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Are Premium Brand Mattresses Worth the Cost?

Given that people spend almost 30% of their lives sleeping, it's not surprising that they are willing to shell out thousands of dollars on mattresses. But, are these brand name mattresses really worth your money?

People spend almost 30% of their lives sleeping. As such, we highly value creating a comfortable sleeping environment. However, creating the perfect bedroom can cost a fortune, especially given that well-known brands like Tempurpedic and Simmons can easily charge thousands of dollars for their mattresses. But are these brand name mattresses really worth your money?

Mattress Brands Overcharge Consumers

To assess whether mattress brands actually overcharge their customers or not, one need not look far from their financial statements. According to their financial releases, both traditional brands and major online brands make a huge profit margin of around 50% on their products. This means that they are charging double of what it costs to manufacture them.

Mattress brands make around 50% gross profit margin on their products

Not only that, there is no evidence that expensive mattresses that costs thousands of dollars actually are more comfortable than the ones that cost a few hundred dollars. For example, Consumer Reports rated cheap models from online brands like Casper or Leesa higher than expensive models from traditional companies like Tempurpedic or Sealy. Amazon reviews and ratings also don't show any evidence that more expensive mattresses are better than cheaper ones.

Online brand mattresses cost a fraction of premium brands while getting similar to better ratings

Why Do Mattresses Vary So Much in Cost?

Traditionally, mattresses were very hard to sell online. First of all, people wanted to try lying on them before purchase. Secondly, they were very difficult and expensive to ship to customers because of their bulkiness. The combination of these two factors created an extensive network of mattress stores that employed sales people who pushed mattresses to customers who came into try out their new beds.

Not only that, brands worked with retailers to obscure pricing and increase margin. For example, both the brand and their stores would markup mattress prices by 300-600%, and then provide "discounts" that were ultimately still extremely expensive compared to their actual cost of production. This was necessary due to the fact that there were so many middlemen between the brands and the customer, such as the shop owner, the salesperson on the floor, the delivery company and the massive advertising industry that these companies employed to build their brand. To put it another way, about 30-40% of the price you pay goes into convincing consumers to buy an expensive mattress. In contrast, only about 1-2% of the price goes in to actually researching and developing new mattress innovations.

Mattress brands spend about 30-50% of their revenue on sales and marketing, while only about 1-2% go into research and development

Online-Shopping Is Making Quality Mattresses More Affordable

Recently, however, e-commerce has flipped this dynamic around on its head. Because foam mattresses are easy to ship and store, online brands that sold directly to consumers could offer mattresses that were 30-80% cheaper than the traditional options and still offered similar (if not better) quality. They also let consumers try their products for free by offering 30-90 day free trial periods. In fact, these brands are so popular now that Tempur Sealy's revenue actually declined in 2017 for 2 years in a row.

Tempur Sealy's revenue declined in 2017 for 2 years in a row

This trend has also been happening in Singapore. For example, numerous online brands have begun to sell their products on online shopping malls, where queen sized mattresses with 4.5 to 5 star ratings are available for just S$200 to S$500. Consumers can also save another 5-10% on these mattresses by making the purchase with a good online shopping credit card.

mattresses being sold online in Singapore cost only S$200-S$400 while getting 4-5 star ratings on Lazada

Of course, everyone has a different personal preference on what type of mattress like sleeping on. However, one doesn't necessarily have to shell out thousands of dollars to find the mattress that works well for her. Most of the premium brands charge an exorbitant price to cover their sales & marketing expenses, and plenty of startups have used that to their advantage to deliver good value to consumers. If you can shop smartly by researching, reading reviews, and utilising discounts codes and cash back credit cards, you should be able to find a great mattress without breaking your bank.

Duckju Kang

Duckju (DJ) is the founder and CEO of ValueChampion. He covers the financial services industry, consumer finance products, budgeting and investing. He previously worked at hedge funds such as Tiger Asia and Cadian Capital. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with honors, Magna Cum Laude. His work has been featured on major international media such as CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, the Straits Times, Today and more.