Q&A: 2016 Predictions

With new advanced technologies and digital platforms now available, mattress buyers have more choice than ever before. Given that the bedding marketplace is changing so rapidly, we’re curious about where you think the industry is headed this year. From the big consumer trends to the new retail sales challenges to the latest high-tech product innovation, what are your industry predictions for the year ahead?

Kingsdown-Kevin-DamewoodThe recent consolidation of retailers and manufacturers is looking like a strict play to lower commodity pricing. Those of us that have been in the industry for a while have seen this before. In fact, advertised prices of $248 queen size emulate the same strategy used in the early 1980s.

New technologies will gain much steam in an effort to attract millennials and to theoretically assist consumers looking to buy a mattress in making smarter buying decisions. Seventeen years ago, Kingsdown launched our diagnostic technology. Fast forward to current times, Kingsdown technology not only properly measures the consumer, it fits the consumer to the mattress that will offer them the best support. This provides optimal health benefits from and a better quality sleep.

Using diagnostics to fit people with mattresses also differentiates a retailer from the “simple and damaging commodity selling” mentioned above and helps the retailer be more profitable. And most importantly, the consumer gets a better bed.

Kingsdown understands that a fully functional diagnostic is based on people, process and product. We know how to fully integrate diagnostics into different retail cultures, how to build on science, how to use the data from our RTI White Paper. Additionally, we have developed the industry’s largest consumer mattress database.

In terms of sales, 2016 will be modest: units will be down and AUSP will be flat— with the direct-to-consumer market making up 5% of the total industry.—KEVIN DAMEWOOD, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF KINGSDOWN

QA EastmanAs a result in the upswing of overall business that we have been experiencing this first quarter, I believe that the industry as a whole can possibly see double digit growth in both dollars and units for 2016. In regards to product, specialty foams continue to be a positive selling feature in all product categories. May it be innerspring Hybrid models or memory, gel or even all latex. Specialty foams offer a broad range of feels and comfort levels and are perceived as ultra premium bedding over conventional innerspring only models—therefore raising the average unit selling price for the retailer. Additionally, the adjustable bed category is seeing an increase in growth and consumer acceptance due to more options being offered to the end user in this category. Bedding Industries of America has developed a rail system for adjustable beds on all of our foam encased models in all brands across the board allowing total flexibility for any of the models a dealer may have on their floor.—MATTHEW CONNOLLY, PRESIDENT OF ECLIPSE/EASTMAN HOUSE

QA_MaloufConsumers will continue to drive-up demand in online channels. The brick and mortar stores who succeed will be the ones who add value in face-to-face interaction by helping customers navigate in a sea of choices to discover their perfect fit. Demand will continue to drive innovation and cooling will be at the forefront of product trends.—SAM MALOUF, CEO OF MALOUF