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From Home Furnishing Business

What Sells: Take Mattress into Your Own Hands

The message around the mattress category, fueled by infomercials, local advertisements, and ads that seem to populate into search engines the moment consumers even think about a mattress, keeps the idea of mattress replacement every 8 - 10 years in the forefront of consumer mentality. The real message that consumers take away is that they have the power to choose a mattress best for them that will help improve their health and happiness through sleep. While this may seem a convenient selling point for the industry, research has found that mattresses do in fact have a life-span of roughly eight years (though mattress lifespans vary by mattress type, manufacturer, sleep patterns, and whether the consumer sleeps alone or with a partner). Based on an industry model developed by Impact Consulting Services, parent company to Home Furnishings Business, more than 54% of consumers reported their belief that a mattress should be replaced every 6 – 10 years and some 11% reported that they replace their mattress within five years of purchase.

With consumers making frequent mattress replacement purchases, no wonder the category has maintained its profitability. Much of the category growth has been pushed forward by specialty bedding mattresses that have moved beyond the basic innerspring model — though according to the study more than 52% of consumers report that the latest mattress purchase was for an innerspring model. This was followed by nearly 41% purchasing a memory foam mattress with air mattresses (i.e. Sleep Number) at 4.55% and latex mattresses trailing at just 2%.

Manufacturers are now focused on finding a niche that will be a sticking point with the consumer as a way to drive sales. According to Nick Bates, president of Spring Air International, one way is to appeal to consumers’ need to change their seasonal sleeping arrangements. With Spring Air’s dual sided mattress, one side is designed for when the temperatures drop for a warmer night’s sleep and a cooling fabric on the flip side that keeps the consumer cooler longer in warmer temperatures. Bates says, “Mattress companies like to solve the cooling aspects of sleep, but they often forget consumers who like a warmer sleep experience. By solving the warming side, we’ve given retail sales associates the ability to sell both consumers with one collection at competitive price points.”

With market share being usurped by e-commerce, many retailers are getting ahead of the curve by anticipating the need to catch the consumer’s eye when they make their way into the brick and mortar stores. “As store traffic continues to dwindle, retailers are working harder to make more margin per sale. We’re providing them a bed that they can sell at $2,799 in queen to capture a better margin,” said Bryan Smith, president and CEO of Southerland of their Onyx Plush model. “This mattress is backed up by strong website support to drive consumers into the store and is constructed with quality components.” Classic Brands takes the approach of helping RSAs demonstrate their mattress’ performance on the retail sales floor with ticking that darkens when touched to show consumers the benefits of a cooler night’s sleep.

The makeup of the mattress category is vast, but retailers know that what belongs on the sales floor is driven less by aesthetics and more by the various sleep solutions consumers require. When asked, 52.27% of consumers reported that mattress coverings have no impact on their mattress purchase. Of the consumers polled, 84.09% also reported that their purchased was intended for the master bedroom with only 13.6% of the purchased mattresses going in a guest room and 2.27% in a kid’s room. Clearly most consumers are looking to truly revolutionize their personal sleep experience, though they are missing out on a test drive of the mattress before the purchase. According to the same study, a surprising 15.91% of consumers did not try their mattress before their purchase, and only 36.36% report testing the mattress for 15 minutes or longer.

 With most consumers shopping for their master bedroom, it comes as no surprise that king size mattresses are performing well with 45.45% of consumers making a purchase in this size, followed by the queen sized mattresses at 36.36%, full mattresses at 11.36%, and twin trailing at 6.82%.

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