Shopping for mattress is entwined with the constant experience of sticker shock for the buyers as mattresses can sell at vastly varying prices, from a low of $150 to a high of up to $8000. And for common buyer it is really difficult to gauge what the additional cost is actually contributing in terms of giving one a better sleep experience, if anything.
Sadly, in most cases its nothing. Mattresses have profit margins up to 6-15 times the manufacturing cost, i.e. a buyer could be paying $5,000 for a mattress that costs $300 to make. The reason for this is that there is an oligopoly in mattress industry, meaning the whole industry is dominated by a few major players. The top 15 companies make up approximately 80% of all the revenue. If all these players corroborate in their margins, the consumer has no choice than to be taken in by their game.
The question is, what exactly are these companies doing that “justify” these ridiculous markups?
1. Spreading Misinformation
A mattress company will sell the same product with different names and labels at the different retailers. Only a true mattress expert will be able to see through and compare prices. Moreover, this enables the retailers to compete for match prices with other retailers, as they are the only one who are selling that specific mattress.
2. Retailers And Commissions
Most mattress companies sell their products via retailers, who also take their cut. Not only that, but the person who makes the sale also gets a hefty commission with each mattress sold. Due to this, a salesperson would likely sell the most profitable mattress for themselves rather than the one compatible with the consumer’s needs.
3. Complicated Mattress Jargon Aka Extra Features
A buyer is often assaulted with words like, gel-infused, extra coils, European pillow top, Dunlop or Talalay processing, extra inches of foam. Most people have no clue as to what all these features mean and what they do for them, but they sound great so they must be good. Plus, nobody but a real expert can judge a mattress after laying on it for 5 minutes. This leave a good seller with a ton of advantage and the company a ton of margin.
4. Lack of Consumer Knowledge
It is very difficult to evaluate a mattress company as everyone have very specific and varying sleep inclinations and expectations, moreover, consumers only buy a mattress once or twice a decade. The only point of contact in this whole system I the local salesman who is incentivized by the commission. Without any other point of reference, it is very difficult for a buyer to know or learn if they are getting a good deal or not.
5. Lack of Negotiating Experience
Generally, in US, the people rarely negotiate, other than for cars and mattresses. People maybe uncomfortable with the negotiating process and think they have gotten a deal due to lack of knowledge and experience, even when they haven’t. A salesman may knock off the tax, though knowing the massive markups of the product, he could knock off a lot more and still make a reasonable cut.
How Much to Spend for a Good Mattress?
There are no cost definitive markers that could classify the mattress as a good or bad one, there are, however, a few indicators that could be considered. These indicators include:
- Durability: How durable the mattress is
- Lifespan: How long it will last
- Material: What’s it made up of? For example, foam or spring
- Variety: Type of mattress i.e. gel-infused or memory foam
Generally, a good mattress can be purchased for between $500 to $800, whereas a really high-quality mattress can range from $800 to more. Considering the amount of use it is put through, if used for 8 years, a $1300 mattress would cost $42 a night, which seems quite reasonable.
How Long Will a Mattress Last?
Mattresses usually lasts eight years before they begin to degrade, though this usually depends upon the weight and sleeping patterns of the user. If the product costs ranged between $200 to $250, then it will likely last three to five years.
The consumer’s weight, the merchandise’s specifications and the frequency of use all impact the products lifespan.
What Factors Influence the Cost ?
The price increase with the change in variety. Generally, the least expensive one would be the spring mattress, followed by the pocket spring, memory foam and then latex mattress. The density of filler material also influences the price, with denser all-natural costing more.
The fabric used also fluctuates the selling prices, with synthetic fiber costing less than natural fibers.
Mattresses are one of the most important and most used items in the home and cost accordingly, so it’s crucial that the investment is done after proper consideration of both the company and the product.