claimed to be made in America, and they are working within the constructs of the parameters dictated by commerce, by the department of commerce as to what constitutes made in America, and apparently, they are biding by those guidelines, but their noncritical components are from Taiwan. And so, even that chair is not made 100% in America. As a matter of fact, if you hear anybody tell you that a chair is made 100% in America, run, do not believe them. I can guarantee you that chair is made in China, and it's a marketing ploy. So, please be cautious when you hear that someone says we have a chair that is 100% made in Japan, or a chair that is 100% made in America, not true. The only chairs that are made 100% in one country would be China. And so, and so anyway, that, I had to talk about this again because I still, I continue to get calls about this made in Japan business, made in America business, and there are considerations for each of those statements that you need to be aware of.
[SCREEN TEXT: Lower-Priced vs. Higher-Priced Massage Chairs - Two Different Markets]
Alan: Alright, let's see, more and more, more and more, we're seeing these chairs that are, these cheaper chairs, these $1000 to $2000 chairs that claim these unbelievable deals, and I have, and I'm not poopooing the chairs at all, I think there is, I think the market is diverging, and the market is diverging between chairs that are cheap, lower priced, less frills, less features, lesser quality, made in smaller Chinese factories, with a little bit poorer quality control, which means they probably will have a higher failure rate, and a lower mortality rate, if you can apply mortality to a massage chair. But I'm not saying that they're, it's a bad deal or bad chairs, I'm just saying don’t expect to have the quality of service, the quality of components, the quality of warranty, the quality of return policy that you would get from a name-brand high-end chair, and the service associated will be different as well. And to prove this, I was, there was a couple that I get advertised about all the time, oh, and by the way, also, whenever you hear about good deals on chairs, and it almost sounds too good to be true, do your research. Make sure you study out reviews, not their reviews, or you know, make sure you study out objective reviews, reviews of their customers, not just reviews of how cool they think the chair is when they first get it, but reviews maybe down the road a year or two down the road, six months down the road, how the customer support was when they had a problem with the chair, how many problems customers had. Also, do homework on what their return policies are because a lot of these companies, and this applies to retailers like myself, but it also applies to these lower, no-name brand chairs that are direct-to-consumer sellers. So, they are retailers also, they are the importers, but they're also the retailers, and so therefore, they have to have, they have to explicitly lay out what their return policy is, and what they warranty is, and a lot of them don’t, and so I visited a couple of these massage chair companies. I called them, and I visited their websites, and I did a little homework to find out exactly how good their policies are, how clear their policies are, and if things are up to snuff. And of course, this is just based on moments of my conversation with someone that works there, or by going on their website, but for example, two of the companies I went to said that their chairs were FDA approved. Now, I've already talked about this, there is no such thing as an FDA approval for a massage chair, no such thing. Everybody registers their chairs with the FDA, and I notice since I first commented on this months ago, some of the massage chair companies, the more name-brand companies that were doing this have changed their little emblem that says 'FDA Approved' to 'FDA Registered,' but there are still some, and a lot of these cheaper chairs will say this, FDA approved. And you have to understand, these, a lot of these people that sell these chairs are not massage chair experts, they're people that are importing chairs, and just doing it to sell chairs at a rapid pace, at low cost, to make money at it. They're not people that are necessarily in the massage chair industry or have a vested interest in the development of technology or chairs in the massage chair industry. Of course, some of the name-brand companies aren’t as vested either, but they are certainly more vested when they are distributing their massage chairs through retail networks, and wanting reputable retailers to carry their chairs. They have to be vested, but a lot of these other companies, they’ll import crates of these chairs, you know, shiploads of one or two cartons or crates, cartons, crates, and they sell them off, bang, bang, bam, they just sell them off. And a lot of these lower-priced companies, they have, you know, you can send the chair back if you don’t like it, but they don’t have in-home warranties, they will send you parts, or like for example, one company, they will not send you the actual, well, they’ll send you the parts, but they don’t, but you will pay for the parts, they will pay for the shipping of the parts. So, make sure you understand the warranty said, we will pay for the shipping of the parts in a couple of the years of the warranty. Make sure you understand the different types of returns that they have. One company had two different return qualifications in their return policy, and I still was not clear about it. I called them, and they said 'Oh yeah, but that, oh, yeah, yeah, but we still will handle the return, but don’t worry about the difference, it's just not written down right.' Well, you know what, these companies need to make sure these things are written down right, because a lot of people are buying these chairs, a lot of people are getting in the market of buying a massage chair because these low prices are very, very attractive. There's people that can't afford to buy a $10,000 chair, or $5000, or $8000 chair, they can afford $1000 chair, or $1500 chair, and so they deserve to have every bit as much as the high-service customers, the high-end customer purchasers, you know, the high-end chair purchaser, yeah, chair purchase customers, they deserve to have warranties and return policies explicitly explained, so that they know what they're getting in to. Because $1200 may not seem like a lot to a person that’s spending $9000 on a chair, but it is a heck of a lot of money to a person who is scraping together $1200 because they need a chair for their bad back, or their headaches, or because they need help with some kind of health condition, or whatever. So, make sure that you do your homework, make sure you understand what their limited warranty is, make sure you understand when they say we have a full three-year warranty, what does that mean? Call them, ask them, what is a full three-year warranty, because if they don’t lay it out on their website, chances are, when you go to return that chair, they are going to say something like 'Well, yeah, we have a full warranty, we will pay for the full shipping of these parts to your home for three years.' They don’t say that you're going to pay for the parts, they don’t say they're going to do in-home warranty, you know, and labor. Or if they say they have parts and labor included for a year, make sure you understand that you, they are going to send a tech out to your home to fix it, and not expect you to ship the chair back to them, because when you get in to shipping, oh, my gosh, it is a pain in the royal rumpus, and trust me on this, shipping a massage chair back is not an easy thing, and it is costly. Putting the chair back together again in the box, that’s a pain in the butt, and if it's not assembled properly, and it's not packaged properly, or disassembled properly, and packaged properly, and sent back, and there's damage, you are responsible, you will be held responsible for that, for the damage to that chair. So, just please, just be very, very careful, make sure you do your due diligence, don’t get sucked in by a really good price by a chair that really has a cool picture. Oh, and another thing I learned recently was that a lot of these cheaper chairs do not have a roller mechanism that goes up and down your back, like the traditional chairs that we sell. A lot of these cheaper chairs have a disc, and what it has is that, you know those chair massage things you can buy, the massage pads that you can put in your chair, lay on your chair, or your car seat, or your home chair, and it has discs back there that massage your back. A lot of the chairs that are priced low have these discs, they don’t have a true roller track going your back in the shape of an S-curve up and down your back, and whatnot. And anyway, I'm kind of going off on this, but that was my theme for this week. I wanted to talk about it because I get a lot of inquiries about cheaper chairs, and I've got no problems with people going for cheaper chairs. I understand that there's budgets and I understand that you, you know, sometimes you cannot afford to pay a lot of money for a chair, and if you want a name-brand chair, it's tough to get one that has all the features. Well, these cheaper, low-priced chairs are an option, and barring, you know, a high failure rate, and barring a low mortality rate, you could get some good years out of a chair like that, maybe four or five years out of a chair like that, and it may never break down. But if you’ve got a, you know, 25% failure rate, you know, brace yourself because sometimes the support for these companies are not great. Remember, some of these companies do not have tech support, they don’t really even fully understand the mechanics of their own chairs. They will send out parts and if it's the wrong part, they’ll send out another part, and are you paying for those parts, we don’t know, make sure you know. But and just because you can't afford a higher-end chair, and you're paying for a cheaper chair, does not mean that you don’t deserve to be, have these companies be upfront with you, and even though it's just a warehouse with a bunch of chairs that they're selling, and without a tech, really a legitimate tech department, or without a real legitimate warranty, you need to know that you're taken care of. They should be backing you up on this chair that they're selling you, because for the person that can only afford $1000 chair or $1200 chair, that’s a huge investment, and that person deserves the same kind of transparency that these higher-end chairs make available to us. Alright, enough of that, I kind of feel like I've been on a, just been on a little bit of a soapbox, and so I apologize.
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Alan: But anyway, that’s the important stuff. I hope you found this video helpful. If you did, please feel free to thumbs up 'Like' us on our YouTube channel.
[SCREEN TEXT: 888-259-5380]
Alan: And of course, if you have any questions, and I know you do because I get them all the time, give us a call at 888-259-5380, or send an email to me, you can send an email to Alan, A-L-A-N@Massage-Chair-Relief.com, we have a chat feature on our website, you can leave comments on the YouTube channel, I'll answer those questions for you. But anyway, feel free to reach out, we're always available to you. And of course, as always, if you found this video helpful, share it with your friends and family to help us spread the word about massage chairs. Again, I'm Dr. Alan Weidner from 'Massage-Chair-Relief.com,' and I'll see you again in two weeks. Bye bye.
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