The mattress industry has sprung to life.

The global industry is forecast to grow at 6.5% CAGR from 2016 to 2024 to reach a value of US$43 billion. It is no wonder savvy retailers are tossing and turning on how to thrive in this sector.

Longstanding UK market leader, Dreams, launched its “Replace Every 8” campaign, encouraging consumers to replace their mattresses every eight years to optimise comfort, quality, hygiene and support. By attaching an “expiry date” to all new mattresses, consumers benefit from this reminder, and Dreams potentially boosts its turnover.

The traditional process of purchasing a mattress was cumbersome and lengthy, often involving a trip to an out-of-town retailer. Faced with a seemingly infinite selection of mattresses, impenetrable jargon and dizzying discounts, mattress shopping became a taxing consumer experience.

Key players in the UK mattress industry have emerged in an attempt to disrupt the market. Their strategy is to offer a limited selection, presenting only the best products to the consumer. Loaf sells a selection of “just 5 insanely comfy mattresses” to simplify the consumer experience and shorten the decision making process. Coupled with clear descriptive terminology and a relaxed retail environment (both online and in their two stores, called “slowrooms”, shown above) this setting offers a new way of mattress shopping.

Another business mixing up the mattress market is Eve. Offering one single mattress and available solely online, Eve has created the mattress-in-a-box model; compressed, vacuum packed and rolled in a box, delivered free of charge. Once on the bed, Eve expands to its natural size within hours. It even comes with a 100-day refund guarantee. Eve recently received £6.9 million funding and was featured in the Top 10 UK start-ups of 2016.

So will these new models disrupt the market? Huge stores packed with incoherent ranges of mattresses are a thing of the past, but choice per se is not without merit, given our varied shapes and sizes, needs and preferences, and our growing appreciation of sleep quality. The new models are changing the market, however, and the purchase decision is becoming easier for customers. Larger retailers are having to adapt to provide a combination of customer education and logical product assortment and – crucially – well-trained staff who understand how to segment the range into a personal shortlist for each customer.

Holly Jackson