Sleep Retailer eNews | November 29, 2018

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New Research Reveals The "Under-The-Bed" Sales Opportunity

The Specialty Sleep Association recently teamed up with the Undergraduate Research and Creative Works Department at High Point University to learn more about consumers knowledge and interest in foundations and bed support systems. Surveying more than 100 RSAs or retail buyers, this study revealed plenty of opportunities within this product category. The Sleep Retailer team sat down to discuss our key takeaways from the findings for the latest episode of the Sleep Retailer Podcast.

Highlights From The Study:
  • 79% of sales associates believe that customers know very little about mattress support systems
  • 50% of the retailers said that customers simply do not care
  • 65% of retailers said they bring up the topic of mattress support during the sales presentation
  • 4% of mattresses sold were returned because of a foundation or bed support failure

Listen to the full podcast episode here - and read more about the study here


Strong Sales Are Expected Throughout The Holiday Season

Woman shopping in the city

Tis the season for retail shopping! With new reports of strong Black Friday through Cyber Monday sales, analysts are predicting that the retail market will hit record numbers throughout the rest of this year's holiday shopping season. We took a closer look at these predictions and some potential future setbacks to evaluate how bedding retailers can make the most during the season of giving.

First, let’s take a look at the numbers:

  • MasterCard estimated that overall Black Friday sales totaled $23 billion—up 9% from last year.
  • Both MasterCard and eMarketer are projecting that total holiday season sales will increase by nearly 6% over last year.
  • eMarketer estimates that, by the start of 2019, total sales could hit more than $1 trillion—this increase in sales would be the biggest year-over-year jump since 2011.

Brick-and-mortar sales accounted for 87.7% of total holiday spending - and even though that is still firmly the majority, its total market share has declined. In fact, e-commerce sales are up by more than 16% this year; they are estimated to make up more than 12% of all holiday retail sales for a total of $123.73 billion. Cyber Monday alone saw a record $7.9 billion in online spending, according to Adobe Analytics. This year also marked the first year that mobile made for more than half of all of online shopping traffic.

So what’s driving these sales numbers? The same things that usually do, it appears. Most analysts are citing low unemployment, strong income growth and high consumer confidence.

But of course, things are not always quite as steady as they seem. While the market looks strong right now - there is still uncertainty on the horizon. Donald Trump’s newly implemented tariffs on Chinese imports are expected to hit the consumer goods market in the coming year, and retail price points will likely experience a hike. On a positive note, this looming threat could potentially be impacting some of the holiday sales increases as consumers look to make the most while they still can. But the retail market should be careful not to expect smooth sailing from here on out.

Forbes Senior Contributor Andria Cheng also pinpointed another troubling detail in the Black Friday sales reports: the over-reliance on promotional pricing. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, roughly 65% of purchases during Black Friday weekend were driven by sales and promotions. While this seems less than shocking (deals are what the whole weekend is about, right?), it’s important to note that this percentage jumped from 61% last year—and marks the highest percentage on record.

While the exact reason for this increase is unknown, there are some key factors to consider. This year, retailers started promoting their Black Friday deals earlier than ever - and the sales are lasting longer. According to the NRF survey, 92% of shoppers said they expected the Black Friday deals to extend throughout the holiday season. This could have a lasting effect on the market because, as we discussed in our last eNews edition, a constant cycle of sales promotions can wreak havoc on consumers’ perception of value.

Thankfully, many of these potential worries are far enough down the pipeline that they will not dampen the overall holiday sales numbers. In fact, there remains plenty of opportunity for mattress and bedding retailers to benefit from this strong shopping season.

While mattresses and bedding have traditionally been seen as necessity products, the growing consumer interest in health and wellness has shifted that impression. Today’s sleep products are far from mundane: they can be seen as luxurious and exciting. When it comes to holiday shopping, top-of-bed products make for ideal gifts — especially high-quality pillows or sheet sets (which consumers may not splurge on for themselves). And with more affordably-priced, boxed options on the market, the idea of buying someone a mattress as a gift isn’t as far-fetched as it once was.

Of course, not all end-of-year retail sales are for presents. Apparently, more and more holiday shoppers are treating themselves too. According to the NRF, “self-gifting” increased by 13% this year - with a record of 31% of all consumers buying something for themselves and 44% of Gen Z and millennial shoppers in the 18-24 age range indulging in some self-gifting.

All in all, if the sales numbers are to be any indication, this holiday season is expected to be a major boon for retailers of all kinds—and mattress and bedding sellers shouldn’t miss out.

Learn more here, here and here.


Winter Is Here: Tips For Updating Your Sleep Environment & Elevating Your Mood

Winter Bedroom 1

While winter can sometimes make us want to sleep more than usual, an improper sleep environment during the colder months can make a healthy sleep routine harder to achieve. We’ve rounded up some interesting products and strategies to help you and your customers update your sleep environments and hopefully avoid the winter blues too.

Bed

Create A Cozy Cocoon With Winter Bedding

During the winter, most people have a tendency to spend more time at home or inside, and sometimes even in bed. So, winter is a great time to improve your sleep environment and tailor it to the cold months ahead. There are a number of products that can help with this transition and make your bed the perfect seasonal nest.

  • Heated Blankets & Mattress Pads

Heat therapy is a soothing way to practice self-care and remedy injuries and other ailments year round, but heated blankets and mattress pads are also a great way ensure that your bed is a haven of warmth during the darker winter months. According to Tuck, these are a few of the best heated blankets on the market right now. And, according to research conducted by Wirecutter based on interviews with engineers and safety experts, heated mattress pads (they recommend these) might be more efficient than electric blankets when it comes to keeping your bed warm. Either option should increase the cozy factor in your sleep environment.

  • Flannel Sheets & Heavier Blankets Or Comforters

When choosing winter bedding, material is important. Wool and flannel offer more insulation than other types of fabrics, so looking for sheets, blankets and comforters that incorporate either material can help generate and maintain warmth in your bed. Malouf offers this flannel sheet set, while OMI offers several products that encourage heat including a wool comforter and a thermal blanket that uses certified organic cotton and is ideal for winter layering. Other brands use their own thermal blends to deliver a warmer night sleep. For example, BEDGEAR offers a blanket series that uses its unique Climacore fill in graduated levels that go from warm, warmer to warmest.

  • Mattresses & Protectors Built For Seasonal Use

Some mattresses and protectors are thoughtfully made to help sleepers adjust their beds from season to season. In the case of Spring Air’s Four Seasons mattress, the product comes complete with a convenient flip and zip covering with a cooling side and a more insulated side to help consumers adjust their mattress for every season and temperature. In the way of protectors, the ReversaTemp protector from PureCare provides climate control options in the form of Heatstar fibers for warmth and FRÍO fibers for cooling.

Overall Environment

Integrate A Space Heater

Depending on how much climate control you have where you live, you may want to incorporate a space heater into your bedroom. This strategy works if you primarily wish to heat one portion of your home and leave the rest a little chillier during the day or night. By using a space heater to concentrate warmth in a single space—perhaps the one where you spend the majority of your time—you may save on your heating bill and use a little less energy than if you keep your entire home heated all winter long.

For individuals in studio apartments and generally smaller living spaces, a space heater may be able to replace a thermostat entirely. Be sure to check and understand how your home is heated to decide if integrating a space heater would benefit you. Ensuring that your space is well insulated and that the windows are tight can also help save on energy and keep overall home environment warmer too.

Wirecutter tested, reviewed and compiled this list of top space heating recommendations.

Use A Humidifier To Add Moisture To The Air

Using a humidifier helps ease the dry chapped feeling your skin takes on when the temperature drops outside. And—depending on what type of heater you use—it can also help balance any drying out that is occurring thanks to added heat. For example, radiators produce a dry heat which can further deplete moisture in your skin and cause irritation over time—a humidifier is a great solution to this problem. Additionally, humidifiers help with sinus trouble, which can be exacerbated by dry air and can soothe colds by adding much needed moisture and purifying the air.

Wirecutter tested, reviewed and compiled this list of top humidifier recommendations.

Let The Light In

According to Psychology Today, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression which causes people to have depressive episodes during specific times of year, impacts an estimated 10 million Americans. One way to combat the onset of SAD in the winter is to use a light therapy box or sun lamp. Less daylight during the winter can mess with our circadian rhythms, but using a light meant to simulate the sunlight of spring and summer can maintain consistency through the winter months and prevent earlier sunsets from impacting overall mood and daily routine. While those suffering from severe cases of SAD should seek out the help of a therapist, a sun lamp is a useful tool to try.

Better Homes and Gardens curated this list of top sun lamps.

Health And Wellness

Stay On Schedule 

An early sunset might make you feel ready for bed much earlier in the evening than when the sun stays up until 7 or 8 pm. One strategy for avoiding this impulse is to create a schedule for your free time after work and stick to it. Developing a specific plan for your evenings, doing an activity right after work and continuing to maintain your social calendar can all help stave off the winter blues. Sometimes it’s harder to stay busy when it gets dark early, but ultimately, keeping yourself engaged can prevent you from sleeping too much.

Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with SAD, don’t hesitate to seek help. Everyday Health has some great information here about how to detect the signs of SAD as well as resources for sufferers.

As a consumer, furnishing your home with the right tools to stay healthy through winter is essential. And, as a retailer, stocking these tools, opening a dialogue about common health and sleep issues during the colder months and educating consumers about how to winterize their sleep environments are all great ways to build trust and offer shoppers thoughtful solutions. Many of the accessories we explored above also make practical gifts!

Read more here, here, here, here and here.


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