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David Perry

Research shows interest in 'green' bedding

Most consumers would choose a mattress with an environmentally friendly claim, and a significant number would pay more for such a mattress, according to consumer research sponsored by the Specialty Sleep Assn.

And a separate study of bedding retail sales associates, also sponsored by the SSA, found that many salespeople believe bedding manufacturers are not supplying enough information on the environmental impact of their bedding.

The SSA research, released during the February Las Vegas Market, found consumer interest in various green issues. Those results boost the SSA's Green Initiative, an effort to clarify environmental claims made by bedding producers, SSA officials said.

As part of that initiative, the SSA asked what claims consumers would want addressed by an industry label, seal or program. “Safety” and “emissions” were the top two issues. Of the consumers surveyed, 79% said they would choose a mattress with an environmentally friendly claim.

According to the survey of 637 adults, two-thirds of consumers were “very” or “extremely” concerned about the health and safety of the products they purchase. Safety of materials was the most important environmental attribute to consumers selecting a new mattress (41%), followed by mattresses that are free of emissions (15%), and mattresses produced by responsible manufacturing processes (10%). In addition, the study showed that 39% of the respondents indicated that they would pay more for an environmentally friendly mattress.

“We are pleased to be sharing this information with the industry and for the first time are presenting not only research on consumer and retail sales associate priorities but also significant guidance on making environmental claims, what terminology actually means, and what global trends might influence how products are designed and marketed in the U.S.,” said Dale Read, president of the SSA.

The SSA conducted a separate survey of retail sales associates at 233 stores run by 61 retailers. This research identified a need for clear environmental terminology, SSA said.

Half of the respondents believed that manufacturers are not supplying enough information about the environmental impact of their mattresses. The vast majority (87%) believe an industry standard, certification or seal would be helpful, with almost one in three saying it would be “very helpful.”

Among other key findings:

  • Three-quarters of the retail sales associates surveyed (76%) have had customers ask for “natural,” “organic” or “environmentally friendly” mattresses.

  • Two-thirds of the RSAs surveyed (69%) have had customers ask for mattresses free of added chemicals.

  • More than half of consumer respondents (56%) said a “green” seal or certification on a mattress would make them more likely to consider that mattress.

Consumers expressed greater concern for the environmental impact of a mattress at the end of the lifecycle versus the beginning of its lifecycle, SSA said.

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