Over the past few years, we’ve watched as the High Point Market has slowly transformed into a niche event within the bedding industry. More than ever before, the spring market felt fully defined in its new role: a place for regional mattress players, accessories manufacturers and those who target furniture-oriented retail stores. As a whole, High Point has become a more conversation-driven market: one where quality takes priority over quantity. With the pace of traffic subdued, manufacturers have the time and space to hold longer, more productive meetings with retail partners. We spoke to a number of very upbeat bedding companies, who see High Point as a valuable opportunity to dive deeper into new business discussions.
From a product stand-point, this market was proof that the age of flash-in-the-pan bedding trends may be coming to a close. We’ve seen a much more strategic approach to collection introductions as of late. Rather than rushing to adopt the latest material or newest technology, manufacturers are focused on creating thoughtful product assortments that offer more meaningful sales solutions. Additionally, we’re seeing more brands confidently reaffirm their commitment to brick-and-mortar retailers by crafting products and programs that better support their changing needs. At a time when traditional retail continues to face real challenges, that dedication is more important than ever before.
Here are the top trends we saw at the spring High Point Market.
COMPETING WITH THE ONLINE-ONLY MARKET
As the conversation around the retail industry struggles continues, one thing is clear: e-commerce sales are growing at a staggering rate. Within the mattress segment, some have been quick to place blame for their dwindling in-store sales on the buzz-worthy direct-to-consumer disruptors—but that’s only one piece of the larger puzzle. In fact, a greater portion of the sales are coming from the vast array of lesser-known brands sold online at an even lower price point. This trend has helped drive down pricing across the board, prompting many major mattress manufacturers to reassess their own product portfolios. Today, savvy bed makers are bolstering their offerings with more competitively-priced options: mattresses that can be sold within the $599 to $1,000 price point. The goal is to give traditional retailers a new advantage by offering more unique mattresses at price points that match their online-only counterparts. Whether reinforcing these promotional products with innovative materials, higher-quality features or more choice when it comes to comfort and support, these companies are committed to helping retailers remain competitive within today’s marketplace.
Classic Brands is shaking up the latex bedding market with its new three-bed Urban Loft Balance Collection. Made from Talalay Latex, this new line is designed to deliver premium comfort and support at a price point that can compete with online sellers. Long believed to be the highest quality latex option, Talalay has previously been exclusively sold at a premium price point. With the new Urban Loft Balance Collection, Classic Brands is making the material more attainable—allowing a wider range of consumers to access Talalay’s unique benefits. In addition to creating a pressure-relieving sleep surface, the naturally buoyant latex offers advanced temperature management without the addition of harmful toxins. When it came to sourcing the material, Classic Brands was strategic—searching across the globe to find a supplier that met its exact standards in terms of quality and price. By purchasing the product at a high volume, the company is able to offer the premium material at a more competitive price point. With three 10-inch beds available in firm, plush or ultra-plush designs, the Urban Loft Balance Collection offers a greater variety of comfort options. By delivering higher-quality materials and tangible benefits at a promotional price, Classic Brands is helping retailers compete with the online brands that are peddling low-cost options.
Continuing its unwavering support of brick-and-mortar retailers, Gold Bond rolled out a new merchandising strategy that is aimed at helping local stores protect themselves against the rising tide of online-only sellers. This new program includes a comprehensive assortment of high-quality, Made-In-The-USA mattresses within the $600 to $1,000 price point. Frustrated by the number of poor quality bedding options on the market, Gold Bond is dedicated to crafting high-quality mattresses that provide real benefits—no matter the price point. Ranging from $599 to $799 at retail, the company’s S-Series line-up utilizes an open-cell structure to create a cooler, dryer more comfortable sleep environment. For retailers looking for a more traditional option, Gold Bond’s Chelsea Collection offers a wide variety of comfort preferences within a two-sided design at a price point that ranges from $499 to $799. In addition to offering a comprehensive portfolio of well-made mattresses, the company is also providing comprehensive marketing support for retailers looking to enhance the shopping experience for their customers. By combining American-made manufacturing, quality materials and approachable price points, Gold Bond is delivering vital market differentiation to brick-and-mortar retailers.
Therapedic continued to make music with its Bravura Collection at the spring High Point Market, following the success of its debut last year. This comprehensive line-up features a wide range of mattress options organized within three distinct “movements,” all of which tout an overarching music-inspired branding. In addition to higher-end super-hybrid and specialty lines, the Bravura opens with an eye-catching promotional collection that ranges in retail price from $599 to $1,099. Designed to stand out from other velocity-priced mattress options, the Bravura promotional line features the same unique support system as the two higher-end lines. Instead of a traditional foam encasement, this collection features a pocketed coil construction and a steel perimeter edge. This unit uses dense, heavier-gauge coils around the perimeter to give the mattress a stronger, more durable edge that maintains a more uniform sleep surface. In addition to this advanced support system, the promotional line also features whimsical, musically-inspired top-of-bed styling that coordinates with the higher-end mattress models. By positioning this competitively-priced line within a larger overall branding strategy, Therapedic has created a cohesive step-up opportunity—providing a more approachable entry-point that can guide consumers to the brand’s specialty options. With choice of comfort, advanced support and stylish ticking, the Bravura promotional line is a high-quality alternative to low-cost online mattresses.
For retailers looking to further differentiate themselves at the entry-level price point, Reverie has developed a number of valuable add-on opportunities that can enhance a low-cost sale. The company’s promotionally-priced power bases allow consumers to upgrade their purchase to a total advanced sleep system for less than the price of many individual mattresses. The Reverie 1M Flat Massage Foundation is a unique way for retailers to introduce their customers to the power base concept. While it doesn’t offer traditional adjustability, this flat foundation features a number of exciting power elements like Bluetooth connectivity and under-bed lighting. Dual-frequency massage motors offers fully body massage with 10 different intensity levels, delivering true relaxation and improving circulation. Additionally, Reverie also offers the competitively-priced 2H Adjustable Foundation. This power base comes with head-up, head-down and flat adjustability that can be controlled via an ergonomic remote. The whisper-quiet lift system helps maintain a more relaxing sleep environment, while the two retainer bars keeps the mattress secure on the base. Both power foundations are stylishly dressed with gray upholstery, creating a clean, modern look that complements any bedroom furniture. With a price tag that hovers around $699, these economically-priced power bases not only help retailers compete with low-cost sellers—but elevate consumers’ expectations of what a mattress can do.
BEDS, HEADBOARDS AND FRAMES
As the importance of sleep continues to gain visibility, consumers are focusing more attention – and dollars – on outfitting their sleeping spaces with products that create a tranquil sleeping environment. Just as crucial as the all-important mattress is what that mattress sits on. Manufacturers of beds, headboards and frames can assist these customers with establishing a specific look while also providing additional support for the mattress. Retailers who stock both mattresses and beds reap the benefits of being able to offer their customers one-stop shopping for a complete bedroom set.
Vispring is equally renowned for its mattresses handcrafted by skilled artisans as for its timeless, heirloom-quality bedroom accessories. Boasting a full range of made-to-order, upholstered divan bases and coordinating headboards, the British bed maker aims to service the discerning consumer who has the means to invest in a bed that is truly a work of art. While many of Vispring’s headboards reflect a more classic aesthetic, at the Spring High Point Market, the company released its new Carmina upholstered bed, designed to capture a younger customer. The clean lines and fresh presentation provide a more contemporary look while still complementing the company’s line of sumptuous mattresses. Designed in collaboration with French interior designer Terence Mesguich Jacquemin, the Carmina features a headboard and footboard with a subtle floating detail that contributes to the overall sophisticated and minimalistic appearance. The bed’s built-in spring system is shallower than Vispring’s traditional models, and sits lower to the ground, evoking a more modern feel. Finished off with sleek chrome legs, the Carmina can be upholstered in any of Vispring’s extensive Timeless and Local fabric collections.
For over 40 years, Wesley Allen has been handcrafting quality, eclectic iron furniture. And the company continues to search the globe for inspiration and innovation. At the spring market, Wesley Allen debuted its new Plantation bed, a metal sleigh bed inspired by historic, Southern plantation homes. Melding the historic spirit with the company’s metal artistry, the Plantation bed is adapted for today’s lifestyle, presenting a grand statement without taking up an abundance of floor space. Concurrently, the company also introduced the more contemporary Malina bed, fashioned from the company’s signature sheet metal and featuring a tall panel headboard accented with punch hole detailing around the edge. These two new pieces will join a comprehensive suite of beds, including Wesley Allen’s Lansing iron canopy bed, a 2016 Pinnacle Awards finalist.
Malouf’s Structures line of diverse metal bedframes offers convenience, support and durability in a range of prices. Augmenting this collection of sized, adjustable, universal and platform frames, Malouf recently introduced two stylish headboards: the Rectangle Diamond Tufted Headboard and the Scooped Square Tufted Headboard. Designed to easily install and work with most bed frames or bases, the two new headboards provide subtle elegance to any bedroom. Each headboard is available with linen-inspired fabric in a choice of two colors and eye-catching, geometric buttonless tufting. Priced at $524 in queen, Malouf’s new headboards nicely complement the company’s other accessory items, providing consumers with additional buying options.
Fashion Bed Group
Long associated with quality support, Fashion Bed Group’s expansive assortment of beds, frames and bases runs that gamut from utilitarian to traditional to contemporary, utilizing a variety of materials to provide fashion-forward pieces. For 2017, the company is rolling out several additions to its line-up, including its easy-ship, foldable Simple Life foundation; an upgraded version of its flagship S-Cape adjustable base and a MicroHook mattress retention system for its bases that provides a more streamlined look. Most recently, Fashion Bed Group introduced its groundbreaking PRESTO bed frame. Combining easy, quick adjustability with durable good looks, PRESTO brings a new level of sophisticated convenience with its understated, modern aesthetic. Priced to retail at $299 and engineered to last, PRESTO is constructed from sturdy tubular steel surrounded by styrene (ABS) plastic. The frame can support up to 2,000 pounds yet remains relatively lightweight at only 59 pounds total and packs into a single box. Retailers and consumers will be sure to love just how simple PRESTO is to stock, ship and move.
When it comes to high-end sleep products, today’s consumers are looking to invest in much more than just a good-looking bed. Shoppers increasingly expect their mattress to be not only well-made, but engineered to enhance their sleep experience. Nevertheless, many customers still place great value on craftsmanship and quality materials as well. For retailers looking to appeal to these more discerning consumers, this means stocking their showrooms with mattresses that strike the right balance between tradition and innovation. By blending old-world hand-craftsmanship with advanced technologies and modern trends, these high-end mattresses deliver superior comfort and support. Additionally, they communicate a higher level of quality and durability, which helps them further stand out on the retail floor.
As part of an aggressive new strategy that aims to expand its presence into new markets, Shifman Mattress Company unveiled two mattress lines at High Point. Building upon the company’s extensive portfolio of quality two-sided mattresses, the new Modern Comfort Collection features pocketed coil mattresses designed for adjustable bases and platforms beds—a first for the company. Shifman combined high-end features, such as natural cotton and hand-tufting, with flexible pocketed coil innersprings—bringing traditional craftsmanship to the growing adjustable trend. Additionally, the company introduced the American Heritage Collection: a nine-bed line-up that was designed to appeal to larger bedding retailers. With price points starting at $1,299, this collection makes premium materials available to a wider consumer base. By maintaining a high level of quality craftsmanship while updating key features and details, Shifman has developed a robust mattress portfolio that delivers greater product differentiation, higher average unit sales and increased profitability to retailers.
Kingsdown continues to maintain a long tradition of blending quality craftsmanship with cutting-edge sleep science technology with the debut of its expanded Vintage Collection at the spring High Point Market. Building upon the existing collection’s success, Kingsdown added two new Vintage Collection Elite designs. With the addition of these new models, the full collection now includes 11 unique options that range from $1,699 to $6,000 at retail. Based upon the wealth of data and information from the company’s Sleep To Live Institute, the line-up combines modern sleep science with high-end features to deliver superior support. The new Vintage Elite models are made with higher coil counts, more latex and hand-tufting for added comfort—while the eye-catching styling creates a high-end look. The mattresses feature crisp white fabric covers, inverted luxury seams and Kingsdown’s signature woven crown on the ticking. As the consumer demand for luxury sleep products and natural materials continues to rise, Kingsdown has created a comprehensive line-up that exceeds expectations.
THE FUTURE OF PILLOWS
While the mattress sets the foundation for a good night’s sleep, when all is said and done, it’s the accessories used on that mattress that can boost that sleep from good to great. Pillows in particular play an important role in setting the stage for a more rejuvenating night’s rest. And today’s pillow options are as individual as the people who sleep on them. An essential part of providing more meaningful sleep solutions, well-designed pillows work in concert with a mattress to enhance neck support and spinal alignment, boosting the restorative properties of sleep. For retailers, this means more than just upping your sales ticket—it can help guarantee greater customer satisfaction post-purchase.
The Pillow Bar
Showing for the first time at High Point, The Pillow Bar touted its “Breakfast in Bed” brand of down alternative pillows at the spring show—a collection that was created in response to retailer requests. Mirroring the company’s legacy down-filled line, “Breakfast in Bed” is available in all of the same sizes and unique, trademarked shapes that have made The Pillow Bar so well known. Perfect for retail stores, hospitality customers as well as corporate gifting, the down alternative collection is completely washable and covered in the same 300 thread count sateen that gives the down-filled options such a luxurious feel. And just like the down-filled versions, the “Breakfast in Bed” pillows include a washable protector featuring The Pillow Bar’s exclusive, custom embroidery. Adding a down alternative selection enables retailers to offer more choice at two unique price points, making such high quality pillows available to more customers.
PureCare has built its business on providing sleep solutions made from the highest quality materials. Of particular note is the company’s robust assortment of pillows. Most recently, PureCare introduced its Body Chemistry collection, which features Celliant, a unique mineral-based technical textile that has been clinically shown to increase blood flow, improve recovery time and help the body regulate its temperature. The seven-model collection includes multiple constructions with materials such as memory foam, down and latex. Two of the models – the SoftCell Comfy and SoftCell Latex pillows – are reversible, with one side providing a cushioned feel with the company’s exclusive designer down alternative and the other offering a more contoured, responsive surface with either memory foam or Talalay latex. The Body Chemistry line was designed to augment PureCare’s Sub-0º line of pillows that promote the company’s FRíO cooling technology for ultimate sleep-heat relief. These two technical lines, along with PureCare’s One, Plush and Kids pillow collections, create a varied and comprehensive suite of products that give retailers the opportunity to offer clear choices to consumers looking to solve a wider range of sleep problems.
Well-established as a provider of premium performance bedding accessories, Bedgear is constantly innovating both new products as well as creative ways to reach new customers. The company strives to lay a solid foundation for maximum recovery at night, offering a full roster of pillows featuring Bedgear’s exclusive technologies that promote exceptional airflow, advanced moisture-wicking and superior support. To assist consumers with navigating its expansive pillow line, Bedgear developed its interactive Pillow ID tool. By asking a series of questions regarding sleep style, body type and mattress, the program selects the pillows that best match each sleeper’s needs, resulting in a healthier, more comfortable night’s sleep. Bedgear believes that this science-driven approach to fitting people with the perfect pillow is paramount to maximum recovery. The company has endeavored to reach as many people as possible by forming partnerships with professional sports teams and designing unique in-store shopping experiences, all of which highlight Bedgear’s message of “Sleep Fuels Everything.”
REM-Fit’s newly introduced ZEEQ pillow is a testament to success resulting from unlikely channels. Co-creators Warrick Bell and Miguel Marrero launched the revolutionary pillow via the global crowdfunding site Kickstarter, an unusual decision within the bedding industry - but one that proved lucky. In just 16 hours, the pair secured more than 800% of their initial goal and gained valuable insight into the marketability of their product. Since its debut on Kickstarter, the ZEEQ pillow continues to acquire notoriety as a pillow that can do it all. Using sensors to detect motion and snoring volume, ZEEQ captures sleep data that its companion app analyzes to calculate a sleep score. The app can also track diet, exercise and other habits to determine how these variables influence a user’s sleep pattern. But ZEEQ goes even further, providing wireless music from a costumer’s preferred source with the option to set a sleep timer, as well as a smart alarm that intelligently wakes the user at the optimal time during the sleep cycle. When ZEEQ’s onboard microphone detects snoring, the pillow responds by gently vibrating to encourage the sleeper to change positions. But a pillow is really only as good as it is comfortable and REM-Fit made comfort a priority. The small, flexible electrical components are encased in ample layers of adjustable comfort fill which, in turn, is buffered by a comfort foam outer shell, all wrapped in a removable and washable Tencel cover that naturally inhibits bacteria. Seamlessly integrating technology and comfort, REM-Fit has engineered a unique and inventive product that tells a compelling story.