It was another scorcher of a summer Las Vegas Market this year. Despite the temperatures hovering around 110 degrees outside, things inside the World Market Center were cool, calm and collected. The sentiment throughout the bedding showrooms could best be described as laid back and confident. Manufacturers of all shapes and sizes seem to have a sturdier handle on the shifting consumer habits and retail challenges that have been puzzling the industry in recent years - and many of them have developed new programs to better accommodate the changing needs. In fact, some of the trends that were considered to be major innovations not so long ago have quickly become market mainstays. We heard from many manufacturers that boxed shipping is no longer an exclusive selling point, instead it’s become an expected delivery option. The same can be said for cooling, with nearly every brand offering temperature management features.
As a whole, the overarching theme of the summer market was centered around improving the retail shopping experience. What do retailers need to thrive in today’s bedding marketplace? And how can manufacturers help them evolve with the times? From more advanced marketing support and creative styling to the continued growth of the mid-luxury and adjustable categories, the summer market reflected an industry more focused on strategic thinking. As manufacturers are finding more effective ways to engage the modern consumer, we are happy to see that corporate responsibility of all kinds has become increasingly important factor for many brands. The heart and soul of this industry has always been helping people feel and perform their best - and we’re excited to see how this focus on empathy will continue to propel the marketplace into the future.
Here are the top trends we saw at the Summer 2018 Las Vegas Market.
Helping Retailers Engage With Today’s Consumers
Shifting consumer buying habits have posed unique challenges to the mattress and bedding market. With each stage of the customer journey undergoing continuous evolution, today’s retailers are looking for new ways to engage and nurture potential shoppers. While there may have been a few growing pains along the way, bedding manufacturers are now showcasing a much more nuanced understanding of how consumers shop today, starting from at-home online research through the in-store retail experience all the way through to delivery. With dynamic new approaches to digital marketing, in-store packaging and point-of-sale materials and even private labeling programs on display at the summer market, these brands are doing much more than simply supplying retailers with quality sleep products - they are offering their retail partners more meaningful support at every stage of the buying process.
Blu Sleep is helping retailers connect to younger consumers, thanks to its sleek new wellness-oriented branding. As part of its of-the-moment rebrand, the company has developed creative new pillow packaging that not only catches the eye of shoppers - but also provides key solutions to common issues related to storing, selling and shipping pillows. Each Blu Sleep pillow is now sealed within an aluminum foil bag that is coated in a glossy, textured blue color. By sealing each pillow at the factory, this new packaging protects the product from any foreign germs or bacteria - and the airtight seal ensures that there is no odor transfer onto the pillow. Additionally, the compressed design saves space for both storing and shipping. To restore the pillow to its full size, retailers and consumers simply peel back the “freshness label” found on the back of the bag, which allows it to stand upright. Lightweight and modern looking, this new packaging delivers a unique visual appeal to the retail space - drawing the attention of consumers immediately. Beyond the striking look and feel of its product line-up, Blu Sleep is also working to expand its own digital marketing capabilities. By offering its retail partners more comprehensive support, including geo-targeted social media content and digital ads, the company aims to help retailers boost their in-store traffic.
There are few companies working as hard to reinvent the in-store shopping experience than Bedgear. Already well-known for its dynamic brand store build-outs, the company recently unveiled new 360 degree display experience. With interactive display technology integrated directly into the racking system, this new program provides product guidance and curated recommendations to the shopper. Aiming to incorporate the perceived convenience of online shopping into a brick-and-mortar setting, Bedgear's retail build-outs are designed to help consumers more successfully navigate all the different product options available to them. In the coming weeks, the company’s new M3 mattress collection will start to roll out in retail stores - and will be supported through truly experiential POP materials. From mattress pods to touch-screen display monitors, each element of the in-store marketing program works together to create a one-of-a-kind retail experience that prioritizes personalization, education and engagement. While this level of innovation can seem daunting to some retailers, Bedgear makes it easy for retailers to incorporate its in-store systems into their showrooms through its comprehensive RSA training program. Believing that engaged sales reps will encourage greater customer engagement, the company has been bolstering its Learning & Development team to provide greater support to its retail partners. Bedgear Sleep Coaches provide routine training to reinforce product knowledge; the company even supplied one retail partner with a permanent employee to help man its brand store. To better understand what works best at retail, the company operates its own retail space in Long Island—deemed the “Bedgear Laboratory”—that serves as a testing ground for all of its marketing resources. By collecting data from this unique space, Bedgear is able to consistently optimize its POP - and ensure that it is providing its partners with the most successful retail experience.
Occupying a unique space in the mattress marketplace, Brooklyn Bedding offers a robust wholesale program, owns and operates its own branded brick-and-mortar stores in Arizona and sells its products on its own website as well as through major ecommerce platforms. These distribution channels provide the company with valuable information about today’s consumers: how they want to shop and what they are looking for in their bedding. As such, Brooklyn Bedding is able to offer its retail partners more successful and strategic mattress programs. The company’s comprehensive private labeling program is designed to help retailers tap into the ecommerce market and drive more consumers in-store. By offering a limited, branded line-up on their website, retailers can help capture the part of the consumer demographic that is starting their mattress shopping with online research. Because all of Brooklyn Bedding’s mattresses are roll-packed, these private label products can be easily shipped directly to the consumer. For consumers who are looking for more product options, online offerings can serve as a starting point as the retail website directs them to the brick-and-mortar locations where they will find a more comprehensive selection. Brooklyn Bedding is further building upon its private labeling program with the six new mattress models that debuted at the summer market. With each new offering delivering a niche comfort solution—from Celliant covers to proprietary cooling technology to zoned support for side sleepers to plus size durability and more—Brooklyn Bedding has developed a comprehensive portfolio of beds that is sure to connect with consumers.
With a design inspired by the sporting goods sector, Protect-A-Bed’s racking and display system delivers a new kind of shopping experience. By combining showcase spaces, shelving and hanging racks, the system displays a wide range of packaged and unpackaged products in an attractive way - while also allowing consumers to touch and feel the items. Giving consumers the chance to interact with the product line as they shop has been shown to help increase sales and leads to more stepped-up purchases. The modular design of the system makes it easy for retailers of all sizes to incorporate it into their stores. First introduced at the winter market, Protect-A-Bed’s new racking system has already been deployed in 400 retail stores, helping boost attachment rates and increase the sales of full sleep systems. At the summer market, the company also unveiled a new Augmented Reality (AR) app developed specifically for retailers. While the mattress industry has struggled to incorporate AR technology in a meaningful way, this new app provides a clear solution for the market - allowing retailers to more accurately visualize how display units will fit into their showrooms.
The mattress industry has long been oriented around key promotional holidays: Memorial Day, Fourth Of July, Labor Day, Presidents Day. Rather than fighting back against this tried and true tradition, Therapedic International decided to create a new mattress line that will complement and enhance this practice. The company’s new American Glory collection features patriotic red, white and blue styling - and even touts a star-shaped pattern in its top cover. Coupled with americana-themed signage, this collection is an ideal opportunity for retailers seeking a special edition promotional offering. Understanding that consumers are looking for more than just clever styling, Therapedic has equipped the collection with quality components and meaningful features. In addition to Quantum Perimeter Edge units and layers of high-performance Floating Foam, each mattress in the line-up was designed to appeal to today’s increasingly connected world with USB ports in the bed’s foundation. By combining strategic branding and distinct features, Therapedic has created a fresh and dynamic selling proposition for retailers.
High-End, Apparel-Inspired Mattress Styling
While the summer market may have been light on new technological innovation, one of the most immediately noticeable trends came on the exterior of mattresses. Throughout the show, we saw a number of upgraded collections all along the price spectrum sporting sleek fashion-inspired fabrics and ticking. Ultimately, the main purpose of designing a stylish mattress cover is to simply catch the consumer’s eye in the store — at the end of the day, the ticking is going to be covered by blankets, sheets and a protector in the consumer’s home. However, as the mattress marketplace continues to grow more crowded, it’s increasingly important for both manufacturers and retailers to find new ways to make offerings stand out on the showroom floor. The key is finding the right balance between intriguing and flashy. When the ticking is too bold, it can be off-putting to some shoppers, many of whom have been conditioned by years of tradition to expect a mattress to be little more than a white rectangle. But by taking cues from high-end apparel, many manufacturers created visual aesthetics that are both familiar and compelling. With subtle patterns, cool color palettes and distinct comfort components, these mattress collections blend style and substance together to visually communicate luxury.
When Kingsdown merged with its Canadian counterpart earlier this year, the company not only expanded its manufacturing capabilities but also upgraded its design flexibility as well. Over the past few years, Kingsdown has been steadily working to expand its product portfolio to include offerings across all categories and price points: from entry-level to luxury, from innerspring to hybrid to all-specialty foams and more. Following the merger, the company is now focused on further differentiating its offerings from others in the market through more unique, eye-catching styling choices. Kingsdown’s new design process begins with six months of market research on the latest apparel designs. It then takes these cues from the fashion industry and incorporates them into custom-made, proprietary ticking - rather than simply picking cover fabrics off the rack. In addition to stepping up its cover styling, the company has also begun designing and manufacturing its own top-of-bed materials. This new approach to styling was on display at the summer market with the introduction of its upgraded Passions collection. Kingsdown’s entry-level line-up now sports a menswear-inspired ticking, including polka dot and paisley detailing. With top-of-bed materials that coordinate with the border fabrics, the company is delivering a refreshing value-add to its already popular line-up.
A longtime leader of the competitively priced ecommerce category, Classic Brands debuted a new high-class look for its latest mattress introduction. Named for the iconic London street revered for its for bespoke menswear tailoring, the company’s new Savile Row collection touts fashion-forward cover fabrics that evoke classic men’s suits. The collection includes two distinct mattress lines, each with its own color scheme and ticking aesthetic. Across both lines, the mattresses are dressed in cover fabrics enhanced with single-needle embroidery elements, blending deep blue and grey hues. The overall effect is a sleek, detail-oriented look that will appeal to consumers of all ages and genders. Made from layers of encased coils, high-quality memory foam, latex and gel, these advanced mattresses can retail above the $1,000 price point - while still maintaining the ability to be boxed and shipped to the consumer via UPS or Fedex. By combining classic styling with roll-pack capabilities, the Savile Row collection is a stand-out, high-margin sales opportunity.
When Eclipse International first set out to develop Velika, The Great Bed, the company knew it was looking to create a luxury bedding program designed specifically for women. As research showed that women were more likely to sleep on their sides, the company created a supremely comfortable two-sided mattress engineered to provide necessary pressure relieving support and minimize motion transfer. Aiming to further enhance that functionality with a clear sense of style, Eclipse turned to iconic fashion brands for inspiration when designing the mattress ticking. Dressed in a distinctive herringbone wool knit cover, the Velika visually communicates its “affordable luxury” positioning—creating a perception of quality at the very first glance. That impression is then backed by sumptuous high-end components, including Pima cotton and Talalay latex. Following the retail success of the Velika, Eclipse decided to broaden the collection to include a new bed-in-a-box model. Unveiled at the summer market, the Laska by Velika touts a similarly upscale look at a more approachable price category - elevating the boxed bed category to a whole new level.
Doing The Right Thing
Over the past several years, we’ve been inspired by the many bedding brands that have committed to doing good in the world. At the summer market, corporate responsibility was a major point of conversation throughout the showrooms we visited. Numerous manufacturers introduced new sustainable and locally sourced products, programs that aim to help solve problems in local and global communities – while many company CEOs and leaders also shared their idealistic corporate philosophies. We hope doing the right thing is a trend that never goes out of style.
Following the launch of the Malouf Foundation’s Annual Forging Freedom event and newly defined focus on preventing human trafficking at the winter Las Vegas Market, we were thrilled to see the next step in the brand’s efforts at summer market. During the market, Malouf introduced OnWatch: a unique training program meant to provide RSA’s with the tools they need to notice key indicators of human trafficking – and what to do if they witness them in their own communities. In addition to launching this valuable resource, the brand also introduced its Triple Layer Down Pillow. Designed with consumer feedback in mind, the layered pillow offers a natural story and the three layers help prevent common complaints people have with traditional down products like excessive flattening and shifting. Retailing at $129, the pillow also has a charitable hook: $5 of every sale is donated to the Malouf Foundation to support the brand’s anti-sex trafficking work. Though Malouf has woven social consciousness into the fabric of its brand from the very beginning, the company has made especially strong commitments to corporate responsibility in the past two years.
A fourth-generation family-owned and operated brand, Diamond Mattress touts a rich history and deeply rooted values. Guided by the purpose of leaving a positive legacy in the world, Diamond’s leaders developed ICARE, a program that represents for the core beliefs of the brand: Integrity, Customer Service, Accountability, Responsiveness and Engagement. While the pneumonic is new, Diamond has stood for these principles for many years and its new president, Shaun Pennington, is eager to underscore their importance throughout the company. In addition to caring deeply for employees and fostering a strong moral code, the brand also adheres to sustainable manufacturing processes and utilizes environmentally-friendly components to conserve natural resources. Finally, the brand has supported a number of charities and important causes in the past few years, including contributing to Corazon de Vida, a non-profit supporting orphaned children in Baja, Mexico, donated to Hunger Fighters Food Drive and teamed up with Living Spaces to support Houston residents after Hurricane Harvey.
Known for its slogan, “Sleep Fuels Everything,” BEDGEAR is a brand focused on creating products that help consumers achieve their best sleep so they can perform even more successfully during the day. But this isn’t the only philosophy the brand espouses. In addition to the company’s commitment to creating wellness-enhancing sleep products, BEDGEAR’s CEO, Eugene Aletto, also strives to nurture a culture of tolerance within his company. With a primarily female staff representing numerous religions and backgrounds, the brand values the diversity of perspectives its employees bring to the table. Additionally, BEDGEAR consciously avoids the combative language of boxed-bed brands that aim to “disrupt” the industry. Instead, Aletto positions the brand as an “additive” element to the industry. BEDGEAR, as he explains, is a company eager to complement the bedding and mattress conversation with its innovative sleep products and forward-thinking approach to retail.
Organic And Natural Sleep Product Manufacturers
While many bedding manufacturers make efforts to use eco-friendly, locally sourced components and avoid using harsh chemicals, there are some brands that have dedicated their entire businesses to developing and manufacturing certified organic and natural products. Companies like Naturepedic, Organic Mattresses Incorporated (OMI) and others were featured in our summer Product Focus for their dedication to delivering safe, environmentally-conscious sleep. With an emphasis on products for children and families, Naturepedic provides pillows, protectors, mattresses and other items that allow consumers to create healthful sleep environments while also financially contributing to organizations it believes in. Another category leader, OMI is family-owned and operated; its products are made in the US in an “eco-factory” that is specifically focused on energy efficiency and maintaining a pure environment.
Read about more products within the organic and natural sleep category in our summer Product Focus feature.
The Surprise Retail Success Of The Mid-Luxury Category
Though most of the new category “disruptors” have primarily focused on making mattresses more affordable, traditional retailers are actually seeing an uptick in sales for higher-end collections. While this impression is purely anecdotal, we did hear from a number of manufacturers who had been taken aback by the number of consumers that are valuing the quality delivered by luxury products - and start-ups may be underestimating retailers’ ability to sell higher ticket items. The brands highlighted below saw increased sales among mid-price attainable luxury beds.
Kingsdown’s Vintage Collection features high-quality mattresses that employ twenty pounds of natural fibers to create a multi-layer sleep surface that cradles the body and regulates temperature. Though the collection is not new, the company noted that sales for the line-up are on the rise in traditional mattress retail chains. The success of this line-up among consumers is additionally beneficial for retailers, as it delivers significant margins. For the summer market, Kingsdown made slight tweaks to certain models within the collection, giving them a more sophisticated look with a larger tape edge inspired by luxe French sofas.
Introducing its affordable luxury model, Velika, at winter market, Eclipse continued promotion of the new, side-sleeper focused mattress at the summer Las Vegas Market and due to its popularity, introduced its counterpart, Laska by Velika. What sets Eclipse’s two latest high-end mattress programs apart are not only the lush details, emphasis on sustainability and use of natural materials, but the fact that Eclipse is a brand pioneering the idea of shipping luxurious mattresses in a box. So far, Velika is selling very well at retail and with surprising partners. The brand reports that a retailer in a more blue collar area was able to sell many of the premium beds right away. Giving the perception of quality with its aesthetics, the European style bed delivers on its promise of opulence. With its upholstered foundation, tufting detail and both a double sided mattress and topper, the “great” bed truly lives up to its name. The Velika collection is priced to retail between $1,499 and $3,199 in queen-size and the new Laska bed retails at $2,999 in queen with a platform unit.
Launching its latest Sleepmaker Harmony Collection, Marshall Mattress now offers a foam-free bed created with a distinct consumer set in mind, those with allergies and sensitivities, as well as those avoiding foam mattresses out of personal preference. Another brand very much known for the superior caliber of its products, Marshall also provides numerous options below the $5,000 retail price-point that maintain high levels of quality and striking styling. All Marshall Mattress products are handcrafted without foam encasement or gels and use the best of natural and new manmade materials in their manufacturing to deliver a safe and sumptuous night's sleep.
While Shifman Mattresses has built its reputation around its high-end product portfolio, the brand offers a variety of mattresses that fit into the mid-luxury segment without sacrificing quality. At the summer market, Shifman showcased two of its newest introductions to this category: the nine-bed American Heritage Collection (starting at $1,299 in queen) and its Modern Comfort Collection. Both collections are compatible with adjustable bases and use natural cotton to provide a safe and comfortable sleeping experience. Focused on debunking the myth that Shifman is strictly a premium price-point brand, the company offers a number of beds at more approachable costs for retail partners nationwide.
With its new Four Seasons collection quickly catching up with the growth and popularity of its Chattam & Wells collection, Spring Air introduced a few tweaks to the two-sided bed to help retailers create an easy step up story for consumers. By showing a version of the bed with only the cooling features, retailers can easily upgrade consumers to the version with both warming and cooling for an additional $300. While Four Seasons continues to gain traction at retail, the company’s Chattam & Wells brand is seeing success as well. With all of the models introduced at the winter market already secured as exclusive to Mattress Firm, Spring Air is in the process of developing new mattresses within the collection that will be available to other retailers nationwide. The continued sales success of this luxurious line-up is further adding to the excitement and recognition surrounding the category.
The Adjustable Opportunity
While growth within the power and adjustable base sector may feel like old news to many in the bedding industry, market research has shown that many consumers are still not even being shown power bases in the retail setting. Despite this lack of attention, sales of adjustable bases are still on the rise, implying that greater opportunities still remain in the category. Manufacturers and retailers are attempting to raise awareness of these valuable tools, through promotions and advertising, but the consensus is that there is still plenty of room to grow. With a number of brands debuting new adjustable offerings and many mattresses now designed to accommodate them, power bases were a hot topic at the summer market.
Utilizing a wellness and sleep hygiene story, Reverie strives to encourage the consumer to prioritize and invest in bettering their sleep quality. Focused on educating RSA’s about the adjustable opportunity, Reverie is positing the idea that power bases are a tremendous untapped profit potential for retailers. By prizing value and consultation over promotion, the brand equips its retail partners with knowledge that empowers them to actively discuss power-based products with their customers. In addition to working with retailers to position the adjustable base as a sleep essential, Reverie highlighted two divergent power base options at summer market: the R600 model at the very top end and the new OSO by Reverie program at the entry-level. With a full tilt downward option, high-performance adjustment and a stylish aesthetic, the R600 is the brand’s pinnacle base. Targeting the millennial shopper, the new OSO line of bases offers entry level pricing options starting at $399 as well as easy shipping.
Ergomotion is innovating in the adjustable base category with its proprietary Extension Deck Technology. This advanced innovation moves with the body so that as the head of the base goes up, the area under the abdomen extends, creating a more comfortable bed shape that eliminates the feeling of being crunched in the middle and minimizes any pinching of the mattress. At the summer market, the company spotlighted this technology as part of its newly updated Contour Pure Slim, which features a thinner 4.5-inch profile. With this slimmer model, Ergomotion makes both stocking and shipping adjustable bases simpler - the lightweight base saves on shipping costs by enabling retailers to fit more bases in each container. The brand is also cognizant of the need for an accessible entry-level option for first-time power base customers. As a result, Ergomotion also offers a zero clearance, UPS-able base that delivers upper body motion and starts at just $499.
Making its first foray into the category, King Koil debuted a three-model adjustable base program at the summer market. Designed to complement its line of mattresses, the new bases offer retailers a total sleep system. With an endorsement from the International Chiropractors Association (ICA), King Koil’s adjustable base collection is priced to retail from $1,299 to $1,999 in queen and is designed with a good-better-best story. Delivering a mix of technologies that includes Bluetooth connectivity that activates the base motions through a smart device app, USB charging ports, dual massage and more, the new bases deliver a valuable selling proposition to the tech savvy shopper.
Offering optional elevation kits for each product, Glideaway carries a robust portfolio of power-bases. Though the brand is far from new to the category, its bases are incredibly versatile and each model delivers a unique set of features and benefits. Designed to fit within most standard bedroom sets, the bases are energy efficient and possess varying degrees of safety features. From the premium Odessa and Vesta models to the entry-level Ecoflex and Freestyle models, Glideaway offers bases at all price-points for a wide-range of shoppers.