The mattress industry has always been intrinsically linked to health and wellness. Above all else, the true purpose of a mattress is to facilitate quality sleep—and quality sleep is an essential part of maintaining physical, mental and emotional health. But that essential purpose has too often been obscured by a number of other sales factors. The bedding market exists at the cross-section of the furniture category, which means craftsmanship and style weigh heavily into purchasing decisions. More recently, we’ve also seen the category veer into a more “fast-fashion” angle; where low prices and convenience take priority above all else. While all of these selling points still connect with specific audiences, there is evidence that a health and wellness focused approach is increasingly more valuable among today’s consumers.
While the concept of wellness may seem a little flimsy to some people, it actually carries quite a lot of purchasing power behind it. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the “Global Wellness Economy” hit $4.2 trillion in 2017. From 2015-2017, it grew 6.4% annually—which was nearly twice as fast as global economic growth (3.6%). But that’s not all. In Q1 of 2019 alone, there are already nearly 45,000 “mobile health apps” available on Apple’s App Store—and that market is expected to grow to almost $60 billion by 2020.
But what is wellness? It encompasses a wide variety of different ideologies, lifestyles, goals and product types—many of which are related to sleep. According to the Global Wellness Institute, one of the most popular wellness categories is “Personal Care, Beauty & Anti-Aging,” which saw $1,083 billion in sales in 2017. Other top categories included: Healthy Eating, Nutrition & Weight Loss ($702 billion), Fitness & Mind-Body ($595 billion) and Preventative & Personalized Medicine and Public Health ($575 billion).
This increase in wellness spending is meaningful in that it reflects what today’s consumers are really looking for on an emotional level. When a shopper can truly see how a product can positively impact their life, it doesn’t feel quite as irrational to spend a little bit more, to try something new or invest in a higher quality option. It’s not a radical idea, of course, that people are willing to spend their money on products that promise to make them look, feel and perform better. But the particular kind of “wellness” angle is still relatively novel—and, today, carries with it a certain kind of aspirational quality.
In recent years, many wellness-promoting practices have gone from being the bizarro habits of crunch-granola hippies—to becoming synonymous with the luxurious lifestyles of the rich and famous. Wealthy tech tycoons like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey has recently been very vocal about his newfound love of fasting and meditation. Beyonce is doing her part by promoting her switch to a vegan diet. And of course, Gwyneth Paltrow is still making headlines selling thousands of dollars worth of crystals and CBD oils and yoga mats through her Goop empire. And those are just some of the big names! A quick perusal of Instagram will reveal a whole eco-system of micro-influencers touting their own personal wellness journeys.
Though it may be aspirational, there is no need for basic wellness to be seen as complicated or financially unattainable. In fact, that is where sleep comes in. Sleep is the essential backdrop for most wellness goals. It can help protect against health problems, promote mental clarity—and deliver that indelible glow most often spotted on someone who has just back from a rejuvenating weekend retreat. Now a new mattress won’t guarantee such benefits over night—nor will it be the magical cure-all to things like brain fog, anxiety, stomach bloat or any other pesky ailments—but it can be one major piece of the overall wellness puzzle. When you invest in a good quality mattress, you are creating a solid baseline from which you can more easily foster greater healing and happiness.
As the wellness trend continues to grow, mattress and bedding companies definitely have a leg up. While many popular brands are now scrambling to figure out how to get in on the action by integrating wellness-oriented messaging into seemingly unrelated positioning (beer companies sponsoring exercise festivals, anyone?)—the sleep industry has been selling a wellness product all along. Now all you have to do is make sure your customers understand that.
Different ways bedding retailers can promote their wellness connection:
> Make sure your RSAs are equipped with information about sleep health and all its diverse benefits. If they’re comfortable with this knowledge, they can more easily share it with prospective buyers.
> Share wellness-oriented messaging and content with your customers on social media and in traditional marketing pieces. Don’t abandon product details or pricing entirely, but simply couple it with some additional info they can return to even after the sale is made.
> Explore new products and categories that you can integrate into your showrooms. Wellness is holistic, so try to examine your assortment from all different angles and don’t be afraid to think outside the box with aromatherapy products, meditation apps, herbal teas, yoga equipment, etc.
> Team up with other wellness-oriented brands or stores. This is a good way to dip a toe into the wellness market, without fully overhauling your approach. Look into different athletic events or health-based conventions for sponsorship opportunities. Or start smaller: open up your retail space as a place where local experts can host classes. Aligning yourself with certain types of people, organizations and practices can have a big impact on how your customers perceive your brand.
Interested in learning more about health and wellness? Check out the newest episode of the Sleep Retailer Podcast! We sit down with Shaun Pennington, president of Diamond Mattress, to discuss how his company is bringing this health and wellness message to the retail level. Listen now.
This article originally appeared in Sleep Retailer eNews on May 23, 2019.
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