Labor Day weekend was a huge success for many of the majors. Retail is claiming increases anywhere from 5-15% for the most part while manufacturers are hinting at 5% up to 30% in
some cases. (It sounds like somebody is taking some market share.) This is great news for the industry and important as we head into the slower time of the year.
So what is working? After reading several analyst reports and spending time on the phone with friends in the industry, here is what I am hearing.
Sealy is lighting things up with their specialty sleep line Optimum, and Stearns & Foster continues to maintain. Not great news for the powerhouse Tempur-Pedic as they face even more competition in the category they created.
Serta is still crushing it with iComfort and now iSeries. The sentiment from retailers is that Serta followed behind Tempur-Pedic in the specialty category, but now they seem to be leading the way, earning the majority of buzz over the weekend.
Tempur-Pedic is having real trouble with Simplicity and word is it will die a slow death because it just can’t hold its own in what has become a very competitive landscape. The Cloud Select is being talked about as a homerun, giving Tempur-Pedic a very competitive product below $1,999, but the Breeze is a different story as people are confused with an upcharge to get a cool surface on a product that allegedly didn’t have a heat problem to begin with.
Simmons would appear to be doing okay with Comforpedic—holding its own in the specialty category, while hybrids continue to gain traction.
The magic range for numbers appears to be $300-$400 off, which is where Serta and Sealy were on the free boxspring promotions (also voted “favorite hook” by the retailers). Serta and Tempur-Pedic offering $400 off the adjustable base was also a fan favorite and door-swinger over the weekend.
Let’s not forget what is happening with the retail sales associate. The RSA is being spiffed heavily these days by all of the manufacturers and if you are not on par with your competitors, you might have a problem. In the $1,500-and-up category, the feedback says that Sealy, Serta, and Simmons are the strongest. As for the product in that price range, hybrids are adding significant value and driving a great message to consumers, thanks in large part to Serta and Simmons.
At the end of the (Labor) day I am very proud to say that the mattress industry kicked some serious butt getting the consumer’s attention and driving traffic into retail stores. Now that all three “S” brands have joined Tempur-Pedic on the national advertising front, we are seeing some terrific results. Let’s hope the election and cost for advertising space doesn’t kill us in the home stretch. For the sake of the industry, I am going to formally ask the other side to concede so we can wrap this election up early and get on about life. The question for you is, what other side am I talking about? Politics and the mattress industry, coming soon!
my sense is that Select Comfort is winning the battle. they dont have to directly compete and yet benefit from the broader move to specialty.