The mattress industry was one of the most stable retail lineups for decades. The mattress departments in major retailers accounted for some of their highest markup items and their highest profits. Over the last few years, this has all started to change, and the change is happening fast. Let’s take a look at the factors which are causing the shakeup in the industry.
The biggest change has been in how customers shop. Buying items online has become commonplace and that trend has moved quickly into mattress sales. Customers who used to love to come into stores and try out a variety of mattresses before making their choice are now more interested in convenience.
Bed-In-A-Box sellers are growing at a dramatic pace. Every sale they make takes away from retail mattress stores. It is not only the lost sales that are affecting the retail chains. They had to cut their prices to stay competitive, making their profit margins drop drastically.
Mattress retailers advertised closeout sales every month, but in the past that meant they were closing out a product line, which was quickly replaced by Sealy, Simmons or Tempur-Pedic. Now it means something completely different. They are going out of business because they cannot make a profit. Mattress stores are declining in numbers at an alarming pace, while online sellers increase in numbers.
The new model of sales of mattresses sees manufacturers selling directly to consumers, bypassing the costly retail stores. This reduces costs for consumers and increases profits for the manufacturer.
Part of this change can be traced to the higher number of imported mattresses. Mattresses imported from China have been on a rapid upward trend over the last few years, causing even more pressure for domestic manufacturers to change their distribution methods.
Another factor that affects this change is the adjustable comfort mattress. No longer is it necessary to pick the perfect firmness for your mattress. You can buy a mattress that can be adjusted to fit you. The adjustable mattresses often allow different firmness settings for each half, eliminating arguments between spouses on which firmness of mattress to buy. You do not need to go to a retail store to try out a mattress if you know you can adjust the firmness.
Companies like Tuft & Needle and Casper, who sell direct to consumers, have become as well known as Sealy, Serta, and Tempur-Pedic.
The real question is how will the traditional brands respond? Will they quickly change course and start offering bed-in-a-box options to compete with these new companies? Actually, if you do a little research, you will see they have already started the change. Sealy and Serta both offer mattress options in a box to ship directly to your home. Other companies are quickly jumping aboard the trend.
In a few years, it may be hard to find a mattress store. The changes in the industry are happening fast and appear to be accelerating. The change will be hard on retailers, but may be a blessing to both consumers and manufacturers with lower costs for buyers and higher profits for manufacturers.