Five years ago, I could have named the top online mattress startups that were disrupting the traditional bedding industry.
Now it’s impossible to keep track of all the new brands popping up left and right.
Why are there so many online mattress companies?
A Brief Background
Online mattress companies selling their wares directly to consumers first gained traction around 2011-2012 when companies like Tuft & Needle launched.
But the concept of direct-to-consumer mattress sales started around 2006. A company called BedInABox introduced it.
By 2014 when Casper joined the market, the idea of buying your mattress online and having it delivered to your door was getting popular with customers tired about haggling with sales reps in bedding stores.
Leesa and Purple joined in 2015 and Nectar Sleep joined in 2016.
Since then, numerous new companies have come up, all trying to distinguish themselves in an industry where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out.
Disrupting the Bedding Industry
There were many problems with the sales models used by traditional bedding giants.
Their mattresses, most of them imported, had to pass through multiple intermediaries before landing in a big box store or a specialized bedding store.
Prices were astronomical with 4-figure price tags being the norm even for fair quality mattresses.
Add to that the lack of clear distinction among different brands.
It was and still is, a headache to try and buy a mattress from a brick and mortar store.
What made it worse was the unfriendly return policies.
Most companies charged high restocking fees for returns and made the whole return process so onerous that most customers had no option but to keep the mattress, whether they liked it or not.
The industry was ripe for disruption.
How Online Mattress Companies Changed Things (For the Better)
Online mattresses companies have introduced a new way to shop for a mattress and bedding in general.
Instead of trawling among limited selections in a brick and mortar store, you can do a quick search online and order a mattress from your couch.
The biggest advantage of online mattress companies is its price. Their sales model eliminates mediators and overhead costs.
So prices are much lower compared to brick and mortar stores. You can now get a decent memory foam mattress for $700-$1,000 (Queen).
Even luxury hybrid, pillow top, and organic mattresses cost half or a third of store prices.
Online mattress companies have also eliminated the risk of buying a mattress that you are not sure you’ll find comfortable.
Instead of a 15-minute test at the store, online companies provide 60-100 days to test the mattress at home with free returns if you don’t like it. Others like Nectar give you a full year.
Once you combine all this with the ease of shopping from home and the wide variety you can access by just your phone, it’s easy to see why people no longer want to go to big box stores to buy a mattress.
Entrepreneurs see this as an opportunity to enter the market before it becomes too concentrated.
The fact that there’s still no clear market leader makes the opportunities all the more appealing to investors and entrepreneurs.
It’s not just startups disrupting the old way of selling mattresses.
Big companies like Walmart, Amazon, and Sealy are jumping into the fray with their trendy bed-in-a-box brands.
Expect even more companies to come up in the next several years. There’s still a big market share left to seize away from traditional brands.
A Problem for Consumers
While this kind of growth and competition is generally good for customers, it can, ironically, make mattress shopping harder.
When there are hundreds of brands to choose from, each probably offering several different products, it can be challenging to find the right mattress.
That’s why companies like Casper and Nectar are going all out with advertising, trying to become the dominant brand that customers automatically go to.
As a customer, we recommend going with trusted brands that have good customer feedback.
Our online mattress reviews can also help you compare the top mattresses in the market and choose the right one for your needs.
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