Online vs. In-Store Mattress Shopping: What Consumers Want in 2024

Research from the Better Sleep Council’s latest survey uncovers what’s most important to consumers as they purchase new mattresses.

Offline vs. online shopping.

A consumer realizes she needs a new mattress. Maybe it’s because her old mattress is showing some wear. Maybe it’s because she wants a larger size. Maybe it’s because she’s moved to a new home. Or maybe it’s because her body has changed, and she needs a different level of support.

Whatever the reason, she begins the mattress purchasing process. Where will she shop? Online or in-store? What’s most important to her about her experience? Will she look for the same brand or expand her search?

The latest Better Sleep Council survey, conducted in 2023 with 1,039 respondents, answers some of these questions. This is the final installment of articles written based on the data gleaned from the 2023 Consumer Research survey. 

High Satisfaction with Mattress Shopping: Consumers Feel Empowered

First, the good news. 

More than 80% of shoppers were either satisfied or very satisfied with their most recent mattress shopping experience, and of the remainder, only 2% were somewhat dissatisfied. The rest took a neutral stance.

Even better, 74% of those who bought a mattress in the past two years said they enjoyed the experience. More than three-quarters of consumers felt knowledgeable about shopping for a mattress.

The Rise of Online Mattress Shopping: Millennials Lead the Charge

Brick-and-mortar stores still hold the lead when it comes to purchasing mattresses — 87% of respondents said they would consider buying their mattresses from a retail store. However, online purchases continue to grow. In 2016, only 27% of consumers would consider buying a mattress online. In 2020, that percentage grew to 47%. In 2023, 54% said they would purchase online. Another 15% chose “other.” (Respondents were allowed to choose more than one answer. “Other” included mail order, catalog or phone.)

The shift in attitudes toward online shopping can be seen generationally. Millennials are the most likely to consider buying online, with 71% choosing it as an option. Gen Z isn’t far behind, with 69% opting for online. More than half of Gen Xers (56%) considered an online purchase an option, while 32% of baby boomers did so. 

When it comes to choosing to shop at brick-and-mortar retailers, the generations were mostly in agreement: 85% of Gen X and millennials, 87% of Gen Z and 89% of boomers would consider shopping in-person.

Millennials led in the “other” category, with 21% choosing that option. Gen Z followed just behind at 18%, Gen X at 13% and baby boomers at 9%.

Consumer interest in the types of retailers has also changed in the past few years. In 2020, 40% of respondents chose department stores as a preferred location to buy a mattress. That declined to 31% in 2023.

The top two choices have remained the same — mattress chain stores like Mattress Firm continue to be the preferred retailer for buying a mattress (57%), followed by furniture stores (49%). At 43%, local independent mattress specialty stores grabbed the third spot formerly held by department stores. Other store preferences included: single-brand retailers such as Sleep Number or Tempur-Pedic (42%), mattress retailers that sell mostly online like Casper or Nectar (37%), online retailers like Amazon or Overstock (36%), big discount stores like Walmart (31%), warehouse clubs like Costco (31%), department stores like Macy’s or Bloomingdales (31%), home improvement or appliance stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s (25%), supermarkets (14%) or other (3%).

While each type of retailer offers an omnichannel presence, the majority of consumers noted they would prefer to buy in brick-and-mortar stores with the obvious exceptions of online-only and online-mostly retailers.

The Mattress Buying Decision: Unveiling the Top Purchase Drivers

When it comes to purchasing from retailers, which factors influence consumers the most?

Fulfillment comes out on top, with 82% selecting it as a reason to buy from a specific retailer. Fulfillment includes free delivery, free pickup of old mattresses, easy returns, sending mattresses to a recycler, white-glove delivery and more. Of that list, 60% of respondents said free delivery influenced in their decision-making process.

Mattress choice is the second-highest purchase driver (63%), followed closely by price (62%).

Rounding out the list are:

Reputation

A wide selection of mattress brands, stocking well-known mattress brands, retailer character, supporting a local business: 56%

Salespeople

Not pushy, knowledgeable: 51%

Retail environment

Cleanliness of the store, bedroom displays and attractive website design: 43%

Warranty

34%

Benefits

Retail sales associates share information about mattress construction and features, the sleep/health benefits of mattresses and environmentally sustainable practices: 33%

Is Brand Loyalty Dead in the Mattress Market? Here’s What Consumers Want

Brand loyalty doesn’t seem to be a driving factor for consumers when it comes to purchasing a mattress. 

Less than half of consumers (44%) say they are extremely likely or very likely to replace their mattress with another by the same brand, while 36% thought it would be somewhat likely. The biggest reason for a back-to-back purchase? Satisfaction with their current mattress. While 83% cited that as their major reason for repurchasing, 50% said it was tied to the brand’s reputation.

“The BSC works hard to bring our manufacturers and retailers information that they can use to understand consumer behavior,” says Mary Helen Rogers, vice president of communications and marketing for the Better Sleep Council. “This survey, tracking mattress shoppers’ habits, shows that today’s consumers are doing their homework. They want to make informed choices, and the more informed they are, the happier they are with their shopping experience. Finding the perfect mattress is deeply personal. With the mattress market evolving, let’s keep our focus on what truly matters to consumers: fulfillment, choice and value. Investing in a bed that offers genuine support is key. It’s not just about brand loyalty; it’s about ensuring satisfaction and building a reputation. Let’s strive to offer better beds because quality sleep is invaluable.”

This is the fourth installment of articles written based on the data from the 2023 Consumer Research survey. Read more at Mattress Replacement Demographics: Who Waits the Longest?

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