Financial analysts, retail experts and members of the bedding community share their views
To help prepare for the new year, Sleep Savvy offers a pair of articles that analyze the retail environment in 2020.
Business writer Phillip M. Perry provides insight into the current and looming economic challenges facing the nation. He calls factors such as a slowing economy, rising labor costs and happy shoppers some of the ingredients “of a mind-bending cocktail of economic uncertainty in the United States.” Despite such precariousness, he argues a healthy labor market and high consumer confidence “have done a good job propping up a decelerating business environment.” How long will those tailwinds last?
Feature writer Julie A. Palm shares an analysis of today’s commercial environment by identifying 20 trends retailers should acknowledge and act on accordingly. For example, brick-and-mortar and e-commerce no longer function as separate operations for retailers nor are they either/or decisions for consumers. Palm quotes Carlos Castelán: “More than ever, a holistic shopping experience across all customer touchpoints is vital for brands. With an increasingly complex customer journey and dozens of customer touchpoints … companies need to present a seamless experience … for customers.”
While I hope these expert perspectives are useful, there are other perspectives to consider. In the December issue of BedTimes, Sleep Savvy’s sister publication, Palm interviewed a dozen bedding manufacturers and suppliers to hear their assessments and forecasts for the new year. Here are two insightful comments:
- When asked what headwinds the mattress industry faces in 2020, Bryan Smith, president and chief executive officer of Southerland Co., a mattress manufacturer based in Nashville, Tennessee, responded: “The ongoing political unrest and the 2020 presidential election will likely slow sales in the second half of (this) year. Historically, consumers pull back on making home furnishings purchases during this time period because of the apprehension and economic uncertainty.”
- On a brighter note, when asked what makes interviewees optimistic about the business environment ahead, Nick Bates, president of mattress licensing group Spring Air International, which has headquarters in Chelsea, Massachusetts, said: “Consumer appetite to invest in better quality mattresses gives me reason for optimism. The race to the bottom has no end and results in low-quality products that eventually get returned to the retailer for replacement. Consumers’ willingness to pay for better product is an exciting shift.”