We all go about our days in different ways. Some of us rise early, others like to sleep in. We swim, bike and run. Take yoga. Enjoy long walks and trail hikes. Read, listen to music. We work. And at the end of a long day, most of us do the same thing. We climb into our beds and fall asleep. What's astonishing is that over the course of our lives, we spend approximately 25 of our precious years…asleep. So it should come as no surprise that the mattress industry is one of the best performing sectors in the furniture industry. Here are a few reasons why…
The furniture business continues to be very strong. According to trade publication
Furniture Today, the top 25 retailers grew 2014 furniture and bedding sales to $33.46 billion, from $30.62 billion in 2013. Within this sector, we see growth coming from a few areas. One of these is the mattress industry. According to a recent article in the
Washington Post, it's a $14.2-billion sleeping giant (pun intended) that's dominated by two major companies, Tempur Sealy and Serta Simmons. Between the two companies, they accounted for about 70 percent of bedding wholesale shipments last year, according to Furniture Today.
And the trade group
International Sleep Products Association noted in the latest Bedding Barometer, a monthly report of U.S. mattress sales published by the group, that unit sales increased by 4.2% in July 2015 over the same month in 2014.
The Value of a Good Night's Sleep
So how's the mattress industry continuing to grow? The reason is twofold - there's new technology and new entrants coming to market from a different angle. I think some of the technology has been around for a while, such as new foam and latex combinations that provide personalized comfort levels. But now we're seeing new entrants to the sector beginning to market features and technology that are geared to specific demographics - for instance the new
Bear Mattress by Bear Mattress that's targeted to athletes and people living a healthy, active lifestyle. There's also the
BedJet by BedJet that is a personal climate controlled system.
What's interesting is that all of these mattress companies are finally changing their approach to selling by marketing the product versus marketing the warranty. This sounds like an obvious approach, but the old tried and true method of selling a mattress was to tout the 20-year warranty. That's an antiquated approach that does not necessarily benefit the business -- as a manufacturer, you don't necessarily want people to think they can keep their mattress for 20 years; as a consumer, there are health benefits to updating your mattress more regularly. We are, after all, asleep for more than a quarter of our lives.
These new approaches seem to have made mattresses one of the best performing sectors in furniture industry and just might help mattress manufacturers and retailers sleep better at night.
Michael Hudgens is Southeast Regional Manager of
CIT Commercial Services. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing new business, client retention and profitability. Hudgens earned a bachelor's degree and an MBA from Clemson University.
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With e-commerce becoming increasingly prevalent, social shaking things up and brick-and-mortar-focused retailers stepping up their online game, 2017 will prove to be an interesting year for retail.