ISPA trends report reflects a complex year for mattresses and foundations
To know where the industry is going, you have to know where it’s been. And that’s one of the reasons why the Mattress Industry Trends Reports published each year by the International Sleep Products Association are so valuable.
In my talks with industry leaders earlier this year, I heard two schools of thought about how the industry performed last year, with some saying they thought the industry was up for 2021, and others taking a more pessimistic view, seeing a year of decline.
Now that ISPA’s 2021 report is in hand we know the answers to those questions. Yes, the industry was up. And, yes, it was also down.
Let me explain.
The ISPA report breaks the mattress industry down into three product categories — mattresses, foundations and motion foundations. It includes the wholesale dollar and unit performance for each of those categories. And it also looks at those categories from a U.S. perspective, and from a total market perspective — one that includes imports. Ours is a complex, dynamic industry.
So, it is necessary to be specific when you are looking at how the mattress industry performed in 2021. And the fact is different products performed differently last year.
The big picture is that the total U.S. mattress market, which includes U.S.-produced and imported mattresses, foundations and motion foundations, was up in 2021 in dollar value by 12.8%. Although inflationary pressures increased in 2021, that’s still a good performance.
But, on the negative side of the ledger, total units shipped for the U.S. mattress market, including mattresses, foundations and motion foundations, produced domestically and by importers, were down last year by 2.7%. Units equal transactions, and it’s generally better when transactions are trending upward.
It’s encouraging that the dollar value of U.S.-produced and imported mattresses was up last year by 14.5%. Mattresses are the core product our industry manufactures; the mattress is the very heart of today’s sleep systems.
The number of mattress units, both domestically produced and imported, saw a slight decline last year — down 1.2%. That’s the smallest unit decline of the three product categories tracked by ISPA.
The dollar value of U.S.-produced and imported foundations was up 11% last year, while units were down 5.3%.
And the dollar value of motion foundations, in all channels, was up 3.1% in dollars, but was down 1.3% in units.
So, all three key product categories were up in dollars last year, but were down in units for the year. And you will recall that overall price increases last year played a significant role in boosting mattress prices. It’s also true that high-end beds did well last year, also helping boost overall bedding sales dollars.
It’s also important to break out the market for U.S.-produced mattresses and foundations and to compare that with the market for imported mattresses and foundations.
The dollar value of U.S.-produced mattresses was up 17.9% last year, while units were up 2.5%. The dollar value of U.S.-produced foundations was up 12.6% last year, while units dropped by 4.4%.
Imports generally did not fare as well.
The customs value of imported mattresses declined by 11.1% last year, while units dropped by the same percentage. The customs value of imported foundations was up by 8.2%, but units dropped by 7%.
The customs value of imported motion foundations was up 18.2% last year, while units were down by 9.7%.
There is a famous saying in the mattress industry: You take dollars to the bank, not units. And that truism reinforces the importance of the dollar gains the industry achieved last year.
But, as we noted earlier, unit performance last year lagged dollar performance in a number of cases. The fact that total units were down in all three product categories last year suggests the industry lost some ground overall compared with 2020. Still, the total dollar gains last year were notable — and welcome at the bank. •