The Hopeful Season

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While the economy is still troubling, some bright spots can be found.

beautiful yellow daffodils  on green background

There’s something just so hopeful about this time of year. The short days and long nights of January and February are finally behind us. Daffodils rise up through the earth to provide pops of cheery yellow. Trees erupt in leafy buds. Birds sing intricate songs to attract their mates.

Spring is returning.

Every year it’s the same, and yet it always takes me a little by surprise. One day there’s nothing much to see, and then the next I spy green shoots by my front door. 

It’s a lesson I learn over and over — even in the dark, maybe especially in the dark, growth happens. 

The end of 2022 was tough for the bedding industry and many other industries. And 2023 has started in much the same way. According to Piper Sandler, an investment bank and financial services company, President’s Day sales were down slightly (0% to -3%). But there is a slight bit of good news. “Even with a sluggish trend until Memorial Day, industry sales appear to be finding stability,” the company reported.

And, so, we hope. 

Many felt that optimism at the Las Vegas Market in January. (See page 17.) For the first time since 2020, attendance neared pre-pandemic numbers. Showrooms buzzed with activity. Exhibitors were delighted with the turnout and the orders. One told me he felt a big sigh of relief. Others echoed similar sentiments.

“It’s like we’re getting back to normal,” said Rebecca Lord, marketing specialist for Malouf. “I think this is the pick-me-up the industry needed.”

On another front, research from the Better Sleep Council is showing a shift in the mattress replacement cycle. (See story on page 9.) Instead of waiting nine years to replace a mattress, which was the response in 2020, consumers are shopping earlier and replacing their mattresses at 8.3 years. From a retailer perspective, this is good news. Additionally, consumers are paying more than they said they would be willing to pay. 

Another trend that leaves me feeling hopeful — sustainable products. (See story on page 29.) According to research from the Better Sleep Council, 45% of consumers say it is very important that the mattress they purchase is recyclable at the end of its useful life. The mattresses in our product spotlight fulfill that niche in the marketplace. In addition to bringing in more dollars, these beds also bring in younger consumers — 53% of Gen Zers and 54% of millennials want a mattress that’s recyclable. Those numbers are significant. And, of course, you can’t forget the positive aspect of doing something good for the environment.

So, as spring arrives, I hope for good things to happen in your stores. May you find new products that resonate with shoppers, and may your floors and websites be busy.