Last year, you probably wouldn’t have predicted a toilet paper shortage, or that a global pandemic would create a spike in the mattress business. But that’s what went down.
What’s going to happen to the mattress industry in 2021 and beyond?
It’s anybody’s guess (and we’ll all probably get it wrong), but it’s a tradition for Dos Marcos to read the tea leaves and deliver their annual predictions episode. And unlike this past year when traditions went swirling down the toilet, without any toilet paper in that bowl, this ritual shall continue!
As retailers, manufacturers, and component suppliers all look to 2021 and try to figure out where to spend money and focus their efforts, Mark Kinsley and Mark Quinn’s predictions may provide some perspective that can guide your decision-making.
- Supply Chain Issues and Verticalization in the Industry. If you hadn’t purchased anything online by mid-April of 2020, you were clearly doing lockdown wrong. Online shopping soared to record-breaking numbers. And brick-and-mortar retail saw lower foot traffic but higher closing rates, creating more business. Couple all that with the fact that nonwoven material used for PPE and masks is also the main ingredient in fabric-encased coils. It created a real mess. The entire supply chain has been scrambling to keep up with demand.
This year is likely to see the continuation of supply chain issues. Consumers are still spending money in the home and on the home. For now, they learn from home, earn from home, and relax at home. And they’re feathering their nests with furniture and mattresses. Meanwhile, there are material shortages, labor issues, and possible profiteering from companies in the catbird seat. These supply issues may also cause some manufactures to verticalize their businesses by producing raw materials in-house and limiting their need for certain suppliers. And as we’ve already seen, it’s likely going to create price increases.
- Consolidation. The big guys are going to keep getting bigger. Whether by merger or consolidation, the supply chain issues will only become harder when the bigger companies begin to leverage their strength and size, consume more materials and gain more market share. Whether it’s suppliers or retailers, be prepared for smaller businesses to go under, sell out to the bigger companies, or figure out creative partnerships.
- Direct-to-Consumer Companies Expand. In recent years, online mattress brands bloated beyond demand. At one point there were roughly 175 direct-to-consumer brands and not enough consumers to keep up. Through natural attrition, many have fallen, but those who remain are making their way into the brick-and-mortar space. The goal of this move is to gain market share by attracting customers who want to touch and try mattresses they’ve heard about online. These companies will likely also realize a media effect from customers who pop into a brick-and-mortar store, try the mattress, then go home and buy directly from the brand, instead of purchasing from that retailer.
- The Need for Sleep Experts Increases. Health and wellness are the most important topics in the world right now. And sleep is part of that conversation (or, at least it should be). Also, ask any parent with a newborn how much they value sleep and the answer will be infinitely more than they ever realized. Sleep education, the value of sleep, and methods for getting good sleep are trending upward and the quest for consumers to find knowledgeable people to help them achieve their best sleep is going to continue to expand.
Consumers will be increasingly aware of sleep needs and the mattress needs to be part of that conversation. And your salespeople need to be educated on how to help people transform their lives through better sleep. Consumers shop for a mattress about once every ten years. That means you have one shot every decade to change somebody’s life.
- The Dos Marcos Family is Growing: What are you reading right now? An article hosted on the newly launched FAM—For All-things Mattress. It’s the world’s first audio-everywhere media hub for the mattress industry. Our team of experts and curators are on a mission to make sleep cool, and that’s why Dos Marcos decided to expand its reach beyond a weekly podcast. The FAM is now your one-stop-shop for all the information you need to know about the bedding business. We’re glad you’re part of The FAM.
- The Customer Experience Is About to Get Intimate (Think Texting): Many customers use brick-and-mortar stores as their last stop in the purchasing journey. In 2021, expect customers to take their purchasing journey to a deeper, more intimate level. Whether it’s texting with salespeople through Podium or paying via text, stores that win will talk to consumers in ways that feel more natural and immediate. Texting will win that battle.
- Make Data Work For You. Data will continue its surge, but doing something with that data by using Doorcounts and a well-designed tech-stack will become a kingmaker. The more you know, the more you can laser point your focus on what really matters. The saying, “don’t work harder, work smarter” is true, and good data can translate into accelerating your business forward.
- Disinformation is On the Rise. Philosophy professor Barrie Brown once said, “There are two societies which do not exist—those where murder is acceptable (because everyone is killing everyone) and those where lying is acceptable.” A lack of trust erodes the foundation of society. When a culture lacks shared values because of distrust, it falls apart. Disinformation runs rampant throughout the world today and even the mattress industry has become a target —review sites are a huge source of misinformation. The average consumer doesn’t know where to look to find credible, unbiased information about mattresses. That’s because a host of unsavory actors are gaming Google to rank higher in search with websites that are nothing more than pay-to-play product placements. These scammers have created “best mattress” lists and the company with the “top-rated mattress” is simply paying that website the most money. Retailers need to focus efforts on combatting disinformation and educating consumers on what’s actually happening.
- B.A.P = Big Ass Parties. People are ready to party. Kenny Chesney concerts and Key West weekends are beginning to bubble up inside people’s bodies. Pent-up demand for travel, comradery, and partying is on the horizon once COVID-19 is contained and the vaccine gains wider distribution. Begin planning yours now. And hopefully soon, we can get together with you and the entire FAM for a big bash. We miss hugging people and hanging out.
- Quinn Wears a Vest. Kinsley once wrote a song that goes, “You never mess with a guy in a vest, it was Crocodile Dundee’s favorite top. You never mess with a guy in a vest, it might be bulletproof…and he’s a cop.” There’s a longstanding feud between Dos Marcos about the sleeveless coat-like attire. Kinsley loves vests and Quinn thinks they’re impractical and ugly. Kinsley predicted this is the year Quinn would finally realize the value of a vest and hop on board. Reply #TeamVest or #NoVest in the comments.
There you have it, 10 predictions to take you into 2021 and beyond. Be sure to listen to the podcast episode because it features two bonus predictions and a deeper dive into each one. What are your predictions for 2021? Tell us in the comments and be sure to signal if you’re #TeamVest or #NoVest.