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Mattress Wars: DTC Vs. Traditional Mattress Brands Compete For New Customers
If you snooze, you lose. Companies selling a good night’s sleep are wide awake in fierce competition for sales. Casper might be making headlines, but they are not the only player vying for your slumber (and dollars).
Sheep-counting connoisseurs are using all types of approaches to connect with their target market, from comfort to transparency to efficiency to philanthropy. Revenue for the mattress industry has been relatively flat for the better part of the past decade, and although the industry claims $14 billion in annual sales, little growth is projected for the next few years. Consumers may begin shunning the fluff and circumstance of showroom shopping instead of opting for an online experience.
In fact, online furniture sales are projected to grow. Though consumers still predominantly prefer to see, feel and purchase furniture in person, data shows that one-quarter of all furniture sales will be made online by 2020.
As many as 500 bed-in-a-box mattress sellers, including newcomers to the mattress industry, seem to be enjoying the shift to online furniture purchases, as they work to disrupt the traditional mattress market. With compressed mattresses that quickly expand after being unpacked, the online mattress market, leg by bed-in-a-box sales, doubled from 2016 to 2017 and is expected to grow again this year.
Read on to learn how newer, online mattress brands are competing with heritage mattress brands in the mattress war of the 21st century.
The Newcomers: Online Mattress Brands
Tuft & Needle
Founded by a pair of software engineers in 2012, Tuft & Needle (T&N) is a mattress-in-a-box front-runner headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. T&N products, which range in size from twin to California king, are all made in the United States with their Adaptive foam, crafted for pressure relief, support and cool sleeping, and come with a 10-year warranty.
With an affordable price tag and two expertly-crafted mattress options, T&N reached $1 million in sales within their first year and climbed to a rumored $100 million in revenue four years later.
T&N differentiates themselves by keeping their prices low and their marketing sleek. Promoting an honest persona, T&N lets their consumers in on the facts behind manufacturing mattresses, showing them what the real price should be.
Leesa is a mattress-in-a-box company dedicated to "better sleep." If a consumer prefers white glove delivery service, Leesa offers that, too. After just one year, in 2015, Lessa “has raised $9 million in funding from TitleCard Capital at a valuation of $45 million including the funds,” according to Fortune.
Leesa offers a 100-night trial for their mattresses, which are all made in the U.S. and equipped with cooling Avena foam, pressure relieving memory foam and a dense core supporting foam. For every ten mattresses sold, Leesa will donate one.
Leesa’s marketing takes a transparent approach, depicting their honesty through charitable donations of mattresses. They bring in the basics of the mattress, honing in on what the essential qualities of a bed. With a focus on improving the world, not just their business, Leesa wants to “make the world a kinder place.”
Founded in 2014 and headquartered in New York City, Casper, an online retailer, focuses on “award-winning comfort,” offering three different mattresses with varying layers, feels and prices. In 2015, the private company closed a $55 million round of funding, valuing the company at $550 million.
Casper is conquering the market one step at a time, and they’ve already opened a brick and mortar sales store.
TechCrunch reported the brand has opened up a new storefront in New York, conveniently close to their brick and mortar store, for $25 45-minute naps. This storefront, creatively titled The Dreamery, offers consumers a trial run on a Casper mattress, enticing them to invest and begging the question, has Casper put traditional mattress sellers to sleep?
Brick and Mortar Mattress Brands
1-800 Mattress initially sold mattresses over the phone but evolved with consumer demand and now allows for convenient online and in-store purchases.
With same or next day delivery to consumers within the United States, 1-800 Mattress offers everything consumers need for a comfortable night’s sleep, including sheets, bed frames, pillows and mattresses from brands like Beautyrest, Serta, Sleepy’s and more.
1-800 Mattress takes a traditional marketing approach with catchy jingles and flashy graphics.
Mattress Firm, the parent company of 1-800 Mattress, has been a staple in the industry for over 30 years. Offering same or next day delivery, Mattress Firm supplies selections from Serta, Purple and other top brands, both online and in-store.
This Texas mattress brand pulled in $980 million in revenue as of last year and offers a 120-night trial so consumers can be sure they made the right purchase. With bedding, frames, and more, Mattress Firm has expanded to the furniture market by providing various bedroom necessities.
Mattress Firm’s FosterKids.org enlisted Simone Biles’ help to promote their charitable efforts. Their marketing taps into consumers’ hearts, asking for donations for foster children with purchases of Mattress Firm mattresses.
Now that online sales are growing popular in the mattress industry, do they stand to one day replace in-store mattress purchases?
As popular brick and mortar mattress brands, like Mattress Firm, consider filing for bankruptcy due to unprofitable stores and inconvenient leases, their financial hardships seem to pave the way for online brands.
There might be a head for every bed, but to stand out in the market mattress companies will continue to strive for creative ways to capture their audiences and grow customer loyalty. In the age of convenience, a mattress-in-a-box is enticing and has the backing of the $29 billion industry. Only time will tell where consumers will go to buy their next beds, but we have a strong feeling they’ll turn to their computers.
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