What Consumers Want in Mattress Toppers

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Recent consumer research offers insights into what prompts consumers to shop for a mattress topper, giving retailers ways to reach them along their buying journey.

The survey about shopping for and purchasing sleep accessories was conducted on behalf of the Better Sleep Council, the consumer education arm of the International Sleep Products Association. The survey asked about pillows, sheets, protectors/pads and toppers.

Of consumers who had purchased a sleep accessory in the past year, 47% had bought a mattress topper. Here’s a deeper dive into the results regarding topper, in particular:

Who are they buying them for? While most accessory purchasers are buying toppers for themselves (70%), nearly one in five (16%) are buying for their children.

What size bed are they buying for? Generally queen-size beds and larger. While 40% of the purchasers are buying toppers for a queen-size bed, 28% are buying for a king and 13% need one for a California king. Only 10% of purchasers are buying a topper for a full bed, and just 8% are buying for a twin-size bed.

What prompts them to begin shopping for new mattress toppers? The No. 1 reason, cited by 26% of accessory purchasers, is that they wanted to upgrade to a better mattress topper. A close second (22%) is that the purchasers’ previous mattress topper reached a certain age or was too old. Eighteen percent of the purchasers said their previous mattress topper was uncomfortable or was not providing a good night’s sleep.

Are they shopping for a new or existing mattress? Most of the accessory purchasers (80%) are purchasing toppers for an existing mattress, while 19% are buying for a new mattress.

How old was their previous mattress topper? Most survey respondents (59%) had their current topper for less than five years. The breakdown: One year or less, 16%; two years, 23%; three to four years, 20%; and five years or more, 23%. Almost eight in 10 purchasers said their previous topper was in less than good condition.

Where are they shopping for new mattress toppers? Online retailers are the top response, cited by 23% of accessory purchasers. The No. 2 choice is big discount stores, cited by 19%. Mattress chain stores rank No. 4, just behind home merchandise stores: 15% of accessory purchasers bought their mattress topper at a home merchandise store, while the figure falls to 10% for mattress chain stores. Only 6% shopped at a local independent mattress specialty store.

How much are consumers spending on mattress toppers? Toppers are bigger ticket accessory purchases than some other categories, with about half of purchasers (50%) spending $100 or more. The breakdown: 16% spent under $50; 32% spent $50 to $99; 33% spent $100 to $249; and 17% spend $250 or more.

What are the most important factors influencing topper purchases? Feel and price top the list of influences: 40% of purchasers say “the way it feels,” while the same percentage cites price. Fabric type is cited by 31% of purchasers, followed by cooling or temperature-control features, cited by 28% of purchasers.

The online survey of more than 1,000 consumers was conducted in March by the BSC’s research partner, Fluent.