BSC Survey Shines Light on Sleep Accessory Purchases

Shopping enjoyment high for sheets, pillows and mattresses

Sleep accessories are in the spotlight. And the Better Sleep Council has important new insights into what consumers are buying in sleep accessories, and why and where they are buying them.

The executive summary: Sheets and pillows are the most common types of accessories purchased in the past year. Many consumers want to upgrade their sleep accessories. The internet is a major factor in sleep accessory purchases. And consumers say it is more fun to shop for sheets and pillows than mattresses. 

Those insights are especially timely these days, as bedding retailers seek to raise the size of their sales tickets in the face of challenging business conditions. Sleep accessories are an important ticket booster, and they also boost something else that is important: Comfort.

While consumers cavort on naked mattresses in retail ads, the situation is different in real life. Yes, a good night of sleep starts with a good mattress, but mattress pads or protectors, toppers, sheets and pillows are all key elements in improving the sleep experience. 

And it’s important to note that consumers actually enjoy shopping for sleep accessories. Enjoyment is a good thing, and it’s something the industry can build on.

One of the more interesting questions in the BSC survey asked accessory purchasers (those who had purchased at least one of four categories of sleep accessory in the past year) if they enjoyed the shopping experience “a lot,” “a little” or “not at all/not much.”

Almost 40% of the purchasers (39%) said they enjoyed the sheet shopping experience “a lot,” while 40% said they enjoyed it “a little.” That means a majority of those purchasers found the experience enjoyable to some degree. The figures were similar for those shopping for pillows.

The purchasers didn’t enjoy shopping for mattress pads/protectors and toppers quite as much, but a majority still found the experience enjoyable, the BSC survey found.

Significantly, mattress shopping, sometimes portrayed by online retailers as a less-than-pleasant experience, to put it charitably, was found to be enjoyable by a solid majority of accessory purchasers. One in three of those purchasers (33%) said they enjoyed their mattress shopping experience “a lot,” while 37% said they enjoyed it “a little.” That’s a shopping enjoyment figure of 70%.

And that’s a very good answer to those who equate mattress shopping to a trip to the dentist. Most shoppers find some enjoyment in shopping for a mattress, and one in three find “a lot” of enjoyment. This is a story that we need to tell.

Where are consumers shopping for sleep accessories? Here the news isn’t as encouraging for traditional mattress retailers. The go-to locations for sleep accessories are big discount stores and their online stores, cited by 28% of accessory purchasers, and the internet, cited by 19% of accessory purchasers. Mattress chain stores, furniture stores and local independent mattress specialty stores are all in single digits when consumers are asked where they most recently purchased sleep accessories. Those retailers clearly have an opportunity to boost their accessory sales.

Overall, 52% of sleep accessory purchases are made at brick-and-mortar stores, while 46% are online, the BSC survey reveals. Those products are much easier to ship than mattresses, which probably explains some of that strong online showing. But the fact that almost half of consumers are buying online should also tell brick-and-mortar retailers that they need to offer accessories for sale online.

The survey also finds a link between accessory purchasers and those who buy mattresses, with nearly four in 10 accessory purchasers also purchasing a mattress in the past year. So, it’s important for mattress retailers to promote sleep accessories in their ads, and to make them a vital part of the mattress shopping experience.

Another opportunity for mattress retailers is to encourage consumers to replace their sleep accessories on a regular basis. The BSC survey found that 23% of the consumers said their most recent pillow purchase was five or more years ago. For mattress pads/protectors that figure is 34%. Many of those products, we dare say, are in need of immediate replacement.

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