Transcript of Video Titled "Massage Chair Industry Update - September 1, 2020"
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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 Tuesday, September 1st, 2020. I believe the summer is almost gone already. I don't know where the time has gone, but we are now entering soon in to the fourth quarter, which is a busy time for the massage chair business, you know, we get Black Friday, and Christmas, and New Year's sales happening, and it'll be interesting to see what goes on this year. I did find, though, that there were some companies that don’t usually ever offer discounts on their chairs that did during the COVID pandemic peak, back in April and May. I don't know how much the sales will be for Black Friday, but we'll keep you posted as we get closer to that time. There are great sales now though, and I can't imagine sales being much better, you know, now or then, as they are now. There are still pretty COVID-centric sales going on right now with many of the companies.
[SCREEN TEXT: Lots of Chairs on Back-Order]
Alan: We have a lot of chairs on back-order right now. The Ekon is back-ordered in all its colors, the Active L is back-ordered. We will, we don’t have an ETA for the Ekon chair, we do for the Active L and the Kumo. Two of the three colors of the Kumo are back-ordered, but those will be here September 11th through the 15th. We also have the Panasonic MA73 back-ordered, both colors. The interesting thing is those chairs have been back-ordered for a couple of months, but as soon as an order comes in, they're already spoken for, and so the next shipment's coming in October 5th, but those chairs have already been spoken for, so the next shipment coming in that you can get a chair from is November 5th, and that seems a long ways away. We've had a least one customer who's cancelled their order because they didn’t realize they were going to have to wait so long. We didn’t realize people would have to wait so long for the MA73.
[SCREEN TEXT: Daiwa Pegasus 2 on Sale for $6995]
Alan: Also, let's see, the Daiwa Pegasus 2 is going on sale today for $6995, which, and its regular MSRP, or suggested retail price, is $11,000, so you're looking at $4000 off for this chair. We have it in our Utah showroom, it's a very nice chair. It's made in the same factory as the BodyFriend chairs, many of the Infinity chairs, and the Human Touch Super Novo. It's a very good factory, and this chair has a couple unique features, like it has armrests that mechanically open and close to accommodate a broader and narrower body frame, which is interesting. It also has voice command software in it, where you can tell the chair what to do, and it'll do it. It also has the calf rollers and kneading calf airbags, so it's a full-package chair, I like it. It also has airbags underneath the fingers and the palms, so it's like a, it feels like a round little dome underneath your fingers and the knuckles of your hand, and it inflates and puts pressure on the hand, a little bit differently than most other chairs do. It's very similar to the way the BodyFriend airbags work in the hands. Anyway, that chair is on sale.
[SCREEN TEXT: Daiwa Hubble]
Alan: They also have a chair, which we don’t have up on our website just yet, it's called the Daiwa Hubble, and that chair is, I think it's, I believe it's on sale for $3695. That chair should be up on our website either this week or next week.
[SCREEN TEXT: Daiwa Hybrid Supreme Coming Soon]
Alan: They also are introducing a new model next week called the Supreme Hybrid, and this is a chair that I think I discussed this back in January or February when I went to the Furniture Market in Las Vegas, and they had a prototype there that we sat on, but it basically has two sets of rollers. One for the back, and one for the buttock, and so it's not a true L-track in that the roller frame is a fixed L-shape, it is not that. It is two separate tracks, one for the back and one for the buttock, and so the advantage of that is you still get the roller massage on both areas, and they are independent of each other. The rollers are independent of each other, there's the bottom and then the top rollers, a total of six rollers, four on the top and two on the bottom, and but that also allows the chair to recline more horizontally to allow for a better stretch. Now, I cannot remember, back in January, how good the stretch was, and how it felt. I just remember thinking this is a pretty cool concept. Well, the chair has finally come to market and there's, you know, there's been some other chairs that've been waiting to come to market, you know, the new Luraco iRobotics 9 was supposed to come out fourth quarter of this year, but because of COVID, it's delayed most likely until the first quarter of 2021, and the Supreme Hybrid was to have been released earlier, but has been delayed because of the COVID pandemic and logistical and manufacturing issues. So, anyway, there's a couple of things for you to be aware of.
[SCREEN TEXT: Two New Patents Approved for Luraco]
Alan: Speaking of Luraco, they just notified the dealers, their dealers this week, that they had two patents, two patents approved. Now, I don't know how, you know, how much you're aware of Luraco and the kind of company they are, they are the only company that has a claim to having chairs that are made in America. Their non-critical components are made in Taiwan, but all of the other electronics, the research, the engineering, the design, the assembly, the testing, programming is all done in Dallas, in their headquarters in Dallas, Arlington, Texas, and they have 18 patents that they have applied for. They’ve been approved now for nine, and the two that were recently approved had to, one had to do with noise-reduction technology, and what it is, is they’ve created a chamber of special material that encases the compressor, the muffler, and the air valves of the airbags, and you'll notice when you sit in a Luraco chair, whether it's the Legend Plus, or the iRobotics 7 Plus, you don’t hear much noise. It's a very quiet chair, arguably the quietest chair we carry, chairs that we carry. Anyway, that chamber of special material – and by the way, they have a central air compressor, a central air system – so all the activity in the airbags stems from the central air compressor and valves and the muffler, all under this one enclosed chamber, and so that is one of them. And the other one has to do with the armrests in the Luraco Legend Plus L-track chair, it has a, there's a frame that holds the airbags in the arms, and that, and they had to explain it to me, and I had to write it down to make sure I understood, but the frame holding the airbags moves in a 3D-motion. And 3D, of course, being the x, y, and z-axes, so the chair, this frame will move side to side, up and down, and forward and back to accommodate different sizes of arms, and different body types, you know, some people have very small arms, very narrow arms, or short arms, narrow arms, others have broader shoulders, bigger arms, larger arms, larger circumference, longer arms, and this 3D-adjustment mechanism, frame holding the airbags in the arms, can accommodate the different sizes, and this is a patent that they also applied for. And it was interesting to talk to Dr. Lee at Luraco about the patents, you know, he tells me that it can take up to three to four years for a patent to be approved, and you’ve probably heard the term patent pending. Well, that is a patent that has been applied for, but is approving, is waiting for the approval for the full patent, and they waited three to four years, I believe he said for these patents and they’ve come through. They’ve got some other ones that are coming through, but they're a pretty, the company's pretty progressive in the way that they like to develop their own chairs, and their own patents, and their own, you know, prototypes, and you know, hats off to them for doing that. They do make very good chairs, very good quality chairs, very smooth, quiet chairs, good, good chairs. But anyway, that’s the deal with the patents, they just had those two approved just this last week.
[SCREEN TEXT: Massage Chairs & Body Scanning]
Alan: Also, I wrote an article last week, or two weeks ago talking about body scanning and massage chairs, and this was kind of an eye-opening experience for me, because I've always described body scanning, very simply and generally speaking, as a chair has rollers that go up and down your back to figure out where the base of your skull is, and where the top of your shoulders are, so that the rollers don’t go too high and beat your skull, which is one of the most uncomfortable things you'll ever experience, or they go too low and they don’t get your neck at all. Anyway, this article talks about the different body-scan technology that many of companies that we represent sell. I asked, I sent out a request for information weeks ago from the different massage chair companies that we represent, to have a, you know, a better, you know, have an idea of how their body-scan technology works in their chairs. And we didn’t hear from all of the companies, but we did hear from a fair number of them, including Infinity and Luraco and Furniture for Life and Human Touch and Johnson Wellness, or the Synca chairs, and so we got some great information about the different types of body scanning, and the way they work and it's pretty, it's a lot more sophisticated than I had given it credit for. So, now I think I have to reevaluate the way I explain body scanning to my customers when they come in, even though they still do measure the base of the skull and the top of the shoulders, they, there's a lot more that goes on in the way that these chairs read your body, and then create a massage catered to what the readings are of your body. But anyway, you can read that article, it's fairly lengthy, and it's, most of it's kind of a regurgitation of what the companies told me, but I think the information is quite, quite interesting.
[SCREEN TEXT: Johnson Health Tech Purchased Fuji Medical of Japan]
Alan: And let's see, the, you know, Johnson, well, I just mentioned Johnson Wellness, you know, the Synca chairs, Johnson Technologies purchased Fuji Medical, which is a Japanese massage chair manufacturer, I believe it was earlier this year or late last year, and there are some chairs that are out there that are, that are actually now, that are produced by Fuji Medical, but now are owned by Johnson Wellness Technologies, and one of those models is the Osaki JP 4S, so that chair, I believe they're phasing that model out, and I think the black is the only color available, but now that is part of the Johnson Health Tech group. And I suspect that when that, well, I don’t suspect, I know that when that chair is sold out, the 4S, the JP 4S, that will be the end of the model as sold by Osaki. I don't know if Johnson Health Tech is going to, you know, rebrand it, or repurpose it, but we do expect Johnson Health Tech, which is the maker of the Inner Balance chairs, the Synca chairs, it'll be interesting to see what new offerings they have. But Nicholas Beese, over at Johnson Wellness, is just a wealth of information, and he is the one who's kind of enlightened me about all these recent developments, and he sent me a copy of the press release when the actual purchase was completed. I think they don’t, I don't know if they own the entire Fuji Medical, but they do own a majority share of it. So, we expect to see more Japanese-influenced engineered and designed massage chairs coming from them in the future, and of course, as I learn about those, I will let you know.
[SCREEN TEXT: Effects of COVID-19 on the Massage Chair Industry]
Alan: You know, I just want, in closing, I just want to chitchat a little bit more about the COVID factor. We have seen, the biggest effect of COVID has been, one from the customer side, and one from the logistics side, from our side. From the customer side, people are, you know, it makes sense that because of COVID, people are afraid maybe to go to a massage therapist, or their chiropractors, or their physical therapists, or any kind of manual therapist where there's one-on-one hand touching, manual, you know, manual touch protocols involved in the concern of therapy. Well, people are looking to massage chairs to provide a way to get therapy at home without have to worry about, you know, masks and quarantining, and you know, too close of a relationship with a therapist. So, these massage chairs have really filled a niche, and it's interesting to see how many people have, that I have talked to on the phone that've said 'You know, I can't see my massage therapist, I can't see my chiropractor, I don't know how long this is going to last.' I have talked to chiropractic friends of mine, as you know, I'm a chiropractor. As you may or may not know, I'm a chiropractor by trade, and a lot of my colleagues have said that it's affected their business quite a bit. Well, these massage chairs have come in to play for home therapy, which is magnificent for the customer, maybe not so good for the massage therapists, and the chiropractors, or the physical therapists. But it's also affected the logistics side on our end, where we are seeing that chair deliveries are delayed. Standard curbside delivery, it's not that the delivery is delayed so, well, no, the deliveries are delayed. I just received an email this morning from a customer who has a chair sitting in the terminal near his home for the last eight days, or within the last week, and he still has to wait another seven days before the chair gets delivered to his home, probably because they're backed up, and but we're also seeing white-glove deliveries delayed up to six weeks. Usually, it takes one week for regular curbside delivery, and two weeks for white-glove delivery. That’s the general rule, or it has been. Now, it is, you know, up to six weeks, it could still be two weeks, but up to six weeks, depending on the carrier, and depending on where it's going, and the regular curbside delivery, we are seeing now is being delayed. There are trucks, there aren’t as many trucks that are being able to provide, or there's, I talked about the increased demand for massage chairs, but there aren’t enough trucks to cater, at the same pace that they did before, and so there's backups on getting chairs out of the warehouse. So, needless to say, COVID-19 is affecting everybody in this industry to some, to one degree or another, and obviously, it's affecting everybody to one degree or another. I know there's hope in news articles for medications that'll treat the inflammation caused by the virus, for current people with the virus, and there's also vaccines that are being worked on. I don't know, I know they're in testing phases for that, and we don’t know how successful those, all those modalities will be, but you know, I encourage you to continue to, you know, be wise, and you know, be careful to protect yourself and to protect others. You know, I try to wear a mask, I always carry a mask with me. Sometimes I'll walk to a store from my car, you know, maybe a hundred yards, and then I remember, as I'm ready to walk through the door, that I forgot my mask, and it is a nuisance, and I'm sure all of us would agree with that, but I feel good, for me personally, that I know that I'm, you know, if I have it, if I have the, you know, asymptomatically carry that virus, I know that I'm not going, I'm going, my risk of spreading it is going to be a lot less, and I also know that I'm protected as well. So, you know, be wise and careful and respectful of each other, you know, and make sure that, you know, we don’t, you know, sink each other's ships, so to speak, but I guess that’s about it for this week. If you can think of anything else that you have questions about, or heard about anything in the industry that you'd like answers to, if I've got them, I'll gladly, you know, take your calls, or your messages, or comments, and gladly respond to you.
[SCREEN TEXT: New Booklet About Red Flags to be Aware of When Shopping for A Massage Chair]
Alan: I just recently completed a booklet talking about red flags that people need to be aware of when they are shopping for massage chairs, and there are quite a few red flags in our industry. And the industry is, I've defined it in the past as a bit of a wild west, where there's lots of things being said, and done, and promoted, and ways of being promoted that are a little, some are questionable, some are very misleading, some things are just downright untrue. And so, I have made this, I've been working on this thing for a while, collecting the information and putting it in to words for at least a year, and I finally put it down in to words, and it's just getting edited now, but I'll have that available probably within the next week or so. It's at the graphic artist's now, just putting it together with pictures, and making it look pretty. But the information is, I think it's very, very good, and there will be things that you never thought of when you're looking for a massage chair. These are things that you’ve probably never even thought about in your search for a chair, and things that you need to be aware of, and I talk about some of these things in these industry updates from time to time. I write articles a little bit here and there, or put content on my blog about these things. But I kind of have, I've kind of taken all that information and put it in to one booklet, and it's like you know, '10 Red Flags You Need to Be Aware of.' So, anyway, you know, protect yourself out there, not just from the COVID pandemic, but also protect yourself from, you know, heartache or disappointment in your massage chair purchasing journey.
[SCREEN TEXT: Please "Thumbs Up" Like This Video!!]
Alan: Anyway, I'm Dr. Alan Weidner from 'Massage-Chair-Relief.com.' If you found this 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 sharing this video with your friends and family.
[SCREEN TEXT: 888-259-5380]
Alan: And of course, again, as I mentioned, if you have any questions, you can reach us at 888-259-5380, or you can reach us through email, comments sections, where I'm pretty accessible all over the place. But I hope you have a fantastic day, and we will see you again in two weeks. Bye bye.
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