Forecast: Bedding sales to rise slowly, steadily

After suffering painful year–over–year declines during the recession, the U.S. mattress industry is projected to enjoy moderate growth through 2012, according to the most recent forecast from the International Sleep Products Association.

For 2010, both unit shipments (mattresses and foundations) and the dollar value of those shipments are forecast to be up 5.5%. Those gains would reverse two years of sharp decreases in 2008 and 2009 and a mixed but overall lackluster sales picture in 2007.

Moderate gains are expected for 2011, as well. Unit shipments are projected to increase 5.7% and the value of those units are forecast to grow 3.5%. In 2012, projections call for unit shipments to rise 4.4% and dollar values to increase 7.8%. That would bring the total size of the U.S. mattress market to roughly $6.8 billion in 2012—or about the same size it was in 2007.

As for the average unit selling price, it isn’t expected to increase in 2010 but the forecast predicts a 2.1% gain in 2011 and an additional 3.3% rise in 2012.

The forecast, issued in October, is produced by ISPA’s Statistics Committee. The next forecast will be released in April. The association provides monthly and quarterly tracking of sales through its Bedding Barometer newsletter.

“Given the lackluster economic recovery we have experienced to date and the substantial economic uncertainties that exist today, the committee found it especially challenging to prepare this forecast,” the Statistics Committee said in releasing the report. The forecast is based on economic analysis prepared by the University of Michigan, as well as consensus input from the ISPA Forecast Panel, which is made up of leading mattress producers and components suppliers.

The broader outlook

The forecast considers trends in the larger economy that have potential to impact the mattress industry.
“The ‘double–dip’ recession is not likely to happen, but growth will remain slow for the next few years,” the forecast says in assessing the overall U.S. economic picture. Specifically:

  • Housing “Housing sales are, and will remain an issue, especially now that the federal home–buyer tax incentives have ended,” according to the report. Sales of existing homes are expected to be up 3.4% for 2010, 8.6% in 2011 but only 4% in 2012. Housing starts are expected to grow more robustly—10.4% in 2010, 11.1% in 2011 and 29.7% in 2012—“but the volume will remain below 1 million units.”
  • Employment/disposable income “High unemployment will continue to contribute to minimal gains in real disposable income for 2010 (1.3%),” the forecast says. “As unemployment rates fall over the next two years, an uptick in disposable income of 2.2% is expected for 2011, followed by a further increase of 3.6% for 2012.”
  • Consumer prices According to the forecast, “Inflation does not seem to be a major concern, with consumer prices forecast to increase only 1.8% in 2010, 1.5% in 2011 and 2% in 2012.”
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