ISPA EXPO seminar: The wide, wide world of mattresses

A numbers-intensive presentation kicked off the educational sessions at ISPA EXPO 2012. The March 13 discussion, “The World Mattress Industry: An Overview and the Latest Trends,” provided insights into the global mattress market from two perspectives.

Sylvia Weichenberger, an expert with CSIL Centre for Industry Studies, a research firm in Milan, Italy, began the session with a summary of the center’s yearly report on the mattress sector in 30 countries.


  • Mattress consumption grew from $9.2 billion (U.S.) in 2001 to $18.3 billion in 2010.
  • China experienced the fastest growth—22%—between 2000 and 2010.

  • Mattress production grew from $9.3 billion (U.S.) in 2001 to $18.8 billion in 2010.
  • China and the United States are the largest mattress producers.
    International trade

  • China and Poland are the world’s leading exporters.
  • Germany and the United States are the largest importers.

John A. Baugh, managing director of St. Louis-based Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., discussed the growth of specialty bedding in the United States and its global implications.

Baugh opened with the “traditional” structure of the U.S. mattress industry, in which a handful of major brands specializing in innerspring mattresses held some 60% of market share. Companies generally had name recognition but not significant brand differentiation—at least not in the minds of consumers.

The arrival of specialty foam constructions and airbeds has “transformed” the market, helping raise average unit selling prices because consumers are willing to pay a premium for a differentiated product, Baugh said.

What else is driving growth? In part, big ad spends by specialty sleep pioneers. Tempur-Pedic increased its advertising spending by more than 40% in 2010 and 2011 and plans a similar increase in 2012, Baugh told the audience.

One of biggest changes in the mattress market brought by specialty sleep is that most of the ad dollars spent by Tempur-Pedic—and airbed maker and retailer Select Comfort—are aimed directly at consumers. This direct-to-consumer model is replacing the U.S. mattress industry’s traditional co-op ad system, Baugh said.

In general, specialty sleep has shown the industry that the ability to differentiate a product and get the message directly to the consumer is a proven way to take market share and grow sales, Baugh said. The specialty sleep category’s efforts also have increased the number of consumers who are paying more attention to their mattresses.

To contact Weichenberger, visit To reach Baugh, check

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