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When you think about your bed at home, or consider buying a new bed, comfort and style are likely the two main things which spring to mind; with comfort in particularly covering everything from the size of the bed to how soft it is and what kind of bedding you choose to bring your mattress to life and turn it into something warm and cosy. And while style and size has a lot to do with the bed frame, much of the comfort of any particular bed is all down to the mattress.
When you look at the mattress industry, one of the leading and most notable trends that cannot be ignored is the sheer quantity of sales and deals that are splashed across store fronts, ecommerce sites and magazine adverts. In fact, it seems as if, of all the homeware and home styling industries, mattresses are the most likely products to be found and purchased on sale at any given time during the year.
Of course, this begs the question – can these sales be trusted? The value of sales and discounts found across many retail industries is that they are irregular and limited; providing assurance that every discount that does occur is a genuinely good offer and not one which is used as a means of driving sales of a product that is already priced too highly. The more sales an industry has, the most consumers can be led to believe that the initial price is actually too high and that the sale price is closer to the real value of the product: something which smaller family-run retailers and brands within the mattress industry are keen to highlight and draw attention to with their own more reliable products.
And so, in ascertaining and reflecting on the growth and development of the mattress sector, one of the leading features to focus in on is quality and how important the construction of mattresses are in determining their true purchase value.
The growth of the mattress industry
It seems ironic to report that the earliest mattresses in history were made from natural materials – and that today, after decades of development and new materials being manufactured and crafted for different finishes and purposes, the most popular and coveted mattresses are once again made from the most natural of materials.
However, what has changed and made great leaps over the years is the way that these materials are used, crafted and designed to give mattresses a long shelf life: adding value to each purchase which can range in price from a couple of hundred pounds well up into the thousands.
Did you know that the very first mattresses were made in Persia in the 27th century BC? And did you know that these early models were made of goatskins filled with water?
Again, it seems ironic to report that some of the most popular beds today are in fact water beds, showing that our ancestors all those centuries ago adopted a trend which isn’t so far removed from the products which we herald as top of the industry today.
When it comes to reporting the growth of the mattress industry and determining the reasons for the industries incredible growth, there are a number of factors at lay; namely the scientifically backed claims that mattresses should be replaced every few years else the consumer risks losing the benefits of the mattress and can actually do more harm to their bodies than good, and the rise in the amount of mattresses which are now available to the mass market, giving consumers more choice around the comfort and firm rating of their beds, the sizes of their beds, and the fabrics used on the outside of the mattresses which contribute towards all manner of external benefits.
The general market now has five main mattress types on offer, each one boasting its own benefits and drawbacks which should be thoroughly researched by the consumer before purchase. Not only is researching the ideal mattress base important for getting the right finish, but it also allows the consumer to understand where the deals and discounts within the industry really lie, and which types of mattress are more likely to last longer.
The five main mattress types in the modern industry are:
- Traditional Spring
- Memory Foam
- Hybrid Foam
- Pocket Spring
The pocket spring mattress market is the largest of all, made up of a spring support system which is topped with different layers of upholstery and is typically regarded as the most successful and effective mattress type available in the modern market thanks to its versatility and durability as well as the range of comfort layers available.
Despite pocket spring mattresses being the most common, all five of these types of mattress can be found across different sizes and can be tailored to match different frames – including children’s frames, bunk beds and midi beds, double beds, king size beds, and more.
Top retailers in the mattress industry
For most consumers, a great retailer in the mattress industry is one that provides guidance around which mattress types are best for different buyers depending on any ailments and injuries they have, how well they sleep, allergies and other external factor which can all impact and affect how well they sleep. For the most part, family run and small mattress businesses channel the most effort into the customer service they provide to a local customer base, while the largescale retailers focus more on the range of mattresses they stock and the different options available.
As mentioned before, consumers should take care when approaching certain types of mattresses, such as boxed mattresses which can sometimes be rolled up and stacked in boxes for months at a time creating damage to the interior structure of the mattress. However, to counteract such risks, the retailers of boxed mattresses tend to be the ones which promote easy returns and provide customers with a lengthy trial period during which they can return the mattress at any time for free – creating a good relationship between retailer and consumer and promoting a strong customer service promise. Some of these retailers include:
- Brook and Wilde
In terms of high street and ecommerce retailers, the most popular retailers in the industry tend to be those which specialise in the sale of beds and mattresses, presenting consumers with showrooms to try out various finishes and firm ratings, and offering guidance and expertise to buyers who are unsure of which mattress best suits them and their sleep style. A few examples of retailers within this specific industry include:
- Bensons for Beds
- Mattress Man
As well as these specialist retailers, the mattress industry is also served by wider furniture stores like Ikea and John Lewis which use their highly regarded and popular brand name as a way of entering different retail sectors and driving sales.
Trends in the mattress industry
One of the major trends which is taking hold of the mattress industry and changing the way that consumers interact and shop the sector is an increased education in how mattresses are made and how the various components in mattress construction contribute towards the comfort and support of various product finishes. Recent articles and revolutionary blogs in the industry have created waves in letting consumers in on industry trade secret – not just those which surround the marketing and constant deals of the mattress industry, but also those which deal with pocket spring mattresses and how the firm, medium or soft rating linked to each is actually all to do with the weight of the user rather than how the mattress feels under your body.
This increased education about the benefits and constructive methods of mattresses has not only driven consumers towards finding out more before purchasing, but has also led to a revolution in the way that certain mattress types are approached – for example, the idea that memory foam mattresses feel comfortable but actually offer very little in the way of long term support, and the idea that just because a mattress label says it contains natural latex, the likelihood is that if it is on sale for an affordable price, the quantity of natural latex contained within the overall construction is likely fairly low.
What these trends in the mattress industry show is how consumers are being more attuned to the industry and its insider secrets, and how retailers are slowly being forced to become more transparent in their constructive methods and pricing strategies in order to gain the trust of customers over and over again.
Another trend in the mattress industry is the rise in delivery ease and accessibility, with mattress in a box style delivery being something that consumers should be aware of – but should also utilise in full when they can be assured that the quality of the mattress is strong. To receive a mattress in a box is to receive a delivery which is practical and convenient, with the consumer able to place the box in the room where the mattress will live before unwrapping it and allowing it to settle for a day or two before use. This trend speaks volumes about the convenience that consumers are constantly looking for across all industries and sectors.
And then we have the rise in mattresses which are tailored to our needs, rather than consumers having to adjust their needs in line with availability and which mattresses are stocked by various retailers. While we have already looked at some of the most prominent styles of mattress, one which we haven’t touched on is the zip & link mattress – a concept whereby two mattresses of different firm ratings can be joined together in the centre to create one complete mattress fit for two different sleepers. For those couples and sleeping partners who sit in very different weight categories or have a big variation in height, these kinds of mattress are revolutionary as they allow both users to enjoy a restful nights’ sleep on a mattress which is suitable for their own body weight and measurements rather than trying to find something which matches both their needs – likely something which doesn’t even exist.
The growing trend for eco-friendly home products is another trend which is impacting the mattress industry among other retail areas, with big players and retail names in the industry experimenting with various designs which use more natural materials both in the construction and covering of their mattresses; seeking ways of retaining the same breathable and comfortable finishes without the manmade and environmentally destructive layers. This is not only because consumers are keen to do their bit to save the planet, but also has to do with the chemicals which are found across a variety of different mattresses, many of which can be harmful and damaging to those suffering from various allergies and ailments.
And finally, to the versatility of the mattress industry and the trend which sees manufacturers and retailers constantly looking for ways to innovate their products in order to stand out in a saturated market. For some, this means bigger and better deals, more comfortable mattresses and more promises than ever before. For others, this means looking for ways to make mattresses more versatile and more multi-functional; for example, shifting focus towards folding beds and mattresses which suit smaller homes well and create space saving solutions for homeowners and consumers. In essence, what innovation does in any industry is create and provide solutions to problems which do not exist until the consumer is able to see the full picture including the solution. Within the mattress industry, buyers will always be looking for ways of making their beds more comfortable and more functional – it is simply up to the mattress industry to expand their offering to cover not just the traditional bedroom but travel beds, beds on the go in the back of RV’s and camper vans, and even mattresses which fold up and become sofas and occasional chairs.