Weathering 2020

We’ve made it more than halfway through 2020, which, whew, has been a year like no other. To understand how recent events are affecting the bedding industry, we present a trio of features in this issue to offer perspective.  

Top of mind this year has been the novel coronavirus pandemic. Many mattress manufacturers and suppliers initially responded to the virus by switching production from bedding to personal protective equipment. And, of course, many companies were forced to temporarily reduce their workforce or close factories altogether. So, how are producers faring and what lessons have they learned? Writer Julie A. Palm asked nearly a dozen industry members those questions — and she received insightful and creative answers.

Another major issue affecting the bedding industry is dumping, the practice of foreign companies selling products at “less than fair value” in U.S. markets. Currently, the U.S. Department of Commerce is reviewing a petition from seven U.S. manufacturers and two labor unions that claim they have been undercut by manufacturers from seven countries. Those same petitioners also claim the People’s Republic of China is subsidizing its mattress imports to the United States. To say this legal process is complicated is an understatement, but Palm explains antidumping and countervailing duties in an easy-to-follow manner.

State of America's sleep infographic from the Better Sleep Council

This month’s cover story summarizes two recent surveys conducted by the Better Sleep Council, the consumer education arm of the International Sleep Products Association. The first survey, the State of America’s Sleep, was established in 2019 to measure quality of sleep year over year. As the infographic below illustrates, Americans are more stressed and sleeping less than last year. No surprise there. Writer Jennifer Bringle weaves together the survey’s findings into an informative, entertaining article. 

The second survey featured in this issue is the second in a three-part series on the buyer’s journey. While there’s a wealth of useful information about consumer buying trends, here’s my favorite takeaway: “The BSC study found that the dominant emotions many people feel as they set out on their mattress shopping journey are optimism, joy and anticipation. They’re excited about shopping for a mattress.” 

Good news, right? We can all use a little of that these days. 

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