You may have spotted one while on holiday last summer. It’s a beautiful day, and some poor soul is standing on the beach wrestling with what looks like a sleeping bag. After many attempts to wave it around and fill it up with air, they give up and grumpily put the plastic tube back in their bag. Why did they bother? We investigated the craze product of the 2016 summer.
What you witnessed was an air lounger, the latest product to sweep Christmas stockings across the nation. For those no longer content with towels or deck chairs, they’re touted as “this summer’s must have”. The lounger works by capturing the breeze and using the air to fill the tube so it becomes a plush place to park your rear end on.
The trend seemingly rose out of nowhere, with ShowTV selling the Lizard Air Lounger model in New Zealand. Now, various brands of air furniture are on display at checkouts in stores across the country, with endless videos and articles reviewing whether they actually work.
Consumer NZ has said it’s had lots of correspondence about the loungers, which prompted the organisation to take the Lizard Air Lounger from ShowTV out for a test run. It retails for $69.95.
In Consumer NZ’s review, it noted the loungers deflate very quickly after 10 minutes.
“We found it didn't stay inflated for long, which was a major problem with this product," Consumer NZ researcher Jessica Wilson said.
A video of Wellington woman Erina Teariki Flanagan trying to inflate a Big Mouth Couch air lounger she received for Christmas had over 200,000 views.
In it, Flanagan runs around her driveway trying to inflate the lounger without luck, before finally going for a ride in a car and holding it out the window.
Most air lounger product descriptions say the seat can be set up anywhere in a matter of seconds.
However, Flanagan told Stuff holding the lounger out the car window was the only way to inflate the lounger.
Rather than championing its practical uses, she said air loungers are better off being bought for their entertainment value.
“I’d buy another one just for a laugh,” she said.
This story originally appeared in NZ Retail magazine issue 748 February / March 2017