October 15, 2013 | Comments (0)

Do consumers really value mattress innovation?

In our Expert Q&A mattress forum, we get a lot of questions from people looking to buy an exact replacement of a bed they already have.  Clearly, these people are happy with what they have, and they figure they’ll save some time and reduce their risk by simply buying the same thing again.  It’s the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school of mattress shopping.

Unfortunately, these people are typically out of luck.  Most mattress companies change model names every year or more, and overhaul product lines completely every 2-3 years.  So, assuming you’ve had your mattress for at least a few years, it will likely be impossible to find that exact mattress, even by another name.

This got us wondering though, what if mattress companies didn’t operate this way?  What if mattress models from 10 years ago were still available?  Would people want them?


The Question

If it were available, would you buy a new mattress that’s an exact replica of your current one?

We asked over 1,000 mattress shoppers this question.  Here’s what they said:



People That Would Want Their Current Mattress

Nearly 1 in 4 mattress shoppers (23%) would buy a replica of the mattress they already have.  While not a huge portion of the market, it seems big when you consider that virtually none of these people are able to do this today.  This points to an opportunity to create more continuity in mattress product lines over time, to better serve the replacement needs of this portion of the market.

It’s also worth adding that amongst this group, 53% of people have had their current mattress more than 8 years, and 74% have had it at least 4 years.  One of the biggest unknowns when buying a new mattress is how well it will hold up over time.  So it’s not surprising that most of the people interested in buying a replica of their current mattress have had that mattress for a while.  This has given them enough time to be sure that the mattress will live up to their expectations regarding durability.



People That Would NOT Want Their Current Mattress

Overall, 77% of people that said they would NOT want a replica of their current mattress.  It might be tempting to assume that this is because most people want the latest and greatest in mattress ‘technology.’  In reality though, the reason was much more surprising (at least to us) — most of them just weren’t very happy with their previous purchase:



Of the people that would NOT want a replica of their current mattress, 28% said it’s because their current mattress isn’t good for them, and 26% said it’s because their current mattress didn’t last.  Adding these two groups together, this means that 54% said that the reason they wouldn’t want to purchase their current mattress again is because they weren’t satisfied enough with it.  Another 14% say they want something different, some of whom might also regret the choice they made last time.

Meanwhile, only 32% of these respondents indicated a desire for something newer or better than their current mattress.  This group — just 24% of all respondents — is the only group that expressed a focused interest in benefiting from the latest innovations that the mattress industry has to offer.


Do These Results Point to a Bigger Consumer Satisfaction Issue?

While gauging consumer satisfaction was not the intent of this survey, it may have been an unintended outcome.  For people that would NOT purchase their current mattress, over half say it’s because they made a bad choice last time.  Looking at this group as a portion of all survey respondents, this would suggest an overall satisfaction level of below 60%.  It can also be noted that the dis-satisfaction stems almost equally between product longevity (ie, how long it lasted) and product fit (ie, how good a match it was for them).  Looking at this a different way, the opportunity for improving these numbers is split equally between both manufacturers (product longevity) and retailers (product fit).

In past consumer surveys about satisfaction, the reported satisfaction levels are typically much higher.  However, in those cases, the question usually gets phrased in a more general sense like “How satisfied are you with your mattress?,” with choices like “Extremely,” “Moderately,” etc.  By contrast, the survey we did this time takes a different (and perhaps more useful) approach to measuring satisfaction by asking “Are you satisfied enough with your current mattress to purchase it again?”  The results are certainly noteworthy, and merit further exploration.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that there may be some selection bias in these responses, so it shouldn’t be assumed that these results are an exact representation of all mattress shoppers today.  That said, this survey was conducted randomly from visitors to GoodBed, a large audience that represents 5-10% of active mattress shoppers at any given time.  So, it would be surprising if these results are not at least directionally accurate.



In an upcoming follow-up post, we will examine the question of why such a small overall number of mattress shoppers (24%) expressed a focus on buying something newer or better in their next mattress.

Separately, we will be doing some additional research on the issue of consumer satisfaction, to see if we can cross-calibrate these results against other questions that get at this same issue from a different direction.


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Michael is the founder and CEO of Revv Media, the publisher of GoodBed. Prior to starting Revv Media, Michael was a Principal of Waller Sutton Capital, a New York-based private equity firm focused on the media and marketing services industries. He is also the founder and General Partner of Westward Capital Management, a private equity investment firm based in San Francisco. Michael graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BAS in Systems Engineering and a BSE in Finance from The Wharton School. He received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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