This morning, I walked outside to pick up the morning newspaper and what to my half-opened eyes should appear? A substantial front-page story about the mattress industry—with the headline, “Mattress sales a dream come true,” followed by the subhead, “The industry hits $14 billion for 2013, and its sales are expected to rise 16 percent in five years.”
My hometown paper, the News & Record in Greensboro, North Carolina, reported Sept. 16 that although the furniture industry has declined in the past two decades, costing thousands of local jobs, “There’s a segment of the market that’s thriving and it’s beds. Yes, beds.” The story attributed the mattress industry’s success to new marketing strategies, sales techniques and manufacturing styles, citing big retailers like Houston-based Mattress Firm, which has five stores in Greensboro, and manufacturers such as Kingsdown Inc., headquartered in nearby Mebane, North Carolina, as “working to sell a bed as something more than a necessity.”
Frank Hood, president and chief executive officer of Kingsdown, told the News & Record that his company’s diagnostic system bedMATCH is designed for one thing: “to make mattresses special and not just commodities to the consumer.”
While sales numbers haven’t returned to pre-recession levels—according to the International Sleep Products Association, the industry sold 36 million mattresses and box springs in 2013, compared with 43 million in 2006—the newspaper noted that mattress sales are expected to continue rising, “and [the industry is] taking a new approach to get there” by capitalizing on public awareness of the sleep-health equation. Ryan Trainer, president of ISPA and the Better Sleep Council, ISPA’s consumer-education arm, is quoted in the story, emphasizing this important trend: “We really need a good night’s sleep for health, for the body, for relationships with family, even for work.”
Obviously, this positive coverage of the mattress industry bodes well for all of us. The messages that a quality mattress equals a good night’s sleep and that a good night’s sleep enhances the quality of our lives are resonating with consumers. I believe this article shows that the word is spreading that mattress manufacturers and retailers are not just out there to sell consumers something; they’re striving to improve people’s lives.