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David Perry

We fearlessly predict where our industry's headed in 2012

January 10, 2012

This week we put on our prophet's cap, think deeply about where the industry is headed, and fearlessly offer our predictions for 2012. Ready? Here we go:
The world will end on Dec. 21. OK, this is not my original prediction, as you probably know. It's based on the idea that the Mayan calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012.
Now a couple of points need to be made here. For all of their accomplishments, the Mayans never invented memory foam, encased coils or 20-year bedding warranties. They were, in mattress terms, a primitive people. So, lacking the tools for a great night of sleep, they were often grumpy and had little hope in the future. They couldn't imagine hanging on to their rock-hard beds for more than 500 years so they didn't bother to extend their calendar to Dec. 21, 2512.
Note: I'm kidding here, for the most part. But I do think the Mayans might have felt much better about the future if they knew the joys of gel memory foam. And that leads us to our second prediction:
Gel beds will be more common in Las Vegas than casino chips. This, my friends, is a no-brainer. I've already got enough insight on Vegas intros to know that gel beds will be prominently featured in major producers' showrooms, Tier Two producers' showrooms, etc. And that leads me to my third prediction:
Specialty sleep will enjoy another robust year. This dynamic category dramatically outperformed the innerspring segment last year and I see no reason to think that trend will change in the near future. In fact, the gel bedding boom should further accelerate interest in specialty sleep. But all is not lost for the innerspring segment, which leads me to my next prediction:
Hybrid sleep sets will gain in popularity. While gel memory foam initially debuted in the specialty sleep arena, it is now headed for the innerspring category. Hybrid beds - those combining innersprings and specialty foams - offer some wonderful feels, and gel will be providing some of those nice feels this year.
There will be some casualties on the retail and manufacturing scenes. Challenging business conditions will take a toll this year on companies that have been struggling to get healthy. Top 10 bedding producer International Bedding ceased operations late last month and appears finished. It won't be the only bedding casualty of the year.
Presidential politics will be a downer. Whoever you like as a candidate, you have to admit the negative campaigning we've seen thus far, and certainly will see plenty more of this year, will be a negative on consumers' attitudes. And the trash talking will go on for 10 long months. Yikes!
Best wishes to all of you for a successful year in 2012.