The Evolution of the Mattress Industry

The mattress industry, like other types of retail, is evolving in response to changes in consumer behavior. The need for retail sales associate training is important because so many people are choosing to shop online. Bricks-and-mortar mattress retailers have a slight edge in the satisfaction department because a person can try out the mattress for themselves. However, this will only result in a good experience if there are retail sales associates who know their stuff.


The mattress industry is fairly constrained. It consists of mattresses and box springs or foundations in four main sizes. The materials don’t vary too much. They use wood, steel and fabric. There isn’t a lot of room for a business to differentiate itself. The forces of supply and demand and creativity may do more for sales.


Box springs have disappeared from a lot of mattress retailers. The universal foundation has taken over. The newer zero-deflection foundations have coincided with the release of mattresses that don’t have to be flipped over every three to six months.

Mattress Trends

Innerspring mattresses still dominate the American market. However, there has been consistent growth in the sales of mattresses that don’t use an innerspring system. Memory foam, gel, latex and combination mattresses as well as polyurethane mattresses are available in most mattress shops and online. Hybrid mattress technology is also becoming more popular. Of course, there are air mattresses, too, but few people consider those for a regular, everyday mattress. They’re usually reserved for occasional overnight guests or camping trips.

Mattress Cover Designs

In years past, mattress fabrics used safe, neutral colors or soft, pastel floral prints. These days, manufacturers are getting bolder. They’re more likely to use fancier fabrics and livelier colors. This allows them to differentiate themselves through a unique visual identity.

More Places to Buy Mattresses

Furniture and department stores used to be the only places to buy a mattress. Now, discount and big box retailers sell them. In some locations, mattresses account for 20% to 25% of total sales at discount retailers.


Sleep sensors are gaining popularity. They keep track of a person’s breathing, snoring, movement and sleep duration. They work with apps. People can use the info to monitor their quantity and quality of sleep.

Natural and Organic Mattresses

Sheep’s wool is on the rise again as a mattress material. Cotton, latex, hemp and horsehair are also being used for the covers and inner materials that fill the mattress around the springs. There are several certifications for mattresses.

Boxed Beds

Boxed beds are beds that are compressed. They’re usually ordered online and delivered to the customer’s home. The customer opens the box, and the bed inflates over a period of 24 hours. They’re convenient for people who don’t want to deal with hauling a big mattress up narrow stairs. Boxed beds aren’t any cheaper, but they are convenient to customers who want a big bed, but they live in a place with narrow hallways or stairs that would make it difficult to haul a king-size bed into the space.


Many well-known mattress companies have merged. Serta and Simmons did, and Tempur-pedic bought Sealy. This means less competition and fewer innovations in some cases. There are still independent manufacturers who make all their products in the USA.

Social Media

Mattress companies increasingly use social media. People who rely on social media for information may have trouble when shopping in person for a mattress. They may believe in the hype instead of the facts that retail associates tell them. If the retail associates aren’t trained well about the mattresses they sell, the consumer may have a difficult time or just give up and order whatever their friend ordered. Better training of retail sales associates at mattress companies should be a requirement. Retailers should equip their team with essential information. This will allow them to provide customers with good advice about which mattress would be the right one for their sleep style, body size and shape and overall health.