The Question Of The Year

Before I get started today I want to point out the most recent Dos Marcos podcast episode #62.   In it we talk about the mattress review sites out there, the lawsuit between Casper and Sleepopolis, and my trip to the Sit’N Sleep charity golf tournament so give it a listen.

So what is it that everybody seems to be trying to figure out these days? Just how big is the adjustable bed market? Who will Steinhoff buy next if anyone? Is Mark Kinsley actually wearing a wig? A question that I hear frequently from the analyst I speak to  is, “How much market share is the bed in the box channel going to take from brick and mortar?” To get to that answer we must first establish where we are, which is tricky.

Key Banc put out a report projecting a 4.6% market share for the bed in a box gang in 2017, landing it at $755 million. Some say it’s already at 15% this year pushing it well past this estimate so where is it really? Let’s just say that it’s somewhere in between those two numbers for now which makes it a very big business that is only going to get bigger. Much bigger; and here’s why.

I’m watching television yesterday and this Leesa ad comes on and it’s really good! They talk about the bed, why it is great, and how you are going to feel after a night on their mattress. Very hip, relevant, and compelling! Then you look at what Casper, Tuft and Needle, and Purple are doing in the marketing space and it doesn’t take long to see that these guys are driving hard with really strong messages. Now look at what you see from Serta, Sealy, and Simmons in the way of advertising. These are the largest manufacturers in the industry but does it feel like they are the ones in control of the future?

If these “S” brands are not pushing hard to tell their story and create preference with the consumer, and they are the ones occupying most of the square footage at retail, how much business are they going to help create for their retailers? Yes, it is the job of the retailer to swing the door, but it sure does help business when someone like Tempur-Pedic is supporting those tactics with exciting spots focused on product. Well done guys. What if the “S” brands started to promote the same way the e-commerce guys are? What if they aired more commercials that built value in products and connected to the consumer on some emotional level building preference for their brand? In the absence of the bedding producers stepping up, what if more retailers did that and featured their awesome beds and benefits of sleep instead of just beating the product/price/promotion drum.


My intention here really isn’t to bag on the “S”brands, hopefully, they take it as I intend it which is to maybe motivate them to see things differently. I really want them to be successful and come out with incredible products and commercials because it helps the industry. The e-commerce guys are helping the industry in the same way because they are generating awareness for the category and are doing a better job of it than the traditional players.

Yes I know that the beds in a box come back at a much higher return rate, you can’t try the product BEFORE you buy, and many think that the quality for some of these products is sub-par. Here is the reality though. These guys have taken the risk out of the purchase with a very liberal return policy and their reviews are great. Not to mention the fact that there is a very large part of the buying public that wants life delivered to their doorstep.

My retailer friends out there tell me that they will win the battle if they continue to deliver unique products with great stories and incredible in-store experiences. Makes sense to me.

So what do you think? Given the fact that this is without a doubt a marketing driven business, if everybody continues down the path that they are currently on, what happens to the market share numbers? What is the cap? Please discuss.

4 thoughts on “The Question Of The Year

  1. I agree, I watched a longer purple ad on YouTube all the way though just because it was entertaining! Not to mention just plain savey. Thanks Mark for the insites.

    PS I would like to hear your thoughts on the Mattress firm promotion, free adjustable bed (L&P) with $500. mattress purchase.
    Start of commodification of adjustable category?
    Mike Wicoff
    Sterling Mattress factory

    1. Thanks for reading Mike and for the comments. Funny that you bring up the adjustable beds issue, I will be talking about that next week so stay tuned. 🙂

  2. I’ve made it clear that I am a huge fan of disruption. It is good for the business. The old saying “keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll keep getting the same results”. Fact – the market has changed. Fact – the mellenials will not turn into us. Fact, the industry has to admit what they do, how they talk, how they market, and how they attach value is boring, passé, with no hero message. Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll keep getting the same results. We tend to define the value of a brand by name recognition. Where is defining the brand or the promise of distinction. Not there – that is a problem.

    1. I agree completely Dan. After this post, I was reminded by a Q”s Views reader that there has been some advertising from the “S” brands in the recent past and then asked why I was discounting that effort. It is for the same reasons that you share here. BRAND advertising is fine but in many cases misses the mark. When you get done watching a spot you really need to ask yourself if you are fired up about that product, does it make you want to get online and learn more, leave your house to buy it, or do something inside of you that makes you love and understand the company on a level that turns you into a raving fan. If not then I really think it misses the mark. Thanks for the comment Dan and for reading! Have a great Thanksgiving holiday!

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