Experiences vs. Mattresses: How Retailers Can Win in a YOLO Economy


As consumers spend money on travel, concerts and other events, retailers can harness that energy to encourage a bed purchase.

Experiences vs. Mattresses: how retailers can win in a YOLO economy.

Just as the Great Depression caused an entire generation to save their pennies — and virtually everything else — the Covid-19 pandemic ushered in a YOLO mindset, according to some economists. With the idea that “you only live once,” Americans are “vacationing more, splurging on concerts and sporting events and booking lavish trips years in advance,” writes Abha Bhattarai in a recent Washington Post article.

A key takeaway from the piece is that economists and other analysts don’t expect this mindset to change anytime soon. Just as those who lived through the Great Depression held onto items “just in case” throughout their lives, in a post-pandemic world, consumers may long continue to choose to spend money on experiences over things.

As Carolyn McClanahan, a financial adviser in Jacksonville, Florida, told The Washington Post: “People already had this attitude that you only live once — and that’s been put on steroids. Covid was a big wake-up call that life is precious, so you’ve got to enjoy it now.”

How can mattress retailers respond to this new way of thinking about spending to entice shoppers to shell out less for a Beyoncé concert and more on bedding?

Here are some ideas:

Target Active Consumers: Advertising in Unexpected Places

With consumers traveling and attending events more frequently, shift some of your advertising dollars to reach them in the airport, at stadiums, in movie theaters and other places where they are out and about. Do the same thing with your online spending by placing ads on travel and entertainment sites.

Focus on Energy & Recovery: Sleep for an Active Lifestyle

Shift your marketing messages away from dreamy slumber. Instead, focus on the energy a good night’s sleep will give your customers — the energy they need to hop on an overseas flight or catch a ballgame after work. Use imagery that expresses vitality, momentum, liveliness and vigor. When it comes to product mix, highlight mattresses and sleep accessories with components that promote recovery after a busy day of activities.

Smart Sleep Solutions: Technology for the Health-Conscious Consumer

With each furniture market, more and more mattress manufacturers are introducing smartbeds that help sleepers monitor and improve their health. Retail sales associates can link those features and benefits to the idea of staying well to stay on the go.

Beyond Sleep: Adjustable Bases for an Active Lifestyle

When touting adjustable bed bases, focus on how they can turn a bed into an activity center, making it easier and more comfortable to game or watch movies.  

Home as Sanctuary: The Power of a Restful Retreat

Americans may be packing their days with parties and plays but most still see their home as a refuge, a safe landing place where they can recoup after all that busyness. Remind your customers that there is nothing better than coming home to sleep in their own bed, especially if they have a new, comfortable, supportive mattress.

Read more mattress selling tips and strategies: Mastering the Bedding Mix: Strategies for a Successful Bedding Product Mix.