BSC Survey: Omicron Variant Returns Focus to Home

Consumers optimize homes for comfort, efficiency in Q4, favor online mattress sales

A new wave of the coronavirus created major ripples in consumers’ lives in the fourth quarter of 2021, boosting online mattress sales, a Better Sleep Council survey finds.

The BSC’s quarterly tracker, Inside the Mind of Today’s Mattress Consumer, reports on how consumers’ concerns, behaviors and shopping habits have been changing during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The BSC conducted the surveys quarterly in 2021 to look for shifting consumer sentiments during the second year of the pandemic.

The latest tracker found that in the fourth quarter, as the omicron variant spread rapidly in the United States, consumers again put a focus on their time at home.

“The research suggests that people are again retreating into their homes – increasing their prioritization of optimizing them for comfort and efficiency,” says Mary Helen Rogers, vice president of communications and marketing for the International Sleep Products Association, the BSC’s parent. “The study found that mattress purchase intent, specifically, is also rising as people continue to make getting a good night’s sleep their top health and wellness priority.”

The survey finds that consumers are placing significantly more importance on making their homes useful and comfortable than they indicated in earlier studies last year. More than half of the consumers (56%) in the fourth quarter study said it is extremely important to make their homes useful and comfortable, and another 25% said it was very important.

Consumers also continue to place a great deal of importance on a good night’s sleep. That was cited as important by 76% of consumers in the fourth quarter, again ranking No. 1, ahead of relationships with family and friends, which ranks No. 2, and stress management, which ranks No. 3. Mental health and self-care routines were ranked No. 4 in importance in the fourth quarter, followed by a healthy diet, No. 5, and physical exercise, No. 6.

“The fact that consumers continue to see a good night’s sleep as vitally important to their health shows that consumers’ focus on better sleep is not a momentary fad,” Rogers notes. “Throughout the pandemic, consumers have ranked a good night’s sleep as the No. 1 factor for their overall health and wellness, ahead of even diet and exercise. That is a positive finding for everyone in the sleep products industry.”

More than half of the consumers surveyed (61%) said they felt good or very good about their sleep in the fourth quarter.

Consumers continue to say that their concerns about public and personal health remain paramount. Those concerns have ranked No. 1 throughout the pandemic, ahead of concerns about the economy, social/civil issues, and politics and the political climate.

Consumer confidence in travel and going to public places like restaurants was still low in the fourth quarter, but has gone up since the third quarter. And consumer comfort with shopping and purchasing in stores has increased, but consumers are still slightly more comfortable shopping and purchasing online. Preferences for shopping for and buying mattresses online rose in the fourth quarter, the survey says.

Bedroom products/sleep accessories were the most-purchased products for the home in the fourth quarter, ahead of electronics and storage furniture and organizers. Mattresses ranked eighth on that list. Plans to purchase bedroom products/sleep accessories and electronics are both high.

Basic bedding led the list of bedroom products/sleep accessories purchased in the fourth quarter, purchased by 76% of consumers, while weighted blankets were next, purchased by 33% of consumers. Blackout curtains, temperature-regulating bedding products, sound machines, and connected/electronic sleep products rounded out consumers’ purchase lists.

Consumers were more interested in shopping for and purchasing new brands of bedroom products/sleep accessories in the fourth quarter, and also spent more on those products in the fourth quarter. They were also more interested in shopping for those products at new retailers, the survey says.

The BSC began conducting the consumer tracking studies in the fourth quarter of 2020 and did new studies in each quarter of 2021, giving the industry snapshots of changing consumer behavior during the pandemic.

As the current wave of Covid-19 infections appears to be retreating, the BSC is now evaluating the cadence of its consumer tracking surveys, Rogers says.

“The BSC’s studies of consumer behavior and sentiment, long a staple in the industry, will continue,” she says. “The BSC will continue to examine the data points that are most relevant to the industry.”

The BSC is ISPA’s consumer education arm.

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