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Mattress Industry Grows 27.8% in the '90s

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High-quality products and promotions - plus an hospitable economy - have turned the 1990s into a "growth decade" for the mattress industry. In 1997, the industry marked its seventh consecutive year of overall growth. Since 1990, annual unit shipments of mattresses and foundations have increased 27.8 percent (or more than 7.5 million units), and the value of those shipments has risen 56 percent (or more than $1.3 billion), according to the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA). The number of mattresses and foundations produced in the United States and the dollar value of U.S. mattress and foundation shipments were both up in 1997, according to ISPA's Annual Sales Survey. National shipments of conventional adult-sized mattresses and foundations rose 5.3 percent to 35.31 million units, the largest increase since 1993, while the dollar value of wholesale bedding sales rose 8.2 percent to $3.62 billion, the biggest gain since 1994. According to analysts at Association Research Inc., which conducts the annual survey for ISPA, much of the industry's sustained growth can be attributed to a burgeoning U.S. housing market. Today's homes often are larger and have more bedrooms than in the past, which creates additional demand for mattresses and foundations. The bedding industry also has benefited from the strength of the overall U.S. economy, with low inflation, low unemployment and a booming stock market. In ISPA's 1997 Mattress Industry Annual Report and Sales Statistics, furniture industry analyst Jerry Epperson cites a number of reasons for the bedding industry's growth in the 1990s: the best delivered quality of all products sold in home furnishings stores; aggressive industry research and development that results in continuous improvement of the product; and quality national advertising programs. In addition, he credits the strength of the industry's national and regional brand names, and the willingness of those brands to invest in developing and expanding their brand identities. The full results of ISPA's sales survey, as well as Epperson's commentary and a chronicle of the events of 1997, were published in June in ISPA's annual report. The report was distributed free of charge to all ISPA members, and is available to non-members from ISPA for $195. Established in 1915, ISPA is the international trade organization for mattress manufacturers and their suppliers.

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