A Navigation Beacon Amid Swirling Seas

New Better Sleep Council quarterly tracker delivers timely insights from “Inside the Mind of Today’s Mattress Consumer”

Wondering how to navigate through swirling seas of shifting consumer sentiments? We’re here to help. Introducing a new Better Sleep Council research initiative: a quarterly tracker that goes “Inside the Mind of Today’s Mattress Consumer.”

There is a lot on mattress consumers’ minds these days, obviously, and understanding what those shoppers are thinking and doing is critical to success for the companies who want to reach them.

The BSC, the consumer education arm of the International Sleep Products Association, is upping its game to launch a new consumer research project that will roll out updates each quarter throughout the year and into 2022. 

The first such report, which surveyed mattress shoppers’ thoughts in the fourth quarter of 2020, is now out. It makes for compelling reading.

Among the interesting findings:

• 60% of mattress buyers purchased a mattress online in the fourth quarter.

• Almost seven in 10 mattress buyers say they miss the in-store shopping experience.

• Consumers are more confident about shopping and purchasing online than they are about going to a doctor, shopping in a store, traveling or going to a restaurant.

• A good night’s sleep is viewed by mattress buyers as significantly more important to their health than a healthy diet or physical exercise.

Each of those findings is significant.

The fact that well over half of mattress purchases now are online may not be surprising in this Covid-19 climate, but it has major implications for the industry if consumers continue to prefer online shopping in the long term. Yes, that is a big “if,” but I think it would be a major mistake to assume that the “new normal” will be the same as the “old normal.” Many consumers have been forced to rely on online shopping for many product categories. They have learned how to become digital consumers.

But it also is notable that many mattress buyers miss in-store shopping experiences, as they should, because there is no substitute for trying various mattresses to find the ones you like best. Comfort is subjective; consumers know it when they experience it. That simple fact gives brick-and-mortar stores a vital edge with consumers, all things being equal — which they aren’t in the midst of a pandemic.

That fact is borne out by the BSC tracker’s look at consumer confidence in various activities: shopping online, going to a doctor, shopping in a store, traveling and going to public places like restaurants. The tracker notes that consumers are more confident about online shopping and purchasing than they are about any of those other activities. Will their views change as more consumers get Covid-19 vaccines? Future quarterly updates will provide the answer.

Finally, the fact that 79% of consumers say a good night’s sleep is important to their health — versus the 64% who say that a healthy diet is important and the 62% who say physical exercise is important — reflects a reassessment of the three-legged health stool. Each of those three legs — sleep, diet and exercise — has been presented in the past as being equal in importance, thus making the stool sturdy.

But in the current climate, sleep has surpassed those other legs in importance. This is great news for those of us in the sleep industry. The benefit that our products provide — a great night’s sleep — has never been more important. That’s a message we should be shouting from the rooftops — or at least giving prominent play in consumer-facing ads.

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