I speak to industry analyst every month who are looking for information about the industry. What products are hot? Who is making the biggest impact at retail? Are the new leaders at the different companies focused on the right things? These are just a few of the questions that I get but lately, the calls begin and end with bed in a box.
I was reading an industry report from WEDBUSH and they included the results from some of their proprietary research. It says out of 1,000 respondents, 30% of consumers say that they are “very” or “extremely willing” to purchase a mattress online, sight unseen, if also given a free 120 night trial with free shipping and returns. When this concept first began, I think that most tried to explain it as something Millennials would be interested in. Guess what…I think that audience has expanded. WEDBUSH has e-commerce mattresses like Casper and Tuft and Needle at our around $300 million a year or roughly 2% of sales but a material 13% of non-innerspring units.
The question on the table is will this negatively impact Tempur-Pedic given that they are the leader of the memory foam category? Tempur-Pedic has done an INCREDIBLE job marketing their products and building brand preference with the consumer. Is it enough to insulate them from the aggressive approach of the e-commerce guys? Casper isn’t just a bunch of college guys running things from their dorm room. This is a well funded, thought out business that is determined to take market share. Their marketing is fresh, their social media approach is better than most of what you see in the industry, their message is strong (even if I don’t agree with it), and the brand is hip and relevant. Sounds a lot like what Tempur-Pedic has going for it. The investment by Tempur-Pedic in their own brand should be enough to continue to deliver a premium price on their products but will it be enough to sustain prices three-four times what the bed in a box guys are charging? When you apply that same thinking to some of the other memory foam products out there that have not invested in their brand to the same degree that Tempur-Pedic has, you have to wonder if they are going to feel the pain even more?
If Tempur-Pedic continues to spend on advertising and innovate products that consumers have to have, they are probably going to be fine. They are experts in this area and have a big advantage since they are they ones that built the category. I also doubt that they are taking their business for granted which means they are hard at work building strategy to protect Castle Black as they deploy the Nights Watch to fight the would be attackers. (Anyone watching Game of Thrones?) What do you think? Who is going to suffer the most IF the category continues to grow?
BONUS CONTENT: I was reading an article about sleep this last week and the writer of that article was talking about all of the sleep tech out there these days. One of the new apps they reviewed was called Wakie. This is another app that serves as an alarm clock to wake you up each day but this one has a twist. Your alarm is actually a phone call from someone in the Wakie community. When I tried it, someone from Saudi Arabia woke me up. Very WEIRD! You can also find people to speak to about any topic you wish so if your bored, give it a try. Scratch that, read a book.