views updated



NAICS: 33-7910 Mattress Manufacturing

SIC: 2515 Mattresses and Bedsprings

NAICS-Based Product Codes: 33-79101, 33-79104, 33-79107, 33-7910A, and 33-7910W


Mattresses are rectangular pads of durable fabric filled with either an arrangement of coiled springs or soft material. The mattress is then placed on top of the box spring of a bed, where it may be used to sleep or lie upon.

Early History

The word mattress, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, comes from the Arabic word al-matrah, meaning carpet, cushion, seat, or bed. This Arabic word has its origins in the Arabic word for throw, taraha. The word taraha offers some insight into the sleeping arrangements of early cultures. The first beds were collections of animal skins, leaves, or straw thrown onto the ground to provide some cushioning between the sleeper and the hard ground. For most people, beds were simple structures, made of wood with some inexpensive cushioning on top. However, beds for the wealthy and for members of royalty were often made of luxurious materials and included coverings of velvet, silk, or other high-end materials.

Ingenuity and advances in materials continually propelled the business of making mattresses forward. For example, in the late 1700s furniture makers in England stretched rope between the four posts of the bed frame. The tension in these ropes could be modified to suit the sleeper, hence the origin of the phrase "sleep tight." Furniture makers also made beds lighter by switching from oak to lighter woods, such as mahogany and walnut. By the nineteenth century companies began to employ basic principles of mass production. A number of well-known bedding companies began operation during this period, including Simmons in 1876, Sealy in 1881, and Englander in 1894. In 1900 William Lawrence Murphy invented the Murphy bed, a bed that could be tucked up into a closet. The bed was a popular space-saving feature in small living spaces. Craftsmen also began manufacturing more beds from iron and steel. Daniel Hayes, founder of Sealy Mattress, perfected a manufacturing process that could compress cotton into mattresses, improving their comfort.

Mattress Sizes and Features

Mattresses are sold in four standard sizes. Known from smallest to largest as twin, full, queen, and king size, the queen size being the most popular choice. Queen size mattresses accounted for 35 percent of mattresses shipped from manufacturing facilities in 2003, according to figures compiled by the International Sleep Products Association. Queen size mattresses became increasingly popular in 1991 when they first overtook full size as the top choice. Twin size mattresses accounted for 29 percent in 2003, down from 30 in 1999, while full size accounted for 19 percent down from 20 percent in 1999. King size mattresses are the least popular mattress size choice, comprising 17 percent of sales in 2003.

Other than size, factors that influence the consumer's choice are durability, affordability, and comfort. Mat-tresses are classified as durable goods, with most lasting for eight to ten years. Average replacement rates tend to be longer, however, since consumers assume the lifespan of a mattress to be ten to twenty years. Consumer data from 2005 indicate that nearly half of Americans (47%) keep mattresses longer than experts recommend. As far as affordability is concerned, mattresses come in a large range of prices. Initial investments range from $300 to $3,000. Amortized over a ten-year period of use, a $3,000 bed costs an individual owner 82 cents per night.

Most people spend about one-third of each day lying in bed, equating to about four months of every year are spent on top of a mattress. Comfort matters. Sleep is an essential ingredient for physical health and mental well being. Belief in the palliative benefits of sleep grew in the United States between 1987 and 2007; belief that sleep relieves stress increased from 31 to 44 percent during the timeframe. Sleeping to relieve stress generally involves a comfortable mattress.

Comfort is not easily quantified, however. Its definition changes from person to person. Factors such as aging, loss or gain of weight, and loss or gain of a sleeping partner affect whether a mattress is considered comfortable. There are two types of mattresses: traditional innerspring mattresses and all other kinds taken as a whole, a broad category called specialty mattresses. Innerspring mattresses dominate the market and can also be the least expensive choice, according to the Consumer Report's November 2006 mattress buyers guide. In general it includes mattresses categorized as either air and foam or memory foam mattresses, called visco-elastic. Whether innerspring or specialty, mattresses tend to look the same from the top because they all have padding covered by ticking.

Ticking, the outermost layer, is typically polyester or cotton-polyester. Fancier mattresses use plusher fabrics like damask, microsuede, wool, cashmere, and silk for ticking. Under the ticking is the top padding, sometimes called a pillowtop. Top padding is generally polyurethane foam, with or without polyester batting for softness and wicking. The stitching that binds the ticking to the top padding can affect comfort. Larger quilt patterns provide a deep, cushiony sensation while smaller patterns tend to squeeze down top padding, creating a slightly firmer feel. Whatever the top material, the interior construction is what determines whether a mattress is categorized as in-nerspring or specialty.

The Innerspring Mattress

Inner wire coils characterize the innerspring mattress. Coils provide the main support so coil counts tend to dominate discussions of innerspring mattresses. The four main coil types are individual pocket, continuous, offset, and Bonnell. Individual pocket coils are highly conforming, producing the least amount of motion when someone else sits or lies on the bed; pocket coil counts range from 580 to 704. Continuous coils involve coil rows made from one continuous wire, rather than each coil being separate, and are the firmest; continuous coil counts range from 442 to 755. Offset coils are oval shaped and arranged to overlap the coil in the next row for a firm yet conforming mattress; offset coil counts range from 368 to 680. Bonnell coil is the classic hourglass shaped coil found in most basic bedding; Bonnell coil counts range from 210 to 364

Mattress manufacturers tend to be proprietary about coils, components thereof, and construction. They introduce variations on the four main coil types and give them special names. Generally comfort level and durability increase as more coils are used and there are placed closer together. Some constructions, however, involve thicker wire but fewer coils while others involve more coils of thinner gauge wire. For extra support, some manufacturers reinforce certain areas by using more closely spaced coils or slabs of stiff foam between coils. Stiff foam or special edge guard coils are used around mattress edges. Stiffer edges provide a solid place to sit. Big name mattress makers, sometimes called the Big 3S because they are Sealy, Simmons, and Serta make the bestselling innerspring mattresses.

Specialty Mattresses

The two types of specialty mattresses are constructed of either air-and-foam or memory foam. The air and foam construction is epitomized by Select Comfort Corp., a Minneapolis, Minnesota, company that introduced its springless air bed in 1987. The air and foam bed has air chambers surrounded on all sides by high density foam for stiff edges. Sleepers can adjust the air chambers to control firmness. Settings for the heavily advertised Sleep Number system start at zero for cloud-soft and end at a rock-firm 100. Beds with two air chambers allow couples to set each side separately. A mattress tester writing for in 2000 complained that sleeping nightly on the Select Comfort air mattress feels like camping; whether that is a positive or a negative sensation depends on the individual.

Memory foam, or visco-elastic, was developed by a North Carolina company called Dynamic Systems in the 1970s for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); NASA wanted foam material with both high energy absorption and soft pressure properties. A good example of the memory foam specialty mattress is made by Tempur-Pedic, a company based in Lexington, Kentucky, selling Swedish mattresses constructed from a similar pressure relieving foam developed by Fagerdala World Foams in Switzerland. The foam is temperature sensitive, has a high density, and conforms to the body to therapeutically align the neck and spine.

With the success of air-and-foam and memory foam mattresses, specialty sleep is no longer a specialty. Where specialty sleep makers lead, conventional innerspring mattress makers soon followed. The Big 3S each have specialty products made with visco-elastic foam and latex foam. Latex is an expensive natural material derived from Hevea brasiliensis, the rubber tree. By definition, latex is an emulsion of rubber or plastic globules suspended in water. The two types of latex are natural rubber latex and styrene butadiene rubber, or manmade latex. Latex is used as a premium top padding. For instance, a four to six inch latex top padding offers a high degree of comfort and support. Latex is also used for interior construction. A basic six to nine inch latex core provides deep support.

In 2007 Tempur-Pedic introduced a specialty mattress with an original latex design that mimics innerspring coils. The company that is "changing the way the world sleeps," according to its own promotional literature, is going back to the traditional coil concept. Called Bella-Sonna, the bed retails for about $4,500 in queen. A queen has 208 individually-adjusting latex cylindrical flexors. The top is Tempur memory foam.

By August 2007 the line between innerspring and specialty mattress makers had blurred. That month at the Las Vegas Furniture Market each 3S company rolled out specialty beds. Market share leader, Sealy, introduced its updated TrueForm line of visco models concurrent with its updated SpringFree latex line. The two lines were first rolled out in 2005. SpringFree foregoes springs for latex. Marketed as having a solid latex core created from different densities of latex, it is synthetic latex that is anti-microbial and dust-mite resistant. TrueForm is made from a proprietary multilayered memory foam. The foam responds to body weight and temperature to reduce pressure points and to minimize motion transfer. It has a high-density core and comes with a special rigid box spring to maximize the benefits of sleeping on the foam.

Industry leader, Simmons, made a major spring into specialty sleep in August 2007 when it announced plans to acquire Comfor-Pedic memory foam mattresses and pillows from Comfor Products Inc., and simultaneously introduced its new line marketed as ComforPedic by Simmons. Simmons' market research showed that 60 percent of consumers are aware of the memory foam category, with half considering a purchase. The new for 2007 ComforPedic by Simmons collection includes five lines: Original, Nassau, Natural, Mystere, and Nuvo (top of the line that is customizable) made with next generation memory foam designed with features that eliminate the standard problems of either a hard-to-move sensation or excessive heat build-up. Top models are set apart with extra features like an inner latex core for more comfort and support and patented edge support.

In August 2007 industry leader, Serta, introduced its Vera Wang by Serta Serenity collection that foregoes in-nersprings for both memory foam and latex construction. The Serta top of the line Perfect Day collection combines the best of both worlds. The Perfect Day KoolComfort bed combines a traditional innerspring mattress with a breathable memory foam padding that sleeps cooler than typical memory foam. One of the complaints about memory foam is that since it is designed to be heat sensitive, it is hot.

Even with the blurred line between innerspring and specialty, innerspring mattresses dominate the market. The structure of the market, however, is changing.


The International Sleep Products Association has tracked mattress and foundation shipments from the year 1987 forward. Figure 135 is a twenty year sequence of the total dollar value of adult mattress and foundation shipments for both innerspring and specialty mattresses combined. Shipments grew from a low of $2.095 billion in 1987 to a high of $7.780 billion in 2006. In 2004 and 2005, shipments grew in value 12 percent each year, after a brief 2001–2003 recessionary period of slow or no growth. Over the twenty year sequence, the industry more than tripled the dollar value of adult mattress and foundation shipments. The average annual dollar growth rate was 6.4 percent.

The specialty mattress average annual growth rate was stronger. The International Sleep Products Association began tracking that broadly defined and growing category separately in 2004. It grew 29 percent between 2004 and 2005 and 12 percent between 2005 and 2006. In 2006 innerspring mattress shipments were $3.970 billion and specialty mattress shipments were $1.152 billion. As of 2006 specialty mattresses represented about 30 percent of the value of adult mattress shipments.

Specialty mattresses are expensive. In 2006 they represented roughly one-tenth of the volume of units shipped, but three times that percentage in terms of dollar value of shipments, according to the International Sleep Products Association 2006 annual report.

Specialty mattress sales grew 12 percent in sales dollars in 2006. Innerspring mattress sales grew only half as much at 6 percent, following growth of 12 percent each year for 2004 and 2005. Innerspring mattresses dominate the market, but the growth in specialty bedding—especially the 29 percent increase between 2004 and 2005, such that by 2006 it represented about 30 percent of the value of adult mattress shipments—prompted the Big 3S companies to move aggressively into the category, changing the structure of the market.


Sealy, Simmons, and Serta are mattress market share leaders. At the end of 2006, for the first time, two of the top five spots were held by specialty mattress makers. Rankings are estimates based on shipments made by Furniture-Today on June 18, 2007.

Sealy is the market leader with total 2006 sales of almost $1.4 billion in 2006, up 5 percent over 2005. Simmons is number two in the market with total 2006 revenues of $963 million, a hefty 13 percent increase over 2005. Serta is ranked third with 2006 shipments of $881 million, a 9 percent increase over 2005. Specialty sleep powerhouse Tempur-Pedic remained at number four with 2006 shipments of $512 million, a 19 percent increase, the largest of any maker. Moving into number five to knock Spring Air out of the top category was Select Comfort with 18 percent growth in 2006.

Growth rates for the two specialty makers slowed in 2006. Tempur-Pedic was up 31 percent in 2005 and 19 percent in 2006, while Select Comfort was up 23 percent in 2005 and 18 percent in 2006.

Sealy, Inc.

With its world headquarters in Trinity, North Carolina, Sealy is the largest bedding manufacturer in the world with sales of $1.6 billion in 2006 and 6,000 employees. Sealy moved from Cleveland, Ohio, to its current 68,000 square foot complex of buildings on a 68-acre campus in 1999.

Sealy makes and markets a broad range of mattresses and foundations under the Sealy, Sealy Posturepedic, Stearns & Foster, and Bassett brands. Sealy operates approximately thirty plants, which manufacture bedding in twenty states, three Canadian provinces, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina, France, and Italy. Sealy does not buy its coils from Legget & Platt, the largest and best known supplier of coils to the bedding industry. It manufactures its own at its component-manufacturing subsidiary whose three plants produce all its innersprings and half of its foundation components.

Sealy, Texas, is a small town near Houston where Daniel Haynes, a cotton gin builder, began making cotton-filled mattresses in 1881, eventually patenting a machine that compressed cotton for use in mattresses. By 1906 Haynes sold it all to a Texas company that took the place name Sealy. Sealy placed mattress ads in The Saturday Evening Post and Ladies' Home Journal, registered its name, developed a trademark, and got the slogan "Sleeping on a Sealy is like sleeping on a cloud." It then sought licensees, getting twenty-eight by 1920. The remaining licensees introduced an innovative button-free mattress during the Depression. In 1950 Sealy introduced its Posturepedic brand, using science to focus on correct back support. By the 1960s it was commissioning major research studies like Simmons, the oldest 3S company.

By the end of the 1980s Sealy patented a new in-nerspring coil, the Posturetech, with an arm that senses movement and then responds with increasing support for use in its entire Posturepedic line. The decade saw an end to the many lawsuits between Sealy and one of its largest licensees wherein all but one domestic Sealy licensee were consolidated under The Ohio Mattress Company. In 1989 Sealy was taken private in a leveraged buyout. That setup lasted less than a decade. By 1997 executives of the firm joined Bain Capital to buy it back and operate it as a privately held corporation.

In 2006 Sealy constructed a new manufacturing facility in Mountaintop, near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The 210,000 square foot facility manufactures the latex increasingly used in high-end bedding products and also its proprietary foam-encased innersprings for the Stearns & Foster luxury brand. In March 2007 Sealy opened a new $20 million manufacturing facility in Orlando, Florida, with 250 employees, where it expects to create seventy-five more jobs. The 225,000 square foot facility produces innerspring beds for its Posturepedic and Sealy brand lines, and assembles latex foam beds for the specialty SpringFree line introduced in 2005.


Headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, Serta maintains twenty-six U.S. facilities, four in Canada, and numerous international locations. Serta began in 1931 when a group of independent mattress manufacturers joined forces to make the Perfect Sleeper, the first tuft-less mattress. The Perfect Sleeper anchors Serta's value priced collection. Serta is the most popular mattress brand among major hotels like Hilton, Wyndham, Marriot, Westin, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, Mirage Resorts, MGM Grand, Bally's, Circus Circus, and Bellagio, among others.

Serta is number three in market share. It has five product lines: Perfect Sleeper (value priced), Luxury Response (innerspring free, either memory foam or latex foam), Perfect Day (top of the line), Vera Wang by Serta (debuted in 2006 and consists of a bridal bed, a Komen bed, and a sweetheart bed), and Vera Wang Serenity. In 2007 it designed a line of Vera Wang by Serta mattresses for sale exclusively at Neiman Marcus that feature memory foam and latex foam. The 2006 Vera Wang by Serta collection included a limited edition designer pink mattress set for its "Counting Sheep for the Cure" campaign with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.


The oldest of the Big 3S, Simmons began in 1870 when Zalmon G. Simmons built a factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to manufacture wooden products. By 1876 Simmons mass-produced woven wire mattresses at a time when most mattresses were made with cotton batting. Simmons introduced spiral coil springs for mattresses in 1889 with an innovative manufacturing process that dropped the price from $12 to 95 cents. Simmons grew by 1920 through the acquisition of manufacturing plants in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Elizabeth, Seattle, and Atlanta. By 1925 Simmons designed a machine to coil wire and insert it into individual fabric sleeves. Individual pocket coils form the basis of its Beautyrest line of mattresses.

Simmons commissioned the first sleep studies. A Simmons-commissioned study on sleep and sleep surfaces conducted at the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research was released in 1931. The study used a motion picture camera to record the number of times sleepers moved. In the 1950s it created its own research center in Munster, Indiana, and was the first mattress maker to introduce king and queen size mattresses. In 1975 Simmons moved its headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia, relocating its research center to Norcross, Georgia. From Atlanta it operates twenty-one manufacturing facilities and two juvenile bedding manufacturing facilities across the United States and Puerto Rico. In 2004 Simmons announced a radical pocketed cable coil design used in an alternating pattern with its classic individual pocket coils to achieve a higher "Motion Separation Index."

In 2006 and 2007 responding to the rapidly changing structure of the mattress industry, Simmons streamlined its Beautyrest collection and introduced the uberluxe Beautyrest Black collection. The streamlined Beautyrest collection includes Classic (880 individually wrapped pocket coils with strengthened edge support); World Class (980 pocket coils, foam encasement, and latex and memory foam padding); and Exceptionale (two story coil on coil construction includes 1960 pocket coils, foam encasement, premium foam topping layers, and luxurious ticking). Beautyrest Black is a luxe line first rolled out in 2006. The luxe line has models named Gabriela, Edaline, Helena, Viola, Orchid, Rosalyn, Hyacinth, Florence, Exquisite, and Ophelia. The ticking is modal blended with cashmere. Pillowtop padding is silk and wool on top of generous layers of memory foam and natural latex. Total foam encasement stiffens the edge.

Also in response to the rapidly changing structure of the mattress industry, Simmons revitalized its BackCare line with gel technology and introduced the all new all latex NaturalCare line. It was the first major company to plunge into gel, a flexible elastic material that distributes body weight evenly to relieve pressure and stress on muscles while "gently massaging the back throughout the night." NaturalCare features the natural support of a latex topping to eliminate pressure points across the entire body. All natural latex is an expensive long lasting material that is naturally anti-microbial, hypoallergenic, and resistant to dust mites, mold, and mildew.

Tempur-Pedic International, Inc.

With its world headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky, Tempur-Pedic International sells mattresses it markets as Swedish. It specializes in mattresses and pillows made from its proprietary pressure-relieving material that it sells in more than seventy countries under the Tempur and Tempur-Pedic brand names. It has four manufacturing facilities, one in Denmark and three in the United States. In 2007 it constructed its third U.S. plant in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Tempur-Pedic sells its products through four sales channels it calls retail, direct, healthcare, and third party. Retail sells to furniture and bedding, specialty, and department stores; direct sells to consumers; healthcare sells to hospitals, nursing homes, healthcare professionals, and medical retailers; and third party sells to distributors in countries where it does not operate subsidiaries.

Tempur-Pedic offers nine collections of beds: Grand-Bed, BellaSonna, CelebrityBed, RhapsodyBed, PrimaBed, DeluxeBed, ClassicBed, SymphonyBed, OriginalBed. Six of the nine earned the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval. The same six are also authorized to use the Arthritis Foundation Ease of Use Commendation Logo. The six award winning beds are OriginalBed, ClassicBed, DeluxeBed, PrimaBed, RhapsodyBed, and CelebrityBed.

Select Comfort

A new entrant into the mattress industry with its 1987 introduction of an air and foam mattress, Select Comfort has manufacturing and distribution facilities in South Carolina and Utah and headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It employs more than 2,500 people.

Select Comfort is distinct from all others in the top five in that it owns stores. As of June 30, 2007, it had 465 company owned stores with a goal of operating between 600 and 650. In addition to its stores, Select Comfort beds are sold at retailers in the United States and Canada, through its national direct marketing operations, as well as online. In 2000 it developed relationships with Gabberts and the QVC shopping channel. In 2004 it announced an exclusive partnership with Radisson Hotels and Resorts to provide beds for Radisson properties throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Select Comfort has a partnership with Winnebago Industries to provide Sleep Number beds on selected models.

Select Comfort auctioned Sleep Number beds autographed by celebrities on eBay in 2007 to raise more than $50,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Fetching the highest bid was a bed signed by Entertainment Tonight host Mark Steines at $2,725. In the past five years, Select Comfort donated more than $4 million worth of beds and accessories to the charity.


The mattress industry, a $4.5 billion enterprise in 2002 at the manufacturing level, spent close to half of that amount on the materials it consumed in the manufacturing process. The industry expended $2.1 billion materials that year, up 9 percent from $1.9 billion in 1997. In the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century prices for most of the materials consumed by the industry, such as metal coils and petroleum derived foam, had skyrocketed.

Most of the $2.1 billion spent on materials in 2002 was for springs and coils. One-quarter of industry-wide spending goes for purchasing metal springs and coils. In 2002 spending on springs and coils totaled $502 million, up 6 percent from $471 million in 1997. Most of this money goes to a single coil manufacturer.

Leggett & Platt is the leading supplier worldwide of innersprings to the bedding industry. Leggett & Platt makes innersprings and box springs, often from modifications on the basic Bonnel coil. It also makes three variations of the classic offset coil it calls knotted offset, open offset, and Lurex offset.

After spending more than one-half million dollars per annum on coils, the next largest expenditures made industry-wide by mattress makers is for padding and ticking. In 2002 spending on padding was $287 million, up 27 percent from $207 million in 1997. Spending on ticking was $258 million in 2002, up only slightly from $257 million in 1997.

Other materials mattress manufacturers consume in order of yearly expenditures are insulators, fabric, and latex foam cores. In 2002 spending on insulators was $72 million, up 22 percent from $56 million in 1997. In 2002 spending on fabric such as cotton, nylon, polyester, and rayon was $64 million, up 32 percent from $43 million in 1997. In 2002 spending for latex foam cores was down somewhat to $61 million from $64 million in 1997.

Since the last full economic census in the United states, in 2002, Latex International expanded its operations. Latex International is the only U.S. producer of the type of latex known as Talalay, which is mattress-quality latex (as opposed to Dunlop which is not). Latex International is also the largest U.S. supplier of latex mattress cores and tops. Since its sales for the first six months of 2005 were up 29 percent over 2004 to meet growing demand in the mattress industry, it launched a new latex topper line in December 2005 that required a new production line due to its size.

To accommodate the new line, Latex opened a 45,000 square foot facility in Shelton, Connecticut. It also opened new fabrication sites outside Los Angeles and Atlanta, with plans to open a fourth in Chicago. In all, Latex International added 19 percent to its manufacturing capacity in 2005 and then another 19 percent in 2006.


Mattresses are sold through a variety of channels including furniture stores, specialty bedding stores, department stores, mass merchants, wholesale clubs, telemarketing programs, television infomercials, and catalogs. Distribution channels for mattresses include retail, direct marketing and e-commerce. Tempur-Pedic, for instance, sells its products in approximately 6,150 furniture and bedding retail stores and 200 department stores in the United States, out of a total of approximately 10,000 stores it has identified as appropriate targets. Within this addressable market of approximately 10,000 stores, it hopes to increase penetration to a total of 7,000 to 8,000. Sealy sells its products to 2,900 customers through more than 7,000 retail outlets, which include furniture stores, national mass merchandisers, specialty sleep shops, department stores, and warehouse clubs.

Tempur-Pedic and Select Comfort brought excitement and change to the distribution channel. These companies, top specialty mattress producers, changed the industry's structure. Each has strong marketing programs making mattresses aspirational. Both use targeted print, radio, television, and internet media. Select Comfort's media is especially memorable.

Overall the mattress distribution channel is local and regional. HFN, the newspaper of the Home Furnishing Network, said that in 2001 local and regional mattress shops captured 40 percent of retail bedding sales. The International Sleep Products Association 2006 mattress industry report of sales and trends estimated that 30 percent of bedding is sold at local and regional stores. Figure 136 depicts the largest mattress shops and estimates the number of stores each has.

Select Comfort dominates, since it is the only national presence. Other mattress companies are local and regional. Mattress Discounters concentrates on the Northeast. Mattress Firm's new owner, Sun Mattress LLC, concentrates on markets in the Southwest, Southeast, and Midwest. Many of these local and regional mattress shops require manufacturers to pay slotting fees for floor space, contribute to advertising, and provide floor sample discounts.


People of all ages use beds. Adults purchase beds, with many purchasing decisions made by females. Purchasing expenditures for bedding by household grows as the number of members of the household grows, such as when children are born and more beds are required. Purchasing expenditures for bedding by household also tend to rise as the average age of the household rises. The aging of the U.S. population is, therefore, a potentially positive development for the mattress market. As the Baby Boom generation (those born between 1945 and the early 1960s) ages, spending on mattresses is projected to rise.


Mattress are engineered to work with a matching foundation. Many consumers, however, want to save money by reusing an old box spring when they buy a new mattress. The Big 3S design innerspring mattresses to be used in conjunction with specific boxsprings. Serta told In Furniture in April 2006, "Serta engineers its mattresses and box springs to work together. The box spring absorbs the stress of the mattress and increases its durability." Simmons told In Furniture at the same time, "We design the foundation to help the mattress push up to support the body … Using a foundation helps prevent mattress springs from compressing too much by providing resistance from the bottom of the unit."

An innerspring mattress works better on a box spring. As the weight of the person presses down on the top of the spring, the box allows the bottom of the spring to be absorbed into the box. This creates less stress on the mattress spring so that its coils do not lose strength and integrity.

Just as innerspring mattresses are designed to be used with a box spring, specialty mattresses need to have a proper support foundation. Select Comfort air-and-foam beds are sold with a special foundation made of 100 percent recyclable material designed with interlocking panels, high-density polymer side panels, and lateral support beams for extra support. The exception is that a new innerspring mattress placed on a platform bed with a solid foundation should not pose a problem.


Research and development resulted in fire resistant models introduced in 2007 in tandem with the new federal mattress flammability standard issued by The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The International Sleep Products Association along with its Sleep Products Safety Council worked with the Consumer Product Safety Commission on the standard for five years. Sealy maintains a flame resistant test center at its North Carolina headquarters, the only one maintained by a major bedding producer. Sealy has tested more than 3,000 beds since it built the test center in 2004 and has invested millions of dollars in research and development to create new technologies that make its beds even more flame-resistant. The standard went into effect on July 1, 2007. All beds made on or after that date must meet the new flame resistant standard.

While federal protection from cigarette ignition has been in place for more than thirty years, the new standard deals with open flame sources such as candles, cigarette lighters, or electrical fires. Referred to generically as the open flame standard, it protects from threats that are more serious than a smoldering cigarette. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the standard may save as many as 270 lives every year and prevent as many as 1,330 injuries each year when fully effective.

In its new consumer brochure on the open flame standard, the Consumer Product Safety Commission demonstrates that after 3 minutes, an unprotected bed will be in flames, while an open flame-protected bed will exhibit only a charred cover with small flames burning.

The new standard is anticipated to save lives because it is designed to give consumers more time to escape a fire before it gets out of control and to limit the severity of house fires. In order for mattresses to pass the new flame resistance test, they must be able to withstand exposure to open flames in a controlled burn and resist ignition for thirty minutes. The logic is that thirty minutes provide a window of escape. More importantly, an open flame protected mattress is less likely to fuel a larger fire in the home, one that could imperil other family members and the firefighters called to fight it.

New mattress labels will state if the mattress meets the requirements of the new open flame law, and as long as it is paired with an appropriate foundation or boxspring, the foundation also needs to meet the standard. CPSC does not specify which types of flame resistant materials should be used to construct the bed; it only requires that the beds pass the burn test.


One trend is premium high priced products. Traditional bedding manufacturers focused on premium products following the lead of specialty makers. Tempur-Pedic and Select Comfort have large advertising budgets that helped raise consumer awareness about the benefits of specialty mattresses and drove prices higher as mattresses came closer to becoming an aspirational product. Because one trend often produces its opposite, as the premium segment received attention, the opposite trend, discounted mattresses, emerged as well.

The trend of lower priced products was started by Tempur-Pedic. In 2005 Tempur-Pedic challenged other makers by releasing a $400 luxury mattress in its OriginalBed line. In October 2006 Simmons announced a new starting retail price point for its value priced DeepSleep line down from $399 to $299. DeepSleep models feature 336 extra tall open-coils manufactured by Leggett & Platt which provide an additional inch in coil height. Added height provides support while creating a thicker mattress profile without additional foam fill, which is expensive. In 2006 Simmons estimated that industry-wide 40 percent of mattress sales are priced $500 and lower. For the rollout of its new Beautyrest line, Simmons spent $11 million, influenced perhaps by the big marketing campaigns of Tempur-Pedic and Select Comfort.

In the same month that Simmons lowered prices, Sealy rolled back prices on some Posturepedic models and made broad price reductions in its high-end Stearns & Foster line. The Posturepedic price cuts take pillowtop beds down by $100 at retail to a range of $799 to $999. Latex and innerspring Posturepedic models that were retailing at $1,199 and $1,299 have been reduced to $1,099 and $1,199.


Women buy beds and makers target them. Since the top ticking is the first thing buyers see, producers target women buyers with ticking. Comfort Solutions used bright colors in its March 2007 introduction of a new Laura Ashley Home line: lavender and green and lavender and peach. For the Serta top of the line Perfect Day 2005 collection, it targeted women with a unique color scheme and a distinctive border treatment. Knowing it was their high-end product, Serta worked on the border design for over a year before it chose a ticking from Global Textiles. The Sealy Posturepedic SpringFree latex line, first introduced in 2005, uses a neutral and subtle off-white knit ticking with taupe accents for the borders and handles to create a classic and classy top ticking color scheme.

Serta is targeting women with its Vera Wang by Serta collection. Vera Wang became famous designing wedding dresses, and targeting women buyers of mattresses is a logical extension of her market. Spring Air is also targeting women. Its new spokeswoman for 2007 is author Jennifer Louden. Known as the Comfort Queen, Louden has written several books to help women find comfort in their lives. Since comfort is a key bedding attribute and women are the primary decision makers in bedding purchases, it is a logical fit.

Mattress makers also target vacationers at resort hotels. Simmons started the trend in 2002 when it partnered with Westin to sell the Westin Heavenly Bed. The Westin Heavenly Bed at Home is available at Nordstrom's department stores. Tempur-Pedic is targeting the hospitality industry. At the end of June 2007, it retained approximately twenty independent sales representatives to target certain hotel chains and attend hospitality trade shows. At the same time, it started an advertising campaign focused on the segment.

Tempur is also targeting the approximately 15,400 U.S. nursing homes and 5,000 U.S. hospitals that have a collective bed count in excess of 2.7 million. It believes clinical evidence proves its products prevent and treat pressure ulcers, or bed sores, a major problem for elderly and bed-ridden patients. It is partnered with healthcare vendors focused on the segment.


Better Sleep Council;

The International Sleep Products Association;

Specialty Sleep Association;


Buchanan, Lee. "An Alternative to the Alternative: Transformation in the Mattress Industry." HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network. 2 October 2006.

"Ex-Mattress Firm Exec Opens Franchised Birmingham, Ala., Sleep Shop." Furniture Today. 7 August 2007. Available from 〈〉.

Kunkel, Karl. "Making Mattresses Tick: Manufacturers Rely on Distinctive Colors and Textures to Create Products that Entice Consumers with a Great First Impression." HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network. 12 December 2005.

――――――. "Mattress Matters: Using Box Spring." In Furniture. 3 April 2006.

――――――. "No Time to Rest: Mattress Specialty Retailers are Working Hard to Prepare for the New Year after a Tough 2002." HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network. 20 January 2003.

――――――. "Once Upon a Mattress." HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network. 31 May, 1999.

"Mattresses: Buyers Guide." Consumer Reports. November 2006.

Perry, David. "Basic Facts about the New Federal Mattress FR Standard." Furniture-Today. 2 July 2007.

――――――. "Luxurious Latex Takes Center Stage in Bedding." Furniture-Today. 30 July 2007.

――――――. "New Tempur-Pedic Bed Offers More Familiar Feel." Furniture-Today. 19 February 2007.

――――――. "Sealy Rolls Back Pricing on Stearns, Posturepedic Models." Furniture-Today. 30 October 2006.

――――――. "Sealy, Simmons, Serta Lead Pack." Furniture-Today. 18 June 2007.

――――――. "Simmons Lowers Opening to $299." Furniture-Today. 19 October 2006.

――――――. "Simmons Makes Visco Move: Mergers with Comfor-Pedic." Furniture-Today. 2 July 2007.

――――――. "Simmons, Tempur, Select Set Fast '06 Growth Pace." Furniture-Today. 18 June 2007.

――――――. "Sleep Survey: New Mattress a Low Priority." Furniture-Today. 15 May 2006.

――――――. "Specialty Bedding Continues to Make Waves." Furniture-Today. 18 October 2006.

――――――. "Tempur-Pedic Steps Down $400 with New Original-Bed Visco Set." Furniture-Today. 1 August 2005.

Schiller, Gail. "CNN's Beck in Bed with Ad." Hollywood Reporter. 20 July 2007.

"Select Comfort Signed Beds Raise Big Bucks." Furniture-Today. 15 January 2007.

Stevenson, Seth. "Going to the Mattresses: How to Cut Through the Marketing Gimmicks of Sealy, Serta, and the Rest." Slate. 23 November 2000. Available from 〈

"Survey: Sleep Seen as a Key to Good Health." Furniture Today. 2 August 2007. Available from 〈〉.

Toth, David. "Riding the Crest of a Profitable Wave: Latex Bedding Manufacturer takes Advantage of Unprecedented Industry Growth." Fairfield County Business Journal. 18 July 2005.

see also Linens