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David Perry

Easy prediction for 2013: Hybrids will gain ground

David Perry Executive editorDavid Perry Executive editor
Consumers say they really like hybrid sleep sets. That's a good thing, because many more hybrid lines are on tap for the Las Vegas Market.
     We'll be sharing some important consumer mattress research we recently conducted on hybrids and other bedding topics in an upcoming issue, but this week offer this intriguing tidbit: More consumers say they are getting an excellent night of sleep with their hybrid mattress (59%), than with any other type of beds. Memory foam is in second place, with 52% of consumers who sleep on a memory foam mattress rating their sleep as excellent.
     Our research also found that seven out of 10 hybrid owners say they will next buy another hybrid. Latex bed owners lead that list, with 82% saying they will next buy another latex bed.
     But we have to pose a fundamental question here: Do consumers really know what a hybrid mattress is? The term is steadily gaining traction in the trade, but we have to think consumer understanding of the term is lacking. One of the big hybrid stories in Las Vegas will be the Hybrid Series that is at the top of the new Sealy Posturepedic line. Sealy officials are calling it a true "half and- half" design that combines the cooling comfort of gel memory foam in the top half of the mattress and the support of titanium alloy springs in the bottom half. And they will be using that "half foam" and "half springs" messaging in their retail displays.
     Hybrid lines are already selling well. Serta has done a good job with its iSeries line, which combines gel memory foam and a two-coil innerspring design. Simmons asserted a year ago, based on extensive consumer research, that consumers prefer hybrid beds that combine memory foam and innersprings, and rolled out several models with that design.
     In Las Vegas, new hybrid lines will debut across the market. We do think it is important for the industry to explain what hybrid beds are to consumers, and we applaud Sealy's commitment to do so.
     Hybrid beds are nothing new. Specialty foams have long been paired with innersprings in various designs. What is new is the industry's embrace of the term "hybrid." This is another example of the industry reinventing itself - or maybe we should say rebreeding itself.
     Leggett & Platt did a nice job last year of creating hybrid buzz in the industry with its hybrid rap song, in which "Springz" and "Phoam" sang about the virtues of getting in bed together. "Springs and foam takin' care of that lumbar" was one of their messages. Another was: "Hyyyyyybrid is where the magic is." Sealy and several other producers are hoping to capture some of that magic this year.

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