The 2014 Vegas Market is over and the new year in the mattress industry can officially begin. The question is, did the manufacturers bring their “A” game and deliver products and programs that will drive consumer interest? Before I get into some brief detail, I need to say that I hit every showroom I could from Saturday through Tuesday, but there are a lot of companies showing that I could not get to. There were also some big companies that I didn’t cover here at their request, so if you see something missing, you understand why.
Let’s start with Tempur-Sealy and the new line of Tempur-Pedic beds, which includes seven new models – four new Tempur-Cloud beds along with three new Tempur-Contour products. They really did improve the look of their products, which is going to help them a great deal this year. Part of the problem when Tempur rolled out the Simplicity beds was they weren’t able to compete with the iComfort products across the aisle. They didn’t make that mistake again. The new beds look great and my favorite part is that they are easily accessible to the consumer by simply unzipping the border and peeling back the top layer so that you can get right to the memory foam layer to touch and feel for yourself. You can even remove that cover and send it to the washing machine if you are so inclined. (Remember…tell me and I will listen, show me and I will watch, involve me and I will buy.) Tempur-Pedic also launched the Smart Climate System to address the “sleeps hot” complaint that has given them some trouble in the past. Now they should be able to hit that objection head on and take it off the table.
Sealy introduced some changes to the new Optimum collection by featuring even more cooling gel than in the past. The beds looked great and should nicely fill the price void from Tempur-Pedic below $2,000 in queen. Optimum will floor products starting at $1,299-$2,499, which will directly compete with iComfort from Serta. Probably my favorite thing in the Sealy space was the new Stearns & Foster line. I think the Stearns beds look as good as they ever have and the REAL button-tufting technique and use of the fleur-de-lis design element make their top models hard to beat.
Leggett & Platt earned its way into one of the top spots for innovative products at market. The new Premier Series adjustable bed base has a very stylish design but also features industry-leading tech that connects the bed to the user and their bedroom, and is controlled by the industry’s first touchscreen remote control, which is a 7” tablet that uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and HDMI. This way you can operate your bed as well as a fan, light, lava lamp, or whatever else you want to control right from your new tablet/remote. As you may remember, Leggett & Platt introduced the Starry Night bed in 2008 at the Consumer Electronics Show, and it featured an adjustable bed base with many of the features and benefits now commercialized in the Premier, blazing a trail for some of the other products in the mattress space recently brought to market by other companies.
Kingsdown takes the top spot for cool technology with their Sleep Smart Intuitive, which is a built-in technology that senses and responds to the body during the night to make the automatic and intuitive adjustments for optimal comfort and support. Have a problem with tossing and turning? This bed might be just the thing to eliminate those unwanted pressure points on the fly so you stay sleeping soundly. In addition, Sleep Smart can help you understand your sleep better with its passive monitoring system, which tracks certain biometric measurements. When you wake up, it will even prepare a sleep report for your review. Sound familiar? Select Comfort is on the same path, so we can watch that closely.
Finally, the biggest wow for me on product came from King Koil. They are launching their new World Luxury hybrid series. The product was so substantial I even heard a buyer say it might be too good for their floor. How can that be? Well, if you have a killer $799 mattress that looks and feels better than something you have at $999, it could create a problem; but what a great problem to have. They also created the Z Tech hybrid line targeted at Millennials. Here the story isn’t the product but rather the app they created to help sell the product. Through their consumer research, King Koil learned something about the purchase drivers of this segment and the realization that they are very active using technology to help them shop. With this new app, a shopper can crowd source/fund their new mattress purchase by creating a video message that can be pushed out to all their friends and family, making a case as to why they need a new mattress. That group can then support you by donating to your cause by hitting a button, inching you closer to your desired goal of blissful sleep. Not sure if it will work but I give them HUGE credit for thinking of it.
I know that I didn’t even come close to doing market justice in this quick review, but I did hit some great highlights. If you want to hear and see more, stay tuned to Sleep-Geek.com for a video review of market. Mark Kinsley and I took a camera into your favorite showrooms and you can hear for yourself about the compelling products coming this year from the companies you love. You will even see what happens to me when I invite a world-class female weightlifter to take a free shot at my midsection, or see firsthand how Comfort Revolution caused a significant traffic jam on a daily basis outside their space. Hint: There are actually four reasons for this and they all have blonde hair.
Finally, one of the big takeaways for me wasn’t something I saw; it was something I didn’t see. Every Market we are hit by all of the large banners on the outside of the buildings. Instead of being entertained by a Bob Sherman hit-you-in-the-face, hijack-the-buzz, love-me-or-not-I-don’t-give-a-crap banner, we were met with mere marketing messages. Yes, they were good banners and represented their companies just fine, but they didn’t make me smile or give me anything to talk about for the first 10 minutes of my experience. Bob, if you are listening out there, your presence was missed in Vegas.