Hybrids on the Rise

Studies show spring/foam models gaining share in tough times.

I’m not exactly sure what they are, but I am sure of this: They are gaining market share.

Cross section showing a mattress and the springs inside. 3D illustration.

I’m talking about hybrids, mattresses which are made with both springs and foam, as they are described in a recent round of Better Sleep Council research. And those mattresses gained four percentage points of market share from 2020 to 2022, now accounting for 20% of current mattress types.

The only mattress type that gained more market share in that time frame was foam mattresses made without springs or coils. Those mattresses gained five percentage points of market share to account for 26% of current mattresses.

Spring mattresses lost two percentage points of share, dropping to a 33% share of current mattress types, the BSC research reveals.

Those three mattress types — spring mattresses, foam mattresses, and hybrids — dominate the market, accounting for 79% of consumers’ current mattress types.

It’s notable that foam mattresses and hybrids gained share in a two-year period in which consumers dealt with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Will those types of mattresses gain more share in a more normal consumer climate? 

Time will tell, of course, but I believe that hybrids are positioned to gain share. Bedding insiders tell me that “hybrid” remains a powerful word on retail floors, as it suggests an attractive combination of technologies. And it provides a good hook for retail sales associates as they describe mattress types to consumers.

Our sister publication, Sleep Savvy (SleepSavvyMagazine.com), offers this definition in its mattress industry glossary: “Hybrid: Commonly used industry term for a mattress that combines an innerspring unit with specialty foams such as viscoelastic or latex.”

That’s helpful, but the fact remains that there is no clear definition of exactly what constitutes a hybrid. Must it contain a certain number of inches of specialty foams? Should it be a smooth-top mattress? Should spring layers and foam layers be about equally represented in height?

It is up to bedding producers to answer those questions, and their answers have varied considerably over the years. 

Marketing has given hybrids a cache on retail floors, and has made those mattresses easier to sell.  

The point has been made to me that the industry has been making hybrid mattresses for decades, long before that term gained popularity, as springs and foams have long been partners inside mattresses. 

The key to the rise of hybrids, I believe, has been the marketing that has surrounded them. That marketing has given hybrids a cache on retail floors, and it has made those mattresses easier to sell.

Another factor is that hybrids are, relatively speaking, the new kids on the block. New products give retailers and RSAs fresh talking points in their advertising and in their sales presentations. And to paraphrase one of my industry friends: New products are more interesting than old products.

Those points help explain the strong year that hybrids enjoyed in 2022, when hybrids were the only mattress type to post retail growth, according to Piper Sandler.

That New York-based firm’s December retail survey found hybrid sales grew a mean of 9% last year. Innerspring mattress sales were down by 9%, while foam mattress sales were down by 7%. Overall, bedding retailers said their business was down by 6% last year, so hybrids were the lone standout in a year of sales declines.

The Piper Sandler survey also noted that innerspring mattresses represented 37% of retailers’ sales mixes in 2022, with hybrid mattresses enjoying sales mix of 29%, and foam mattresses accounting for a share of 27%. Those figures are similar to the breakdown of current mattress types in the BSC research. 

That strong performance by hybrids last year certainly sets the stage for more growth this year.

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