BSC Survey: Covid-19 Resurgence Impacts Consumer Behavior


But shoppers are returning to brick-and-mortar stores and are interested in bedding products

The Covid-19 resurgence fueled by the Delta variant has consumers reverting back to some attitudes and behaviors exhibited earlier in the pandemic, a new Better Sleep Council survey finds.

The BSC’s third-quarter consumer tracker survey, “Inside the Mind of Today’s Mattress Consumer,” found that consumer confidence in travel, patronizing public establishments and shopping brick-and-mortar locations all declined when compared with the previous quarter.

There also is a resurgence in cocooning, as consumers put more emphasis on their homes once again, the survey reveals.

“Americans are facing a major Covid-19 resurgence. We’re seeing it in the number of cases, in people’s news feeds, and in consumers’ concerns and behaviors. This comes after we saw some relaxation of Covid concerns and shopping behaviors earlier in 2021,” says Mary Helen Rogers, vice president of marketing and communications for the International Sleep Products Association. The BSC is the consumer education arm of ISPA.

“With our quarterly BSC surveys, we can quickly identify important changes like these and alert the industry to these shifts in a dynamic, unsettled consumer market,” Rogers adds.

Although their confidence in shopping and buying products through brick-and-mortar locations has dipped, consumers are, in fact, returning to stores. Brick-and-mortar mattress purchases have topped online mattress purchases for the first time since the BSC tracker surveys began last year.

Interest in e-commerce remains high, but the share of online mattress purchases has dropped each quarter, from 60% in the fourth quarter of last year to 48% in the third quarter of 2021. At the same time, in-store mattress purchases have risen each quarter, from 39% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 50% in the third quarter of this year, the most recent tracker survey shows.

The most recent survey shows similar trends in shopping habits for other bedroom products and sleep accessories. In the fourth quarter of last year, 37% of purchases of bedroom products and sleep accessories were made in-store, with that percentage rising to 54% in the third quarter of 2021. Online purchases of those items fell from 62% at the end of last year to 46% in the third quarter of 2021.

Among top home purchases, bedroom products were the No. 1 category purchased in the third quarter, and were the No. 1 category on consumers’ plan-to-purchase lists. About one-quarter of respondents (26%) said they intend to purchase a mattress or beds and bedframes in the next 30 days.

The survey found that many people — almost two-thirds of those surveyed — think the current environment is affecting their sleep. In the second quarter, 23% of consumers said they strongly agreed that the current environment is affecting their sleep. That figure was up to 30% in third quarter.

“Interestingly, more people are reporting their sleep as ‘good’ and ‘very good’ — perhaps reflecting the impact of strong mattress purchasing over the past 18 months and the fact that sleep remains their most important health priority,” Rogers says. “People are cocooning again, spending much more attention and dollars on optimizing their homes for work, education and living.”

The percentage of people reporting “good” or “very good” sleep was up to 66% in the third quarter, a gain of six percentage points from the second quarter, while the percentage of people reporting sleep that their sleep is “very poor,” “poor” or “OK” dropped from 40% in the second quarter to 35% in the third quarter.

Taken together, the findings indicate that demand for bedding products, including mattresses and sleep accessories, will continue, Rogers says.

“All of this suggests that sleep will remain a high priority for consumers, and that demand for mattresses is unlikely to dip significantly,” she says. “It also suggests retailers and manufacturers with effective digital and e-commerce programs will compete more effectively than others.”

The survey also included several consumer comments.

“My bed and mattress are very comfortable,” said one consumer who self-identified as a good sleeper. “I get a great night of sleep mostly because of my bed.”

Added another good sleeper: “Having the right accessories really helps — cooling pillow, sound spa, good mattress, etc.”

“I generally get at least eight hours of sleep every night,” said another good sleeper. “I purchased a new mattress last year and I sleep like a baby on it.”

Poor sleepers weren’t as positive about their mattress.

“I have problems with my back,” one said. “I need a good mattress.”

Added another poor sleeper: “It’s hot most nights, and the mattress makes my back hurt more than it already did.”