• David Perry

Mattress boom in the cards if Millennials don’t grow up

Will Millennials, those darlings of marketers everywhere, grow up to act like Baby Boomers? The bedding industry is hoping the answer is a resounding “no.”

A lot is riding on that question. We are talking about millions of additional mattress sales and a major surge in business.

Here, in a nutshell, is the potential marketing opportunity. According to a major consumer study conducted last year by the Better Sleep Council, Millennials expect to keep a new, quality mattress for 6.6 years but had their current mattress for 5.3 years before replacing it with the one they are currently sleeping on.

Baby Boomers, on the other hand, expect a new mattress to last for 11.6 years and had their previous mattress for 11.8 years before they replaced it with the one they are currently sleeping on.

If Millennials maintain those mattress expectations and that replacement cycle as they age, that will be a game-changer for the mattress industry, as the Millennials have the shortest mattress-life expectations and replacement histories of the three major groups of consumers. (Generation X consumers, by the way, rank between Millennials and Baby Boomers on mattress replacement expectations and histories.)

Thus you can see the importance of our opening question. As long as Millennials keep acting like Millennials, the mattress replacement cycle will be robust.

My reflections on this issue were sparked by a recent presentation made by Mary Helen Rogers at Therapedic’s annual meeting. Rogers, the vice president of membership and communications at the International Sleep Products Assn., outlined the BSC research findings and highlighted the Millennials’ views on mattress replacement.

Looking at the relatively short bars for expected and actual mattress replacement times for Millennials, I wondered if Millennials will be a major business driver in the decades to come.

Make no mistake about this: If a younger group of consumers replaces their beds twice as quickly as an older group of consumers, those younger consumers could reshape the bedding marketplace as they age, if — and it’s a big if — they continue to act like younger consumers.

Some of the bedding execs I checked in with at the Therapedic meeting think there is a good chance that Millennials will favor shorter mattress replacement cycles as they age, noting that they are more conditioned than their parents to replace products more frequently to take advantage of new technologies that are offered.

That could be, but I see the same aches and pains affecting Millennials as they age as those that caught up with Boomers as we aged. I see Millennials who can “sleep on anything” now finding a lousy mattress uncomfortable when they are older and heavier.

It’s going to take decades to see how this issue plays out in its fullest sense, but we should all be watching Millennials closely in the years to come for clues to how their attitudes about mattress replacement change (or not) over time.

Thanks to Mary Helen Rogers for sharing that intriguing research with the Therapedic attendees.

David PerryDavid Perry | Executive Editor, Furniture Today

Hi, online readers. I'm David Perry, executive editor of Furniture/Today, and the writer on the mattress beat. Get my musings on mattresses on our web site and on my Twitter feed. And let me know what you would like me to write about in the wonderful world of mattresses.

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DT_Perry
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