The 2013 Las Vegas January market is in the books and by most counts, was a big success. The halls were very busy and people were upbeat in terms of their expectations for the upcoming year.
I will not be doing a full product review in this blog post; I will leave that one in the very capable hands of my good friend David Perry at Furniture Today. Instead, I want to celebrate the innovators that came to market.
Comfort Solutions brought a funky-shaped bed that adds an extra 6” to the sleep surface. Kingsdown launched their version of a smart bed. Tempur-Pedic stepped up with an air product directed at the macro consumer trend of personalization and broke out of their mold of being just a memory foam mattress producer. Serta was brave enough to take their very successful iComfort product and make significant improvements as well as launch the best Perfect Sleeper line I have ever seen them bring to market. Southerland introduced the new Response Sleep System by Sharper Image that monitors and adjusts while you sleep. And finally, Sealy launched the hybrid series of products, and if you are paying attention to what we have been up to for the last 12 months, you already know I am a big fan of that approach. There are many more but these stand out the most for me and got me fired up.
We as an industry are not going to really drive consumer interest unless we do more of what I saw in Vegas. Consumers want new. Hell, even our RSAs want new because NEW SELLS! Yes, the messaging from the producers and retailers needs to continue to improve and tout the benefits of the mattress over the mattress itself, but we can certainly share the stage there with great new products, right?! I have heard Rick Anderson from Tempur-Pedic, on more than one occasion, state his position that we as an industry should not be so worried about the warranty on the bed because that is not what is going to drive replacement. Great new products will drive consumers into the market IF we are telling the story well and creating excitement. I am not a big fan of long warranties but I agree with his point that products are the solution.
So today I celebrate our category as the clear leader in the furniture industry. We not only deliver the best financial metrics of any other category in furniture, but I would also say that we are getting better and driving harder every year. My hat is off to all of you that made a big impact in Vegas and I hope that you have a terrific 2013 as a result!
P.S. My hat is off today to Simmons, who blew me away with their incredible outdoor banner. This is the most innovative approach I have ever seen at market (even though I loved the Cheap-Ass Knock Off Bob). It is great when somebody is able to hijack the buzz before you even walk into the building – and they did it.