For years, the mattress industry had a persistent but unremarkable presence. If a person needed a new mattress, they would head to a big-box retailer and attempt to make a discerning choice amidst a sea of confusing product descriptions and pricing structures. The industry persisted due to the necessity of the products it sells, but not necessarily because it was providing anything noteworthy to consumers.
Thanks to the rise of direct-to-consumer merchandising and shifts in consumer expectations, that has started to change. Modern consumers have a better understanding of and appreciation for the importance of sleep, and they want a mattress that is tailored to their own needs and will facilitate getting a good night’s rest. And young startups are rising to meet these expectations.
Enter the specialty mattress market, which is now the fastest growing segment of the mattress industry. Here are just a few of the innovative designs that are spurring this segment’s growth (and breathing new life into the mattress industry in the process):
- Bed-in-a-box designs. The rise of direct-to-consumer sales helped spur this innovation, which involves mattress designs that can be compressed into a box, shipped to the buyer, and then naturally inflated upon removal from the box. This innovation has had a dramatic impact on the mattress industry as a whole: The direct-to-consumer model is expected to account for 15 percent of the entire industry by 2025.
- Organic and eco-conscious options. The eco-friendly mattress sector is experiencing rapid growth thanks to growing concerns about harmful chemicals and a stronger environmental ethic among consumers. “Green” mattress options include products made with organic cotton, natural or organic latex, plant-based foams, wool, and other plant-based fibers such as bamboo and silk.
- American-made products. Many young retailers are housing their production on American soil, which is a dramatic departure from the way the conventional industry has operated for decades. This has provided yet another unique selling point for consumers concerned about making ethical choices.
- Dual memory foam/innerspring designs. For years, mattresses were either made from foam or based on an innerspring design. More recently, mattress designers have started to experiment with hybrid designs that combine the best of both types. These efforts have proved wildly popular among consumers.
- Temperature controls. One of the most common impediments to sleeping soundly through the night is overheating or feeling chilled in bed. Young mattress companies have responded with a slew of designs targeted at temperature control, from cooling gels infused into the mattress to WinkBed’s new coolControl™ technology, which allows users to manually cool down or warm up the mattress’ temperature.
- “Smart” mattresses. Several major mattress retailers have started to get in on the innovation game with “smart” designs that can potentially improve users’ sleep by, for example, automatically calculating their weight and sleep position and adjusting the mattress’ firmness accordingly.
In addition to innovating mattresses themselves, young mattress brands have also innovated the ways they interact with their customers. They’re now using a variety of digital marketing channels to reach their customers in fresh ways and build real relationships with their brand. Transparency, stellar customer service, lower prices, and superior comfort characterize the new mattress industry.
Bottom line? When it comes to finding the best mattress, customers now have more choices than ever. From organic materials to high-tech designs, innovation has awakened the mattress industry to a new era of growth.