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Sleep Accessories Emerging as Stars on Bedding Floors

David Perry Executive editorDavid Perry Executive Editor
The sleep accessories category had a strong showing at the recent Las Vegas Market. Several key vendors in the segment told me they enjoyed stellar markets. And that's a good thing for the broader bedding category.
     Sleep accessories are gaining in importance on retail floors. They build sales tickets. And, importantly, they add comfort and promote healthier sleep for consumers. That's a win-win-win scenario.
     Tempur-Pedic put its sleep accessories in the spotlight in Las Vegas, introducing new Tempur-Traditional Pillows and unveiling new textiles for its popular pillow collections. The producer said that extensive consumer research went into its pillow moves. The company noted that its pillows are helping drive mattress sales. A 2010 Tempur-Pedic study found that 68% of Tempur-Pedic pillow owners said their experience with their pillow influenced their mattress purchase decision. That's an eye-opening figure.
     Sticking with pillows for the moment, new gelcushioned pillows were introduced in Las Vegas by Classic Brands and T3 Recovery Products, South Bay showed bamboo charcoal memory foam pillows, and The Sleep Company introduced its Ultimate Pillow, among many other pillow introductions. Pillows are emerging as important accessories in their own right.
     Serta made news with the debut of its "sleep to go" program, offering everything from pillows to sheets to mattress protectors to blankets. Serta President Bob Sherman said some retailers struggle with sleep accessories programs, a problem he hopes to eliminate for his dealers.
     The mattress protector category generated some impressive results in Las Vegas. Guard Master made its debut showing, using a well-accessorized showroom (what else?) to make a statement about the power of this category. Fabrictech International said it enjoyed its best market ever as it continues to emphasize health and wellness. Protect-A-Bed, steadily expanding its line, had another good show, as did GBS Enterprises, emphasizing package offers. And Leggett & Platt expanded its offerings with a new silver-protected encasement product.
     The energy and innovation in the mattress protection category is exciting, and it is translating over to retail floors. Mattress protectors are taking their place as musthave purchases for consumers.
     For all of their newfound prominence, I continue to believe that retailers can make even better use of sleep accessories. Unlike mattresses, they can be impulse buys. And they can help retailers generate much-needed business in otherwise slow months like December. They can also help retailers remerchandise their stores with the seasons: Spring pillow offerings, cool summer sheet deals, back-to-school mattress protection packages, etc.
     You get the idea. Sleep accessories are rising stars.

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