We’re Still Standing

If someone had told me 12 months ago that I would be advised to isolate from my family and friends, wear a mask whenever  I leave my house and regularly check for my age group’s turn to receive a two-part vaccine, I’m pretty sure my mind immediately would have recalled the creepy, apocalyptic plot of a Stephen King novel.  

While the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t ended yet — and hopefully, it won’t take similar twists as King’s novel “The Stand” — we do seem to be making progress, and not just with vaccinations. During the past year,  the bedding industry has pivoted to rethink communications with staff and customers; rework supply chain demands; reconfigure physical work spaces to keep employees and customers safe; and reimagine market cycles and product introductions to meet the increase in consumer demand for bedding products.

While it’s too soon to tell the lasting effects of these changes, here are several trends we report on in this issue.

• Golden slumbers? Apparently, at least in the United States, the answer is yes. According to a recent survey by the Better Sleep Council, respondents to a 2020 survey reported they slept 7% more than in 2016. Moreover, the survey revealed that 79% of respondents said sleep was the most important factor for health and well-being.  

• Communication breakdown? A year ago, Zoom and Microsoft Teams were not part of my daily vernacular, but those platforms have become a lifeline for BedTimes, as well as many other companies. With the advent of stay-at-home orders, businesses have taken advantage of digital communications among management, employees and customers. 

“We’ve been working remotely, and our surprise is shared by many companies: It has worked out well, so I’m not sure in what manner we’ll return to the office post-Covid,” said Joe Nashif, president of US-Mattress.com.

• On the road again? Of course, Covid-19 has turned bedding market cycles upside down. These interruptions have led companies to rethink the timing of product launches, as well as virtual shows, online tours and more. 

In addition to Covid-19’s effects on markets, Nick Bates, president of Spring Air International, offered this personal insight into how the pandemic has affected his life: “I wasn’t spending as much time traveling and I was spending more time with my family. I have a young son and looking back, these were some special times that I would have otherwise not been able to appreciate as much when on the road.”

Will these trends last? We predict the industry will find ways to marry the old and new. Stay tuned.

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