As we drove up to the World Market Center this past week, we were struck by an interesting detail: more than half of the big outdoor banners are now mattress brands. Then walking through the courtyard to the market, we spotted an even wider array of bedding companies—some familiar names and even a few new faces. We had to remind ourselves this was a summer market! Could it be that we’ve finally come to the end of the industry’s recession-based austerity?
Of course, despite this increase in visibility, the summer market is always a bit quieter when it comes to new product introductions. This year was no different—but there did seem to be a strategic angle behind it this time around. With a number of soft launches, sneak peeks and “concept beds” in the showrooms, there was a growing sense that controlled introductions are the way to go these days. Many companies spoke to the benefits of unveiling the right products at the right time—rather than hurrying out a new collection four times a year just because.
All of this felt like part of a larger shift that’s currently taking place. The slower pace allowed for a number of interesting conversations on longterm planning and goals—about how the younger generation is starting to rethink the ways the industry has approached bedding design, manufacturing and sales. We saw a much greater focus on engaging the millennial consumer, with many making serious investments in savvy social marketing and high-tech products. A number of manufacturers were also touting the successes of new non-traditional and e-commerce distribution channels, bolstered by an uptick in white-glove and drop shipment delivery options for all retailers. Whether this is the impact of a growing online mattress market or the natural progression of a changing retail world, the bedding industry appears to be amidst a major evolution.
Here are the top trends we saw at market:
After years of market consolidation, closings and saturation, many bedding manufacturers are making strategic decisions to help their retail partners increase their sales. Whether tapping into existing consumer recognition with smart brand partnerships, or providing straight-forward POP materials that are as informative as they are eye-catching—manufacturers are helping retailers better connect with consumers by simplifying the sales process in a variety of different ways.
Kingsdown’s new Downton Abbey collection incorporates the elegant look and feel of the popular TV show into a premium mattress line-up, allowing retailers to appeal to a well-established consumer audience.
Boyd Specialty Sleep unveiled unique new latex- and air-based mattress offerings under the highly-recognizable Thomasville name, a strategic partnership that has proven to resonate with consumers who are looking for the level of quality for which the brand is known.
Therapedic International has not only leveraged the consumer recognition of the iconic Tommy Bahama and Kathy Ireland names, but has also revived its popular Medicoil brand with the new HD Collection.
Bedgear simplifies the process of selling its advanced performance pillows with its new Pillow iD point-of-purchase materials and displays, which include a handy graph to help customers find their perfect model.
Restonic unveiled its new interactive Restonic Reality POP platform, which delivers customized information to maintain consistent marketing message between RSAs and consumers.
As we got a peek at a number of new marketing and advertising campaigns, we noticed that something was missing: beds. Many companies are veering away from standard dressed-mattress glamour shots or lists of features in favor of emotional marketing—highlighting, rather, a specific lifestyle or daytime benefit.
Glideaway is targeting a more active consumer with its new Sleepharmony Revolution Tech Pillows, which is accompanied by bright in-store marketing that evokes the adventurous lifestyle made possible by the product's rejuvenating properties.
Pure LatexBLISS is focusing on a more serene kind of lifestyle imagery with a series of marketing materials that feature relaxing, family-oriented photos in a variety of locales--giving the sense that comfort can be extended throughout all aspects of life.
Simmons continues to shift the focus from night to day with its successful "Get Your Beautyrest" advertising campaign, which highlights how energizing and exciting it can be to get a good night's rest in clever TV and digital spots.
Spring Air eschewed images completely in its new "Trending" campaign, which aims to target millennial consumers with its bold, social-media-inspired text.
While major mattress collection introductions are limited this season, the summer market is rife with innovative new accessories. These unique products serve as valuable add-ons for retailers, increasing tickets during a time when the industry as a whole is slow.
Reverie is further enhancing its personalized sleep options with new customizable pillows and high-tech linens lines, all of which are designed especially for the adjustable bed user.
Malouf has expanded its Sleep Tite product family with three new protectors, offering a comprehensive range of advanced protective technologies and features including the laboratory certified H2Pro membrane, and moisture wicking Tencel fabric with Omniphase phase change technology.
Blu Sleep is committed to providing a clean, comfortable night sleep with its new memory foam Purity Pillow, which offers advanced breathable comfort and is made from a unique, fully-washable memory foam.
Naturepedic’s new Sculpted Organic Latex Pillow is soft to the touch and resilient, providing durable, long-lasting support unlike any other latex pillow on the market.
Research continues to prove that temperature is a major factor in sleep health—and consumer awareness is really beginning to grow. Thankfully, there are plenty of new mattresses and accessories that tout a wide variety of different cooling and temperature regulating features.
Thomashilfen’s Thevo Therapy Mattress is made with a unique interlocking, vented foam system that works to maximize airflow and remove excess heat in order to better maintain a comfortable sleep temperature throughout the night.
PureCare has expanded its successful Elements sheet collection with the addition of the new Glacies (meaning “of the ice”) premium sheet line, which features FRIO Rapid Cooling Fibers and plush Tencel to offer superior cooling properties.
Viscosoft's Cold-Wire Octagon mattress protector incorporates high performance "cooling" yarns into knitted Jacquard polyester to offer advanced temperature and moisture management.
Englander has revamped its hybrid Lifestyle Collection to incorporate a new Thermo-Gel finish, enhancing the cooling properties of the gel-visco foam or gel-infused latex support layers.
Fashion Bed Group's new Aere Gel Memory Foam Pillow enhances the feel of traditional memory foam with a breathable layer of surface-infused cooling gel.
The mattress buying process has changed over the years, with most consumers dedicating some serious at-home research before they ever even step in a showroom. Today, anyone can debunk false marketing claims with the click of a button—which means it’s becoming more and more vital for manufacturers to substantiate their promises and benefits. As such, many companies have incorporated a wealth of research-, science- and medical-based information into their products and marketing.
Customatic has partnered with ICON Health & Fitness Corp. to develop the new iFit System, which combines premium comfort and support materials with high-tech sensors that scan the body during sleep to provide users with valuable health information.
OMI's new high-end OrganicPedic Earth line offers a luxurious sleep experience with premium materials that are backed by stringent organic certifications to guarantee superior levels of purity.
The Specialty Sleep Association's Bedfax program works with participating retailers and manufacturers to provide consumers with important information about what is inside the mattresses they're looking to buy--outlining pertinent details about their materials, processes and certifications in an easy-to-read label.
Talalay Global developed an innovative copper-infused Talalay latex that works to provide advanced relief from arthritis, bursitis and rheumatism.
Colonial LLC helps its retailers sell more beds by developing customizable marketing materials that are not only unique to each client, but also backed by comprehensive, third-party research studies about how consumers shop for mattresses.
For more information, visit Kingsdown.com, BoydSpecialtySleep.com, Therapedic.com, Bedgear.com, Restonic.com, Glideaway.com, PureLatexBLISS.com, Simmons.com, SpringAir.com, Reverie.com, Maloufsleep.com, BluSleepProducts.com, Naturepedic.com, Thomashilfen.us, PureCare.com, Viscosoft.com, Englander.com, FashionBedGroup.com, CustomaticBeds.com, OMImattress.com, SleepInformation.org, Bedfax.org, TalalayGlobal.com, Colonialllc.com.