Retail Survey: Sales of Mattress Units Down 20% in March

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Dollar volumes also show a decline as retailers report a drop in shopper traffic

Mattress retailers saw their dollar volume decline by single digits in March over April, but suffered double-digit declines in unit volume, a survey says. A number of retailers reported decreased traffic that month.

Piper Sandler’s March Mattress Retailer Survey showed dollars down that month by a mean of 6%, reversing the 7% mean growth retailers recorded in February. But total unit sales were down by a mean of 20% when compared with February. In a recent continuing pattern, the average unit price was up by a mean of 17%.

“Weakness appears more concentrated at the low end but some retailers acknowledge some weakness at the high end,” Piper Sandler wrote in its March survey report. The New York-based firm surveys mattress retailers around the country each month, asking them about their total delivered mattress sales. The survey includes sales figures for foundations and adjustable bases.

Piper Sandler asked retailers to share their assessment of business conditions in March. “Traffic was down double digits,” one retailer responded.

Here’s more of what they said:

  • “Premium mattresses are outperforming opening price point lines.”
  • “Traffic is down. We are focusing on promotional and mid-(range) price points, trying to find value. Premium has been a bright spot but has slowed some.”
  • “Promotional sales — $999 and below — are the lowest I have seen them in 20-plus years. Generally, consumers appear timid compared to 2021, but are still buying at this point.”

The latest survey also found that total year-over-year sales growth for mattress retailers in the first quarter of 2022 was down by a mean of 1%. The outlook for the second quarter sees a continuation of challenging conditions, with retailers now estimating their second-quarter sales will range from flat to down 2%.

During the first quarter, consumers used financing for 31% of purchases. “While financing costs will likely be moving higher with higher interest rates,” Piper Sandler wrote, “we would expect interest-free

terms to shorten (from 60 months to 36-48 months). This may pressure financed sales penetration, but also financing may be more attractive during a more challenging consumer spending environment.”

The March survey reveals that retailers have been on a sales roller coaster this year, but the down months have outnumbered the up months. Mattress dollar sales were down by a mean of 6% in January, up by a mean of 7% in February then dipped by a mean of 6% in March. Mattress unit sales, on the other hand, have been down each month of 2022, falling 25% in January, 9% in February and 20% in March, the Piper Sandler survey says.