November 28, 2020

Direct to consumer model continues to disrupt mattress industry

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From WN

Few markets have had such rampant disruption in past years as that seen in the mattress industry. The emergence of nimble new brands, hallmarked by their social media presence and quirky media campaigns, is officially too large to ignore anymore. Casper was the first company to gain serious traction in the bed-in-a-box space and saw their revenue surpass the 200 million mark in 2016. Until now, this new sector has been populated by ‘young-guns’ and hasn’t seen any real commitment from traditional mattress behemoths like , Sleep Number or Sealy. These companies have all unrolled their own interpretations of such products but haven’t really spearheaded the quest for consumers’ hearts like Casper. The recent launch of Tomorrow Sleep, backed by Serta Simmons, may mark the beginning of the end for these smaller companies’ dominance over this new market.

Long History of Industry Regulation

The Mattress industry has been around in its most solidified form since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. During this period, regulators and industry players organized to create a set of guidelines and standards to not only assure consumer safety but to also amass control within the marketplace. Over the years, these types of organizations help define the types of materials able to be used in mattresses, the standard sizes needed to assure comfortable fits within consumer beds, and also the types of chemicals and compounds able to be used during manufacturing. These standards have evolved alongside the sciences of health and textiles over the years and hardly resemble their historical origins. Over the years, there have been several giants emerge in this space. These are your so-called ‘household’ names in the industry—the brands you see advertised on television. Until very recently, these major manufacturers have exerted a stranglehold within the market place, much attributable to their many decades of research and development investments. As the dawn of the bed in a box retailers gives way to a new day, many look to these major manufacturers for their next move.

The New Kids on the Block

While Casper may have led the revolution, there are many other rising starts in the mattress world that have leveraged the bed in a box concept backed by direct to consumer sales. , pricing their beds around the $600 mark have found a tremendous degree of success as have more traditional designs from brands such as Saatva. Tuft & Needle are among the early founders as well, having seen a tremendous amount of response within online sales channels such as Amazon.com. Other notable brands include Purple which has led some inspiring media campaigns to garner attention from consumers. Many of these brands have taken vastly different approaches though one common thread ties them together—these mattress brands offer a more affordable and re-imagined alternative to traditional mattresses. In their article about mattress brands Home Refinery notes that “while mattresses are essential parts of life, few consumers have historically regarded them as a sexy product. The new presentation of product these brands are creating has helped reignite consumer excitement in an otherwise stale industry.” All emerging markets (or in this case re-emerging markets) go through a period where early-adopters tend to find the most dramatic successes. This usually comes in form of limited competition and uncontested design acceptance. With the entrance of such brands as , as well as Wayfair’s new exclusive line of mattresses dubbed Nora, the future of the mattress industry promises to be an exciting evolution.

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