Mattress Replacement Cycle: Reality vs. Expectation

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In 2023, nearly half of consumers replaced their mattresses within seven years.

the mattress replacement cycle. The average length of time that consumers expected to keep their mattress rose slightly in 2023, up to 9.6 years.

The mattress replacement cycle is an important metric for the sleep products industry, illustrating when retailers can expect shoppers to return to the marketplace. In the March/April issue, Sleep Savvy covered what triggers a consumer to replace a mattress based on the newest research from the Better Sleep Council. But when do consumers expect to enter the replacement cycle? And when do they actually enter it?

The latest research from the BSC explores this gap and the demographics that influence the time between mattress purchase and replacement. Before we dive in, one statistic to note is that the average length of time consumers expected to keep their mattresses rose slightly in 2023, up to 9.6 years. In a future issue, Sleep Savvy will cover consumers’ purchase experiences once they enter the replacement cycle. For now, keep reading to understand the trends among consumers when they decide to replace their mattresses, compiled using data from 1,039 respondents ages 18 or older.

The Expectation-Reality Gap: Purchase Habits vs. Replacement Needs

Consumers predominantly expect a mattress to last between eight to 10 years, yet nearly half report that they replaced their mattress within seven. In the latest survey, respondents were asked, “How many years would you expect to keep a new quality mattress?” In 2023, the average was 9.6 years; in 2020, it was 9.5 years. Those are small upticks from 2016 when the average was 9.4 years. 

Also notable: In 2020, 31% of respondents said they had bought a mattress in the previous two years. In 2023, that number increased to  39%. In more good news, consumers’ satisfaction with their current mattress has increased since 2020, (83% in 2023 vs. 76% in 2020).

Who You Trust Most: Mattress Replacement Advice Sources

Between advice from the BSC, advertising campaigns and recommendations from retail sales associates, there is abundant guidance about when and why consumers should replace their mattresses. However, this latest survey reveals that a little more than half of consumers (57%) are most likely to rely on their own experiences rather than outside sources when deciding how frequently to replace a mattress. 

Other sources that helped consumers decide when to enter the replacement cycle were word of mouth (24%) and online reviews (21%). The least popular sources of information were recommendations from RSAs (10%), references on consumer sites or blogs (10%) or what medical professionals recommend (9%), suggesting that information from trusted individuals within consumers’ networks holds more weight than that of third parties.

Demographics and the Replacement Cycle: When Expectations Diverge

The discrepancy between when consumers anticipate entering the replacement cycle — and when they actually do — varies by demographics such as age, gender, location and number of children. At the broadest level, men and women expect to wait an average of 9.6 years to replace their mattresses. But in reality, men entered the replacement cycle sooner than women (8.6 years vs. nine years). 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, consumer age makes a difference. According to the survey, millennials (ages 25 to 40) wait the shortest time, an average of 6.5 years. That’s in contrast with baby boomers and older generations (ages 56 and up), who wait the longest at 11.7 years. In the middle are Gen Z (ages 18 to 24) and Gen X (ages 41 to 55), who expect to purchase a replacement mattress at 7.1 years and 9.2 years, respectively. Gen X experiences the smallest gap between expected and actual years between replacement, 9.3 versus 9.2, respectively.

The report found that where consumers live — urban, suburban or metro areas — also influences purchasing decisions. Those in rural areas tended to wait the longest to replace mattresses (10 years), compared with those in urban areas with the shortest cycle (7.4 years). Suburban areas landed in the middle with an average of 9.3 years.

Family size also influences how long consumers keep a mattress. Those with no children at home entered the replacement cycle at a mean of 9.2 years. Respondents with at least one child at home waited approximately 8.5 years.

Bridging the Price Gap: Willingness to Pay vs. Actual Spending

Price is another area where expectations don’t always match up with reality. According to the survey, consumers expected to pay a mean of $1,192 for a queen-size mattress. At checkout, however, consumers pay slightly less than expected, with an average ticket of $1,021. Similar to mattress replacement cycle timing, demographics such as age and location led to variations. 

According to the survey, the amount consumers spend steadily increased from the youngest to the oldest generations, suggesting that older consumers are more likely to pay more. Baby boomers and the Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945) are willing to pay, on average, $1,405. That number decreases with every generation below it. On average, Gen X is willing to shell out $1,233, compared with $1,075 for millennials. That’s a sharp contrast with Gen Zers, who expect to spend just $656.

Education is also a factor. On average, those with college educations were open to spending approximately $211 more than those without a college degree. Once again, consumers’ locations seem to make a difference. Those in urban and rural areas were willing to spend a similar amount ($1,034 and $1,060, respectively) compared with those in suburban areas, who expect to pay an average of $1,320.

So, how does consumers’ 2023 spending compare with 2016 and 2020? With dollar values adjusted for inflation, the amount consumers expected to pay, their willingness to pay and their actual spending have all decreased. Of those surveyed, half of consumers believe that mattresses are fairly priced, although four in 10 believe they are too expensive. Just 5% were unsure. None surveyed thought they were too cheap for their perceived value. Another trend worth noting is that since 2020, the perceived price of a mattress has decreased.

This latest report from the BSC offers insights into what draws consumers to the sleep products marketplace and highlights the factors influencing their shopping and decision-making processes. Since its inception, the BSC has educated the public about the role of sleep in health and the importance of a quality mattress and sleep environment.