Online vs. In-Store

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Mary Best
Editor in Chief

New consumer research by the BSC reveals reasoning behind different shopping paths

In September, The Better Sleep Council, the Consumer-education arm of the International Sleep Products Association, conducted a national survey of more than 600 consumers who had purchased a mattress within the past two years. The purpose of the study was to examine how shoppers are buying mattresses and why they chose that path to purchase.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they purchased their new mattress in-store, while 41% purchased it online. Those who purchased their mattress in the last year are more likely to have purchased online (45%) than in-store. On the other hand, only about one-third (35%) of those who purchased a mattress in the last two years bought it online.
  • Half (50%) of purchasers younger than 45 purchased their mattress online. This is significantly higher than the 29% of shoppers older than 45 who bought their mattress online.
  • The top reason for purchasing in-store was consumers wanting to try before buying (50%). Those who bought online liked the convenience (59%), free shipping (56%) and the affordability of online shopping (51%).
  • Interestingly, about one-third (34%) of each group simply preferred their way of shopping, whether online or in-store. In other words, it boiled down to perception. People who shop online think e-commerce is more convenient, affordable, etc., and people who shop in-store think the same about their preferred brick-and-mortar shopping habits. This could be an opportunity for retailers to drive specific messaging when talking with consumers.
  • When asked if respondents would recommend a compressed mattress or a traditional flat mattress, 45% said compressed and 55% said flat.
  • When asked if they had to recommend to a friend the best way to purchase a mattress, the top responses were: Try before you buy (27%), in-store (19%), online (13%), in a box (8%), shop around (8%), have it delivered (7%) and lying flat (7%).

The end and beginning of an era

For 17 years, my friend and Sleep Savvy contributor Gerry Morris has written instructional and inspiring columns for this magazine. Now, Gerry is saying goodbye to the mattress industry to pursue a new retail career with his wife, Mary Jane. His last regular column appears here. In it, he recounts experiences in the industry and revisits a handful of the themes that have framed his articles. We will miss Gerry’s wisdom and wit — and wish the Morris family every success and happiness.

And, Gerry, if you — or any of our readers — want to contribute an article to Sleep Savvy, email me at

From our team to yours, we wish you a peaceful and prosperous holiday season.


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