Everyone reaches a point where they need a new mattress. You walk into your local showroom to look around and then it hits you – they’re not cheap!
From $1200 to $3000, many of us are shocked to notice that we have to pay so much for a bit of cushioning at bedtime. Does this sound like you? If yes, then it is only a matter of time before the inevitable question pops up on your mind.
Why do mattresses cost so much? Well, firstly, the cost of raw materials and running the supply chain can cost several hundreds of dollars for the average standard mattress. Then there’s the advertising and other operational costs.
If that’s the case then the mammoth price tags mattress showrooms and retail giants slap on their products are justified right? Not exactly!
The Real Reasons Why Mattresses Cost So Much
Forget the manufacturing and operational costs, the mattress industry works like the Mafia. They’re always coming up with different schemes to extract as much money from consumers as possible. Let us look into a few of the justifications they use for their overpricing tactics.
Do you remember the last time you changed your mattress? I bet you don’t! Mattresses are one of the most durable products we use at home. The average person sleeps on the same one for 8-10 years before the need to change.
Thus, manufacturers are not expecting you to pop into their shops anytime soon after your order. So they try to extort as much money as they can from you.
Also, nobody orders a mattress for fun. You only splash out on one when your old mattress wears out and starts giving you problems at night.
Sure, we may be easily attracted to the latest model of the car we drive even though the current one runs perfectly fine but that is usually not the case for household items like mattresses.
2. Raw Materials
The majority of mattress components are derived from Petroleum products. With the price of crude oil skyrocketing within the last couple of years, manufacturers have seen their operational costs fly through the roof.
With the unstable nature of petroleum prices, many mattress brands try to hedge their bets by paying more for their raw materials.
Also, shipping these components to their factories is costing more due to the increasing prices of gas. Unfortunately, these extra costs are being passed on to unsuspecting consumers.
3. Delivery Costs
Delivery costs can be high for mattress brands and retailers. Remember, these manufacturers have to bear the cost of supplying their products across thousands of shops nationwide.
Apart from that, the modern-day customer walks into stores expecting free delivery for their orders. Thus, retailers and manufacturers are being forced to shell out on delivery trucks for their customers.
This trend is cutting into their profit margins significantly. If mattresses were as light as shoes, for instance, delivery costs would have been negligible. Perhaps, retailers would have slashed their prices to reflect that.
4. Technology and Innovation
Mattress producers have no option but to invest in innovation and technology to stay in line with the competition.
Consumer tastes are getting more refined by the day. Thus, many brands are forced to come up with constant improvements to their product lines to maintain their share of the market.
Additionally, small brands are breathing down the necks of big players with innovation. These technologies are helping them to cut down costs and improve the sleeping experience of consumers.
To put this in simple context: mattress manufacturers are being forced to innovate or die.
5. Regulatory Requirements
In the last two decades or so, the majority of small mattress brands have folded up due to the inability to meet regulatory requirements.
This is thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s introduction of the new mattress law known as 16 CFR Part 1633.
This law comes with tougher compliance regulations that have forced many small mattress brands to close shop. With their finances unable to support compliance, shutting down became the only option.
Thus, popular brands such as Sealy, Serta, and Tempurpedic are having a field day with little competition from smaller and cheaper rivals.
Labor costs have been rising within the last couple of years. With many states fighting for employee living wages, mattress makers are experiencing significant increases in their costs of doing business.
Besides, many workers are pushing for salary raises to reflect their skill sets and experience levels. As such, mattress manufacturers have little option but to offer competitive wage packages to attract and retain the best industry talent.
This is eating into their profit margins and forcing them to increase product prices to reflect that.
7. Retail Space Costs
The cost per square meter for retail space is on the rise in many cities across North America. Hence, mattress showrooms are paying more for their store leases now than any other time in the past.
This is stretching their operational budgets which are already through the roof much further. For most, increasing their product range markups is one of the few ways to stay buoyant.
8. Rising Steel Prices
Steel is one of the most important raw materials in the mattress industry. Used in the manufacture of coils for innerspring mattresses, any upwards shifts in steel prices affect mattress manufacturers.
Unfortunately, steel prices have been on the up in the last decade or so. Mattress makers are being forced to pay more for each new order.
9. Increasing Insurance Rates
Associated insurance rates continue to rise steadily. Since mattress showrooms have little alternatives, these staggering insurance costs are affecting their bottom lines significantly.
With the pressure from the other expenses, there’s a higher incentive for showrooms to make more from each mattress sale more than ever.
10. Huge Markups
Mattresses are some of the most profitable products to make and sell. It is not uncommon for retailers to mark up their products by as much as 200-300%.
This is huge compared to the average mark up of other retail products at 50%. This is how showrooms and retailers continue to thrive even when they do not sell as many mattresses.
Unfortunately, consumers have to bear the cost of these margins, leading to expensive purchases.
How Are Mattress Brands Getting Away with Overpricing their Products?
Have you ever ordered a mattress from a retail store or showroom? Chances are, you overpaid for it.
But how are manufacturers and retailers getting away with ripping off consumers?
1. Crafty Discounts
Mattress retailers and manufacturers are masters of deceitful marketing. They come up with all sorts of shady ways to get you to purchase their products without knowing you’re overpaying. The use of crafty discounts is one of their most popular tricks and this is how it works:
The retail price of a mattress might be $1,250 for instance. They would inflate the price to $2,500 and offer a huge 50% discount.
So you walk away with the shiny new mattress at $1,250 with a big smile on your face.
While you’re pleased with yourself for paying half the price of the mattress, you actually paid the full retail price without knowing. And obviously, you got ripped off as well.
2. Renaming The Same Product in Different Stores
Another shady method mattress brands love is to give the same product different names across different retailers. So while the same Mattress may be called “Governor” in one shop, it might be called “King” in another.
However, a detailed look at the specifications of both models will show that the “Governor” has the same features as the “King”.
Employing this tactic prevents consumers from comparing prices across different stores and ordering the most affordable one. Even when you confront the salesperson with your facts, he or she will likely come up with some lame defense.
They never admit to their shady tactics, do they?
3. Adding Flattering Features With Zero Sleep Improvements
Have you ever taken the time to delve into the features of a particular mattress you’re tempted to buy? You’ll be amazed at the list of technologies it claims to integrate and the number of benefits it offers for your sleep.
The same mattress finally arrives in your home after your order and you spend your first nights expecting something different.
However, you soon realize that it offers nothing new. All of those heavenly features your dream model promised were designed to get you to bring out your credit card and nothing else.
4. Consumer Inexperience
Mattress showroom salespeople know that the majority of consumers are naive concerning the whole shopping process. Thus, you walk into the store with the odds stack against you right from the first minute.
That is how they’re able to come up with all sorts of gimmicks to scam you into not just buying a mattress but overpaying for it too.
Additionally, these salespeople are masters of using your fears against you. They can make you feel desperate to buy a particular model even when you do not necessarily need it.
5. Bad Haggling Skills
Did you know that you can haggle the price of any mattress you want once you pop into a showroom or retail store? I bet you didn’t. Many of us arrive in these stores with no idea that all of the products are significantly overpriced.
We’re used to walking into Wal-Mart or any other store and paying whatever a product’s listed price is. This mindset makes it unlikely that we will haggle prices and be ready to walk away when we fail to get what we want.
Thus, we’re happy to order with any “discounts” the salespeople offer without challenging them with counter price offers.
6. No Returns/ Expensive Returns Policies
Why return a mattress when shipping costs alone can cost you over $100? This is one of the reasons why mattress shops can rip us off and get away with it.
The majority do not have any returns policy at all. Even the few that do make it so hard and expensive that you end up keeping the mattress to save time and money.
Can you believe that some stores only offer you half the price you paid to return and swap for another one? Yep, that wasn’t a typo.
How to Avoid Overpaying for a Mattress
Now that you know that you paid much more than you should have for your last mattress, it is time to get one up on mattress stores. Here are the best ways to ensure you pay the right price the next time you need a new one.
1. Research, research, and research
Brand new mattresses can be huge investments. Taking the time to research may not only help you choose the right model based on personal preferences. It can also give you an idea of which features to look for and how much you should pay.
This is why walking into different mattress stores and taking note of their product lines is such a good idea. Look at the brand names as well as the features of each one you’re interested in. Then compare the specifications and walk into your favorite store armed with all the information you need.
2. Learn to Negotiate
Good negotiating skills can take you everywhere in life. It is important to walk into a showroom with an idea of how much you should pay for your preferred model.
Don’t let the so-called discounts on offer fool you because they’re usually nothing more than sales gimmicks.
Besides, the salespeople will be more likely to offer you a good deal when you walk in with the right facts and an uncompromising stance to get value for your money.
Also, be mindful of the huge markups during shopping. Many showrooms will be happy to make a small profit than nothing at all by letting you walk away and losing the sale.
If they insist, be prepared to leave because no mattress is worth overpaying for.
3. Look for a Free Returns Policy
A free returns policy is non-negotiable when shopping for a mattress. The reality is that lying down on any model for 10 or 15 minutes is not enough to determine its suitability for your sleep. You’ll only get a fair idea of everything a mattress has to offer after sleeping on it for a couple of weeks.
This is why a generous returns policy is so important.
You should be able to return it after a few weeks if it turns out to be the wrong fit. Additionally, returns should be free or at least cheap. And don’t forget to make sure you can get a full refund in the event of a return.
4.Ignore the Fancy Names and Features
Mattress brands have mastered the art of coming up with fancy features you’ve never heard of. They make all sorts of claims about how these or those features improve the quality of your sleep. However, those “features” almost always end up offering negligible benefits if any at all.
Thus, paying more for a specific brand just because of the tall list of features can be a wrong move. Sure, you should pay attention to the thickness, foam type, and cover material. Any other listed features may just be marketing noise meant to attract your attention and wallet.
5. Ask the Store to Price Match
A great way to ensure you never overpay for a mattress is to ask your salesperson to match the price you found online. Online retail has been great for mattress shoppers. The fact that prices are cheaper on the internet means you do not have to get ripped off ever again.
Just walk into the closest mattress store to your home, show them the price of the model you prefer and ask them to beat it. They might if you get lucky. Even if they don’t, they’ll offer to match the price the majority of the time.
6. Buy Mattress in a Box
Why go through the stress of haggling prices in a showroom when you can just order online? Fortunately, you can find any mattress model on the Web today. These mattress-in-a-box options are available at great prices too.
Just check the price of any showroom mattress, write it down, and log onto your favorite online retailer. You’ll be stunned at the price differences.
Besides, buying a mattress from a website such as Amazon gives you access to independent reviews from other buyers. These first-hand experiences can give you deep insights into what you can expect from each model.
I have been sleeping on the Zinus 12-inch Green Team Memory Foam Mattress from Amazon for the past 6 months and it has been truly life-changing. Not only do I sleep like a baby at night but I also wake up energized and ready to take on any challenges. It is amazingly affordable and has 10,000 positive reviews (and counting) on Amazon alone.
A new mattress can put a significant dent in your wallet. This is why you cannot afford to overpay for it. Detailed research and developing good negotiating skills can help you save a lot of money.
But why not just save yourself all the stress and buy online? You can always take advantage of the 100-night free trials on offer too.