Weighted blankets can help ease your customers’ anxieties, stress, health issues and sleep disorders. Consider these benefits and merchandising tips to provide a long winter’s nap
By improving sleep and reducing feelings of stress and anxiety, the wellness benefits of weighted blankets are “worth their weight in gold,” says Sarah Bergman, vice president of marketing and product development for PureCare, an accessories producer based in Phoenix.
The pressure from the heavy blankets mimics the soothing sensations of being swaddled like an infant or hugged by a loved one. Although there isn’t broad scientific support of the claims, some consumers say the blankets also help them recover after exercise and ease conditions like restless legs syndrome.
“One in five Americans has a sleep disorder and nearly one in five has an anxiety disorder — and consumers want natural solutions to these ailments,” says Scott Carr, marketing director for Malouf, a manufacturer of bedding and furniture with headquarters in Logan, Utah. “Because of these alarming stats, we wanted to bring a quality weighted blanket to market to help our retail partners provide a solution for consumers seeking help in a natural, nonmedicated way.”
For retailers, weighted blankets are a great accessory that can bring new customers to your store or e-commerce site and are a perfect item for gift promotions. They also are a nice add-on to mattress sales. Weighted blankets are an especially good fit for bedding retailers who already focus on wellness.
The specialty blankets have been popular for a few years. Bergman notes when PureCare did its initial market research before introducing Zensory in summer 2019, there were “almost 4 million hits on Amazon for the term ‘weighted blanket’ over a three-month stretch in spring of 2019.”
Because of that popularity, “the weighted category has experienced a deluge of product in recent years,” says Susan Mathes, vice president of brand relations for Therapedic International, a bedding licensing group based in Princeton, New Jersey. “The market has been inundated with low-priced product claiming to provide the same benefits as extremely high-priced product that many people find to be out of their price range. Our offerings are a perfect combination of high quality, comforting materials and sweet-spot pricing that consumers can afford.”
Here’s a look at some features you’ll want to consider when choosing weighted blankets to carry in your stores and e-commerce operations.
Some sleepers replace their quilt or comforter with a weighted blanket, and many people like to cozy up with one on the sofa or in a comfy chair. Because of how consumers use weighted blankets, the look and feel matter.
“We differentiate our products by offering a variety of textiles for different comfort preferences, such as cooling rayon with bamboo, faux fur with microfiber, and jersey knit,” Mathes says.
Therapedic incorporates a mix of glass beads and polyester fill into the internal layer of its weighted blankets. Many Therapedic models are available in three weights (12 pounds, 16 pounds and 20 pounds) and three colors (taupe, gray and blue), and are sized 48 inches by 72 inches.
A microfiber version (spot clean only) is value priced at $49. Step-up blankets include a reversible model with a cooling 100% rayon from bamboo fabric on one side and a cozier fabric on the other, and a faux rabbit fur blanket with faux fur and microfiber in the cover. Both of those are retailed priced at $99.
Keep it clean
As a health and wellness item, a blanket with a removable, washable cover is a key selling point for some consumers. At the top of its line, Therapedic offers a jersey knit version. Ties and loops prevent the blanket from shifting or bunching when placed back inside the removable, washable cover ($79 to $99).
“For Bedgear’s weighted blanket, it is important to call out the removable and washable cover. In a time when consumers have a heightened sense of health and cleanliness, being able to wash all their bedding is crucial. With an easily removable cover, it can be washed with routine bedding washes,” says Andrea Antinozzi, director of merchandising for Bedgear, a sleep products manufacturer based in Farmingdale, New York.
PureCare’s Zensory blankets have two optional duvet covers sold separately, one made of Tencel and one made of velveted fleece. Consumers don’t have to “fight” the duvet cover to get it back on after washing, Bergman says, because the company’s “signature color-match tie system makes connecting our duvet covers to our products simple and quick.”
The Zensory line includes two weighted blankets for adults — 15 pounds and 20 pounds—and also a 7-pound version for children. The blankets are made with minipockets to keep the glass bead fill from shifting.
Malouf’s Anchor weighted blankets, which also feature glass bead fill, are available in four weights (5 pounds, 12 pounds, 15 pounds and 20 pounds) and in three sizes (petite, throw and queen). All versions come with removeable, washable microfiber covers.
“This product checks all the boxes: removable cover, washable; baffle-boxed design to ensure even weight distribution; and a 10-tie system to guarantee secure fit,” Carr says. The Malouf blankets come in two colors (ash and driftwood) and retail from $99 to $199.
Many manufacturers, including PureCare, Therapedic and Malouf, fill their weighted blankets with glass beads, sometimes mixed with polyester, and use baffled fabrics or interior pockets to keep the beads from shifting.
But Bedgear weights its 15-pound Hyper-Cotton blanket with layers of breathable performance fabrics and wraps them in a quick-drying Hyper-Cotton cover that gives the blanket its name. The blanket is available in throw-size only (48 inches by 72 inches) for $199.
“We created this unique weighted blanket because we saw that there were so many pain points with consumers overheating, dealing with uneven weight distribution and much more from other blankets on the market,” Antinozzi says.
“Bedgear is always looking to innovate within the industry and that is what we did with our one-of-a-kind weighted blanket.”
Antinozzi notes that the blanket’s fill also prevents noisy movements and eliminates worries about beads or similar fills spilling out if the blanket is ever torn.
Although they may have reached the peak of their popularity, producers expect weighted blankets to have staying power.
“Their popularity has increased in the last several years and with all that is going on with the pandemic, politics and around the world, many consumers we speak to express loving their weighted blankets for their ability to assist with reducing the feelings of anxiety,” Mathes says. “I do think the market will adjust itself and not every product will survive the long-term. … But I believe quality products will survive and continue to be valued.”
How Weighted Blankets Measure Up
The name gives it away: Weighted blankets are heavy, layered blankets with glass beads, ceramic beads, dense fabrics or other materials at their center. Because they are intended to be used by an individual instead of shared, they generally are sized as throws or petite blankets, although some producers offer them in queen size, too.
When it comes to weighted blankets, one size does not fit all. As a general guideline, consumers should use a weighted blanket that is about 10% of their body weight, so manufacturers typically offer them in a variety of weights, including lighter versions specifically for children.
Make Weighted Blankets Fly Off the Shelves
A key to selling weighted blankets in your brick-and-mortar locations is giving consumers, who may not be familiar with them, the opportunity to feel and try the blankets.
“Weighted blankets are a complete sensory experience, so dedicating a space within your retail environment for a see/touch/feel moment is crucial,” says Sarah Bergman, vice president of marketing and product development for PureCare, a sleep accessories producer based in Phoenix.
“The best way to sell a weighted blanket is to allow the customer to experience it for themselves. When doing a mattress and pillow fitting, incorporate the blanket into the mix to allow them to feel that soothing, comforting feeling for themselves,” says Andrea Antinozzi, director of merchandising for Bedgear, a sleep products manufacturer based in Farmingdale, New York. “Have a sample open on the bed for them to try.”
Other tips for selling in-store and online:
O Tout them for the holidays. Weighted blankets make a great gift for Christmas and Hanukkah. Valentine’s Day isn’t far off either. Promote them online using search engine optimization strategies and social media ads, and by featuring them on your homepage.
O Spread them around. “Furniture and bedding stores that offer weighted blankets in multiple locations throughout the store will see better success than when allocating the offering to one section,” says Scott Carr, marketing director for Malouf, a manufacturer of bedding and furniture with headquarters in Logan, Utah. Drape them over a few beds throughout the store, display them near the entrance and also at the sales desk. Carr also recommends placing them in store seating areas “since so many people use weighted blankets while unwinding at the end of the day on the couch.”
O Explain them well. Product videos, photos of product details and lifestyle images work together to convey the features and benefits of weighted blankets online. Customer reviews and ratings can give confidence to shoppers less familiar with the product. “This allows customers who cannot touch and feel the product in person the opportunity to see all of the details of the product virtually. Having all of the right copy descriptions will also be key so you can speak to the need the customer has and how a weighted blanket can satisfy that need,” Carr says.
Julie A. Palm has been covering the mattress and home furnishings industries for more than 25 years and is a past editor in chief of both BedTimes and Sleep Savvy magazines. As chief wordsmith at Palm Ink LLC, she specializes in writing, editing, publications management and communications consulting for a variety of clients. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.