Baby boomers, lift chairs drive post-holiday sales

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

YARMOUTH, Maine – Although the start of the year always means big sales for mainstream retailers, when it comes to home medical equipment, other factors drive buying.

“My philosophy is, people don’t shop for this stuff when it’s on sale,” said Mike Kuller, president of All Star Medical Supply in Walnut Creek, Calif. “They shop for it when they decide they need it.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that Kuller doesn’t see an increase in sales after the holidays.

“Baby boomers tend to visit their parents and recognize needs that they have that they weren’t aware of before,” he said. “There’s a lot of shopping around the new year.”

Provider Brent Bradshaw says he keeps his prices competitive so that he doesn’t have to fool around with sales after the holidays.

“If I have someone interested in a product and I send them to a competitor, they’re usually back within 45 minutes,” said Bradshaw, president of Durable Medical Equipment in Austin, Texas. “The only thing I ever put on sale is lift chairs for Mother’s and Father’s Day.”

Provider Kevin Brown doesn’t wait until Father’s Day to promote lift chairs.

“We’re focusing on them as a luxury man cave chair,” said Brown, owner of All Star Medical Supply in Hermitage, Tenn. “A lot of people just want a comfortable chair. If they can buy a La-Z-Boy, why not a chair from Golden?” 

Promoting lift chairs is part of an effort to expand All Star’s demographic base, Brown said.

“We’re tying to grab the younger clientele,” he said. “People think of All Star and they think it’s where the older folks go, but we have lot of things for the 40-year-old.”

The new year also means the clock resets, so to speak, on insurance deductibles, putting cash sales at the forefront of a provider’s business.

“When we get to the first of the year, we start talking deductibles before we do anything,” said Bradshaw. “If there’s a deductible to be met, we take payment at the time of sale.”