- The article says, "If consumers recognize a brand, it creates a situation where mattress stores are slashing prices to compete with each other." But how is that different for Samsung or LG TVs?
- "The number of mattress manufacturers is close to 500," meaning in the US I presume. Why are there only 19 TV manufacturers that market in the U.S., and probably not many more in the whole world?
- Why do mattress manufacturers obfuscate the model numbers so that "every one of the stores gets a slightly different mattress" making it impossible for consumers to compare? TVs aren't like that. LG's current lineup seems to be 11 different models for 65-inch TVs and 3 models for 60-inch TVs. It's perfectly easy to compare LG's prices online vs Best Buy vs other stores.
So why are the mattress and TV markets so different? To take a stab at answering my own question, I think it's because mattresses are still mostly made locally in the US since they can't be shipped great distances (like from China), so they don't benefit from huge economies of scale and cheap labor. And many of those 500 manufacturers probably serve a niche geographical area, so they actually have less competition than TVs manufacturers. Hence they can get away with 300% markup whereas TVs manufacturers operate on tiny margins. Therefore TVs need to compete on features and price, but mattress manufacturers have traditionally used high-pressure tactics and obfuscation to make sales. Anyone have a better explanation?
The result is a standard asymmetric information scenario: the seller knows much more than the customer about the actual quality of the product. And standard microeconomics tells you that in such a situation, the market will be dominated by lemons: products that don't have to (and can't) complete on features and price, and are sold by "high-pressure tactics and obfuscation".
The difference between the mattress market and an idealized market dominated by asymmetric information in standard microeconomic theory is that most people aren't willing to take the option that standard economics recommends for such a situation: don't buy at all. Most people consider a mattress to be a necessary purchase, not optional, so they have to just do the best they can in a highly imperfect market. (Similar remarks apply to, e.g., the used car market: most people who are shopping for a used car are doing it because they have to--they need a car and can't afford a new one.) Many other possible markets which would be dominated by asymmetric information if they existed, simply don't exist, because people can choose not to participate.
I can't sue anybody for a year's salary if I don't like my mattress (I don't).
Instead the market is dominated with inflated prices and mostly harmless procedures and tests. Sometimes the information isn't asymmetric, it's just difficult or sometimes just not a habit to try to find the best prices.
Here's an example that blew my mind a while back:
I was helping a friend with limited income afford medication. Generic Prozac, an extremely common drug.
Here are the current prices at Costco (you'll find the same trend many other places).
FLUOXETINE HCL 20 MG CAPSULE x100 $17.03
FLUOXETINE HCL 20 MG TABLET x90 $141.09 ($156.77 for 100, the price is listed for different values)
Look at that, nearly a factor of 10! For the same drug in a gel cap instead of pressed into a tablet. This isn't cherry picking, you can find the same scale of differences anywhere. Sometimes a drug will be cheaper in a tablet, other times a cap.
We had to call the doctor to get a prescription for the capsules, but for someone on a not-so-far-above-minimum wage job, that was a huge difference.
I only figured this out because I was curious about the difference and wanted to find out the best price, then I was blown away when I saw the vast differences in price. Anyone _could_ do the same thing for all of their prescriptions, but insurance and apathy mean that nobody cares so the market is extremely inefficient.
So, no US healthcare is very much dominated by Lemons.
PS: Modern medicine delivers most of it's benefit from fairly inexpensive treatments.
I'm supposed to wait until after I leave the doctor's office and fill the prescription to know the side effects of a medication I just spent money on? So if I don't like the side effects I have to make another doctor's appointment and wait until the doctor has availability?
So I go to my doctor and say "I have X problem." Doctor says "take these pills." I go to the pharmacy and read about the medication. I say "well these side effects don't look good, I don't want to take the medication." I go back to my doctor, the doctor says "here's some different pills" and I have to fill that second prescription and compare the two side effects.
No, that's not good enough.
There's also the problem that that information is given in a vacuum, there's no information given about what the alternative treatments are for your condition and what the side effects are for those alternative treatments. That discussion rarely occurs to my satisfaction at the doctor's office because oftentimes the doctor seemly doesn't know about the side effects or is misinformed.
This has just been my experience...
For me, the medication in question was given to me in an acute setting. I asked directly about side effects and I was brushed off as "oh most people don't have any side effects" or something of that nature. Especially when the medication is administered by a nurse and I was just given pills, I had to firstly ask what the medication even was.
"big issue I have with doctors, I don't know if they are going to prescribe me some bullshit"
You want a somewhat different relationship with a doctor, it probably is not going to be very easy if your attitude is like that and you are not particularly willing to spend time and make effort. Finding the right doctor for what you want can be difficult, especially when you yourself are difficult.
I read all of my prescription documentation, and if there is an issue I raise it with my pharmacist or my doctor. Sometimes I go out and find journal articles too.
Sounds like you are using the VA, I'd believe you if you said it was time consuming and the doctors didn't have enough time for you.
You would end up paying for a plan that would not not actually cover you when you had a catastrophic health event (Or would cover a lot less then you'd expect.)
The main problem I see with the health care market is just what I said above: the people who are paying for the services are not the same as the people who are receiving them. This means that the price signals the market is sending are not well matched with the actual value of the services to the people receiving them. Standard microeconomics says that such a market will be highly inefficient, which I think the health care market generally is. But "inefficient" is not quite the same as "dominated by lemons".
For a mattress, a review is less helpful. Firmness is probably the most noticeable feature of a mattress, and what's good or bad is mostly a matter of taste.
Or are you saying the replacement after 5 years, a low end, was much better than the previous one it replaced? But you said they were both better, not the newer one was better.
I bought two lowend 32 inch TVs five years ago. If I remember correctly, they were about $350. I replaced them with TCL Roku 32 inch TVs for $169 (regular price). The Roku TVs were much better - smaller bezel, better pictures, and the Roku smart TV platform is the best you're going to find as far as features, interface, etc.
Indeed I'd imagine most would simply follow what "the expert" tells them. When it appears to go against their view they'll say "your the expert" and go along with it.
Sadly I think "the expert" is most likely selling according to the profit margin/bonuses.
As long as the choice isn't dire for the customer then they'll come back in 2-3 years and do the same.
FWIW IKEA offered 90 days "trial" when I bought my last bed a couple of years ago.
I liked it for a few months so I never verified if their return policy worked.
The interesting part in my opinion is that in the mattress market this branding system seems not to work.
That reputation needs to be established by either word of mouth or general reviews. For mattresses, word of mouth isn't that good because people have different preferences.
Moreover, general reviews have essentially been corrupted by 'astroturfing' reviews. That is, almost all mattress reviews that are prominent are financed by a manufacturer. They then use publishing clout or heavy SEO to be found over any possible remaining reviews.
Besides, single user reviews aren't that valuable because of personal preference and lack of comparison mattresses.
Thus, it is really hard for an honest reviewer to start. They need capital to get sufficiently many mattresses. Then, they need to be found, thus going up against the heavily SEO'd dishonest sites. Finally, they need to stand up to all attempts from the mattress companies and dishonest reviewers to actually survive.
Finally, bad-mouthing brands' product quality is again stymied by personal preference and the small number of mattresses anyone sleeps on.
Here I'm not sure the name Bosch is worth anything, and you might as well buy a Zanussi, our student flat had all Zanussi stuff and nothing broke in the 10 years they had them.
And a store can easily game this by selecting the most pleasing settings on the most expensive TVs.
I think you nailed it with that. But now the question is: can we do something about it?
Note that branding is not necessarily a solution to this problem, except possibly in the short term. That is, a seller can work to establish a brand reputation--which, btw, will generally (by standard game theory arguments) include costly signaling, such as expensive advertising, that sellers of lemons cannot duplicate. But as soon as the brand reputation is established, the seller has an incentive to take advantage of it by gradually reducing quality. Buyers know that this incentive exists, which limits the degree to which they are willing to believe even costly signaling; and therefore establishing a brand reputation is not a long-term stable solution to asymmetric information.
The other potential solution is for credible third parties to exist who give unbiased and accurate quality ratings to the various sellers. But this, of course, is vulnerable to being gamed: sellers have an incentive to offer rewards to the third parties in exchange for more favorable ratings. This then becomes just another version of the brand reputation situation above: buyers know that the third parties will be tempted to sell better ratings to sellers, which limits the degree to which those ratings will be believed.
I can speak for this because I've actually experienced this. When I went to a local mattress store and found a mattress I liked, I was unable to find it online by name/model. Only references I found were to the same mattress store chain. Each chain makes sure all of their mattress brand names are unique to them, to prevent the exact kind of price shopping I was trying to do. Oddly enough when I went to a few other local mattress stores, I found very similar mattresses as the one I liked before, under different names.
E.g. What Chain A called 'Premium New Haven Sapphire Deluxe' was very similar to something Chain B called 'Silver Cooper Plush' and Chain C called 'Luxury Sunfire Extra Soft IV'.
Now the reason this is different from Samsung/LG is that you can buy the same (or almost the same) Samsung at Walmart, Amazon, Costco, or Best Buy based on the rough specs (size - 60", type - LED, features - SmartTV). Can't really do this for mattresses because there's no 'New Haven Sapphire' in Chain B, C, or any site online.
Alternatively, sometimes it is about preventing arbitrage. Nobody wants customers to be able to pay $300 at one place and take it back for $400 in store credit somewhere else.
I've seen that on induction hoods and computer displays. Another trip to the shop to get the missing part that's overpriced.
I can't speak for the US, but in Germany all kinds of electronic appliances (TVs, washing machines, toaster ovens) are regularly advertised in the two big electronics stores' brochures and newsletters, and the model numbers are very often nothing the manufacturer's website knows about.
I say it is more akin to shipping produce than TVs. We don't get the majority of our veggies from a single farm for all of the US.
People want to spend on mattresses because they believe spending a lot on mattresses will improve their lives in some way. Less fatigue, less pain, less stress, etc. These are big selling points. However, they are selling mostly snake oil.
As for why mattresses are so expensive, I think a lot of it is "because they can." I think there is also materials and such. A bed with two people in it might hold over 400 pounds for 8 hours a night 7 days a week for years. If a tv had to do that it might be more expensive too.
I lean toward the 'because they can' argument, which means, what the market will bear.
If they are not sold within a specified time and stored properly (not stuck in a hot warehouse or cargo container), they are useless.
Also, mattresses are not currently being subsidized by adware/analytics apps and companies.
The extravagance of large-screen TVs is arguable, of course, especially if one has a particularly large room and/or regularly hosts large audiences, but mattresses..
When one can get even a brand-name mattress and box spring from Costco (with, I believe, no special restrictions on their usual, generous return policy) for on the order of $700, that people pay multiples of that prices still boggles my mind.
TVs can be like that. Costco is known for using different SKUs for what would otherwise be the same product.
Questions on my budget, spending time to show me the mattresses (and then making me feel guilty that they spent all of this time on me), etc. Offering me a "last minute" deal once they saw that I was leaving. It was dreadful.
In this regard, IKEA can be a good compromise on price, selection, and their employees' relaxed, non-pushy demeanour. You get to try the mattresses and no one (except other customers) will watch over you.
Contradicting all of my points above, I do want to say that investing in a Tempur-Pedic was a life changing decision. I definitely spend a more "rewarding" time sleeping in it.
(((obviously, but just in case someone is wondering, I'm not astroturfing for IKEA or Tempur. Just a satisfied customer...)))
Ps, check my past comments - I am not a shill, just someone who digs tempurpedic.
I should replace it with something else, but I'm far from sure I can find something.
Gel memory foam is the nice compromise. You get the memory foam but with a gel topper. It's noticeably cooler and a bit firmer than typical memory foam. We got one and have since moved the regular memory foam into the guest room.
I got this one from WalMart because I think once you get above $500 for a mattress you see a cliff of diminishing returns in quality. I’m quite happy with it.
On the topic of thermal mass, more thermal mass would actually keep you cooler longer, because it would take longer to saturate the mattress with heat. Ventilation is probably a much more significant issue than thermal mass though.
I switched from a memory foam mattress to the Purple specifically because of the heat issue.
This should resolve to a very competitive market with costs trending to marginal manufacturing cost. Instead, you have high prices for consumers and competition for the tremendous sales margins driving a marketing bidding war. IE consumers pay 400%. 100% is used to make mattresses. 300% is used to market mattresses.
IMO, this is something like the wine industry. People want a premium product, but a premium product doesn't exist. So, the market spoofs it with marketing.
I had never heard it described this way. I love it.
It's certainly the case, of course, that while there's a big gap between a $10 and a $50 bottle of wine, naturally the gains for price points above that get incremental pretty quickly in much the same manner as TVs — is a TV that costs $9,000 over four times as good as a $2,000 model?
Wine experts often stumble on double-blind tests, sure, but then again, so do audiophiles trying to differentiate lossy and lossless audio.
Don't feel bad for me though :) Being a philistine is not life-threatening.
Wine is a good example because it's proven to be nonsense. Neither experts nor consumers can rank wines for taste in either a consistent way or a way that corresponds to price. Prices & blind test preferences are random. OTOH, people demonstrably prefer expensive wine when they know it's expensive.
This comes back to my earlier point, it's not all economics. Human beings are complicated. In these cases, some of us want to pay a premium for a premium product. There is no such thing, so the market spoofs it.
I just want to point out that this is true of basically all food, drink, and art. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinction_(book)
Is this $900 phone better than this $200 phone, or two $200 phones? IDK, but at least they are different. The question is not (IMO) about absolute rationality, but having enough rationality to drive a market. Wine & mattress markets don't have it. You can't offer a near identical wine or mattress cheaper than market price and expect it to disrupt the market, forcing competitive price-cutting.
I suspect most people in a properly run double blind test would be able to tell you what they like, but that wouldn't be repeatable over time and it wouldn't correlate with price.
Your last sentence about audiophiles is odd, because everyone knows audiophile hifi is full on nonsense.
Being able to slap a label on someone else's product and have them handle both production and distribution while you just do the marketing is the dream for a large chunk of the Valley, I guess!
Furthermore, some formerly independent breweries are owned by Budweiser, but that doesn't make their beer suddenly taste bad. Goose Island has been owned by Budweiser for 7 years now, for example.
Mattresses and wine are pretty straightforward examples because "marketing" is straightforward, advertising and sales. It seems obviously wasteful when $400 of your purchase price was spent on FB ads, $400 on sales and only £200 on manufacturing.
In the garment trade (a much bigger industry), there's still that insane manufacturing/price ratio. It's just that "marketing" is more complicated, involving premium retail experiences and difficult stock management. In both cases, you could hypothesise a different structure where stuff gets produced and shipped to consumers at a fraction of current prices.
But... this particular thing can't really happen in markets where people want/need stuff and can't afford it. Cheap/cost-price alcohol (also wine) is also available, and popular. This can only really exist when people don't mind paying more.
I have a Leesa as it was the only mattress (at the time) which fit my bed properly. The fact that all these companies can offer 100-365 day trials does hint at how stupidly large the margins are.
I don't think they ask you to ship it back; I think they contract with some local charity to come pick up the mattress, or just toss it and write off the loss.
And assuming they agree that it deserves a replacement, you have to pay shipping costs for them to ship the replacement.
So.... you can either pay $500 to ship an $800 mattress back to the factory and hope that they agree that it's defective enough to deserve a warranty replacement.... or you can just buy a new mattress.
Makes the 10 year warranty pretty meaningless if you pay more in shipping costs to make a claim than the mattress is worth.
"Purple will cover the shipping or pickup charges for returns and exchanges, except when there are extenuating circumstances. You will be informed beforehand if extra charges will apply."
which is consistent with what I was saying, which is that you don't have to pay return shipping.
But I think you are right that shipping costs dominate; from what I hear, the reputable brands will give you a refund and send someone local to haul off the mattress for free.
From their warranty page:
Any to-or-from transportation handling and costs and inspection costs associated with repairs or replacements are the responsibility of purchaser
So basically, don't count on that 10 year warranty for any of these mattresses unless you can truck it to the factory yourself.
Minimum warranty period in EU is 2 years.
Under the UK Sale of Goods Act products have to be free from defect, there's no official time limit, it's based on expectations in part. A mattress should last much longer, so that would be a defect in manufacturing and the _seller_ has to make good (repair or replace at their cost).
Anyone here had one of these rolled-up mattresses for 10+ years? The long term durability of these roll-up mattresses is a concern for me.
That and mattresses are notoriously horrible to recycle anything from, so caring about mattress longevity is both selfish and selfless.
She prefers a softer mattress so we rotated it about a year ago and it's been fine for both of us since then.
I've slept on her side a few times and it's been fine, so maybe having a lighter person on it has let it firm up a bit.
The "return" for the Leesa was a disposal truck from 1-800-Got-Junk. It already had another Leesa mattress on it from that morning. Used mattresses can't really be resold; I hope they're at least somewhat recyclable.
Concerned with paying lip service to health and safety (and maybe create an extra regulator job or two)? Sure. But at some point, labeling everything as cancer causing takes away any meaning what so ever. I think California labels something every week as cancer causing. It's just become noise at this point. Here's the latest now for ya: Coffee https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/03/29/coffee-cance...
Have you ever worked hospitality?
Which means sure, if it works out, but mostly these are probably still going into the trash.
If it's a foam mattress, it doesn't exactly go back in the original box, because it's vacuum packed and expands after opening.
Other people in this thread said they took the mattress and donated it or recycled it.
I don't have a critique from any sort of experience aside from that I sleep well and its comfortable.
I have the soft king size for the bedroom, and 2x full size mediums for the guest beds.
My wife stole the free giant shredded foam pillow. I probably couldn't take it from her if I tried.
I like it quite a bit. When I was getting shipped around on a plane every week for work, the hotel super soft pillows really didn't stack up. You get used to having something that fully molds to your head.
Is it better than all the other companies? It's still very difficult to tell without trying them side by side. When I bought it there weren't that many offerings in the UK - I think it was only Leesa, Casper and Simba.
One concern is that there's no way of easily removing the cover, and all it'll take is one glass of wine to ruin it. So while it looks great in the photos, really you'll want to put some kind of protector on it.
I also tried one of Casper's pillows, which was great until it started bunching like crazy and is now useless. Don't waste your money on the expensive upsell 'accessories'.
It feels great for me, I like a firmer mattress, but it’s not too firm.
Here are the highlights:
1. Half the price of the equivalent at Sleep Country
2. Didn’t have to deal with mattress sales people. Margins are so high there is usually a negotiation. Given the varying types of materials, I don’t really know how to price and why I should bother knowing the ins and outs of mattresses. I don’t like the upsells. Makes it feel like going to a car dealership.
3. Shipped and got delivered fairly fast.
1. Buying it sight unseen can be unnerving, especially for a $1,000 purchase. I guess that’s why they have the generous return policy.
2. Differentiation. I don’t know how Casper is different from Leesa. I went on a review site and trusted it, I guess, but even then, they seemed to be made the same way more or less.
And all of these products have at least 20 to 30 or more other listings of the exact same product with some other made up "brand name" on it.
I have to wonder if the low barrier to entry takes Hotelling's Law and explodes it into high gear. Like, how many actually-different mattress design patterns and materials are there anyway?
These are good, but in my case they couldn't beat a setup that is an order of magnitude cheaper, simpler and better. A simple custom-made japanese shikibuton, filled with felted wool panels and a buckwheat pillow. I put this on a modular set of bed slates to avoid insects, get better airing and avoid cold floors.
I treated a few years of my life as an experiment to improve my sleep. I bought a Hästens and that latex IKEA mattress. I used them for 3 years, switching back and forth every 6 months. Then I made this custom shikibuton, and after a few months I never looked back.
There is some literature which explains how we evolved sleeping in relatively firm setups. Big, expensive and mushy mattresses tend to be a bit too soft and you end up developing neck aches as I did. A better option is just some slightly flexible wood base, or a tatami, and some thin cushion. In fact, another less unconventional setup I like is a horsehair topper, like one of those from Hästens, on top of some wooden base.
My shikibuton is really cheap. It's washable! I can open my futon, put felted wool panels in the washing machine and it's dry in a day. It's very comfortable. It's ended up my perennial neck issues. It's convenient, I can transport the whole system in my tiny car.
A simpler, non-washable alternative is to have a big cover filled up with buckwheat hulls. Every 6 months, compost hulls, buy new ones, and wash cover. Every month, empty hulls into a bag and wash cover.
I don't understand why this alternative is not more popular in the West.
> Every 6 months, compost hulls, buy new ones, and wash cover. Every month, empty hulls into a bad and wash cover.
Alternatively: Have a mattress for 10 years, do nothing.
Buckwheat hulls can easily last 5 years without maintenance. Still, I prefer the wool alternative, which again doesn't need to be cleaned often or at all, as most people do with their regular mattresses.
The fact that stuff is washable is an advantage for me, because I'm a bit allergic, and regular mattresses don't have a simple way to be deeply cleaned. The best thing you can do so far is to vacuum them with a Dyson for mattresses.
Can you explain your "bed slates" further? All I want is a simple raised wooden platform, and they're absurdly expensive. Bed frames in general seem like a totally messes up market; Ikea's fucking slats could drive a man to murder, and anything else is overpriced or cheap and overdesigned
At some point im going to be forced to build the damn thing myself if the market is going to refuse to sell anything sensible
The idea is simple, just some blocks you connect (2 or 4) and some legs, so it's easy to ship and transport. The design above is good, but IMHO it's better to have some flexible wood. Especially if you are a side sleeper.
You can usually buy decent ones in the US or UK for $150 if you look for futon platforms. If you want some flexibility but you don't want to go the custom route, buy a tatami raised platform and buy a tatami.
> At some point im going to be forced to build the damn thing myself if the market is going to refuse to sell anything sensible
I did this and was so happy with the results that I built a second one for the room that we rent out. Probably $80 in materials and a few hours to assemble. Feels sturdier than the floor it stands on (no weeble wobbles). Photos: https://imgur.com/a/gtwmS
Could share plans but it's pretty simple: 1/2" sanded plywood for the surface, 2x6 outer frame, 2x4 joists, 2x4 legs that bolt to the frame, a pound of 3" screws. The plywood surface sits about an inch inside the frame, creating a lip that holds the mattress in place.
If you don't have power tools then HD / Lowes can can make all the cuts for you (I recommend this for the plywood as they have the best saw for it), then all you need is a drill to put the thing together.
$150 for a full-size platform that folds and is made of solid wood seems like a good price to me.
You can get lower if you go for a metal frame, e.g. Zinus:
Why wait? If all you want is a simple platform, you couldn’t beat the price of buying and cutting some wood yourself.
I'll beat the price at the cost of time and effort (and probably some favors), and I'm not sure carpentry interests me enough for the learning to have much value. So its a last resort, if I can find nothing decent, and decently priced.
A. Put a listing on Craigslist asking someone to build you a simple platform. Say that you'll pay for the materials, and get them to quote a price for the labor. Maybe ask them to deliver it, as well.
2. Find a local maker space. They likely have the tools you'd need. You can rent a pickup truck from a local U-Haul or Home Depot usually. Cutting wood is pretty much the easiest thing you could learn to do in an afternoon. Find out the dimensions of your desired mattress, and for a platform bed, you'll be pretty okay if you play it safe and make your platform 4 inches wider & longer than your mattress (2in on each side of the mattress). Pick up some plywood to go over the frame if you don't want to cut 20 slats--you could, say, make a frame out of just 8 boards, and then screw plywood to the top of it. For the legs, you don't need anything other than, say, a 4" high simple wooden furniture leg to bolt to the platform itself. Then you just bolt/screw it all together.
D. If you really don't want to spend an afternoon of your life cutting some wood, buy a decent boxspring with a wooden frame, then go to Home Depot and pick up 5 or 6 4x4 plain wooden furniture legs. Simply drill a hole for each leg into each of the corners of the boxspring, and add the extra 1 or 2 legs in the middle of the boxspring for centered support (1 if your bed is queen or smaller; 2 if it's a king). Screw the furniture legs into the included tee nut that you hammer into the drilled hole. It won't make much of a mess, and you can have it done in 1 hour. Drilling 5-6 holes is about the only thing simpler than spending an afternoon cutting wood & bolting it together. I did exactly this for my boys' beds, and they even had a blast helping.
Also, dense cinderblocks make excellent speaker stands.
I don't enjoy my middle-aged 'grown up' furniture any more than I enjoyed that stuff.
Tuft & Needle probably was the first one to come out with this concept, and probably is still the best priced one. I have two T&N queen mattresses for more than 4 yrs. Been very happy with these in terms of comfort and durability. Never going back to any of the 4S mattresses.
No reason for me to try other mattress in a box brands, because they are way more expensive and dont seem to be any more comfortable than T&N.
Best thing about mattress in a box, is that if I have to move to an another place, I sell my current mattress and get a new one where I move. One less thing to carry while moving!
Nope. That was Nest. Or, at least, Nest came out with it a year before T&N. But they also failed to get a mention in the article.
Instead of merely airing the bed each morning I run a dehumidifer. Hopefully this will reduce mould & mites. Now HN can tell me why my personal mattress hack is a bad idea.
When my kids were tots and we took them to day care, the day care center had a collection of little beds for naps, which were some kind of durable fabric mesh stretched over a frame. I've often wondered how that would work as a general purpose mattress for adults, with little chance of festering over time.
This is why memory foam is so effective - instead of having 1024 springs, add more add more!!! - we just get a porous composite material with 1000000 tiny nooks which basically act as springs. Latex on the other hand, if not in foam form, can be solid, and gains its "spring" properties just from its tensile chemistry alone. No nooks needed. But latex foam is sold..which is a marriage of the two ideas.
In any case, hammocks aren't gonna hurt you from sleeping on em occasionally, especially since the pressure points will mostly be your back as hammocks are often hung loosely, so that the attachment points can be much much higher than your actual body, therefore moving most of the force to a vertical pressure, instead of that lateral pressure we talked about.
If it's all a marketing ploy, as the article implies, then there's a lot of happy people benefiting. ;)
They've just switched us from feeling like we can pick the right mattress through trying a dozen in a store to reading online reviews. Both are biased, but everyone needs some way to feel confident about a big purchase.
I think we switched them at least once, but honestly can't remember how many times, and can no longer tell which one I "really" like.
Through this process I learned... I don't actually have mattress preferences, short of it not being a bunch of rocks.
I'm sure some people actually have preferences, but I wonder if this is an area, like vodka, where you can make people feel strongly like they have preferences between two things that are barely distinct, if at all.
Notably, mattress stores participate in the classic tactic of price inflation, as well as taking the same model of mattress and giving it a different name, making it much more difficult to comparison shop:
>For example, the popular Simmons Beautyrest line has different brand names at different stores. The "Beautyrest Recharge Allie" at Macy's is called the "Beautyrest Recharge Devonwood Luxury" at Sears, the "Recharge Signature Select Hartfield" at Mattress Firm, and the "Beautyrest Recharge Lyric Luxury" at US-Mattress.com. If customers don't realize these are names for the same mattress, it's harder for them to bargain effectively.
Then again, maybe these online mattress companies are doing the same thing too, just one step removed. At least there's no pushy sales staff when I order a bed in a box.
I can't help but feel like the entire podcasting industry was funded by businesses that are 'cutting out the middleman' as if this is a novel concept. Frankly, the mattress-in-a-box companies are nowhere near the worst offenders in this regard!
I can definitely see the value of the ability for customers to actually REVIEW the options, though.
New, king sized (1.8 x 2.0 m), mattresses go for €200-1500 (about $250-1800) in Germany, with prices gravitating towards the lower end of the spectrum. Americans use much springier mattresses (box springs are unheard of here, and foam mattresses are standard), but I'm incredibly skeptical that quality of sleep is systemically worse. The whole thing has the feeling of a ginormous scam / rent-seeking.
I think it might just be a class thing? If you want a $100 mattress in America, you can get one for super cheap:
I'm just saying that I think that most Americans don't blow a grand every time they want a new mattress.
There was some movie where these street guys were talking about the best stolen stuff to sell on the street. Scissors. Everybody needs em, no one knows what they cost.
Go for good sleep surely but living alone $100 air mattress I sleep fine. Glad I didnt go for the $1000 matress in a box. Had a $2000 bed plus a $2000 mattress before that.
You're throwing numbers that are a year of disposable income. That's madness for the rest of the world.
I ended up buying a $200 queen size mattress on Amazon. My fiance and I have been sleeping on it for ~2 years - never once had an issue, easily the best mattress I've ever owned. I can post the brand if someone wants to know, but I'll refrain for now as I'm not interesting in shilling for some company.
My wife and I spent an hour trying different beds and through all the firm and soft and plush and ultrafirm ultradeluxe ultraplush nonsense.
Talked to the salesman, and he pretty much said the only difference between the REALLY low end $599 ones, and the $799+ ones, was coil count. Once you hit 799+, he told us, it was all kinds of toppers and so on. But the coil count doesn't effect warranty or how often you should replace it.
My wife's favorite bed was the $599 simple firm one. That was my second favorite by a narrow margin; my favorite was way down her list.
Delivered to our house a day or two later; again, no sales tax, no need for a box spring because we had a platform bed.
It's still a REALLY REALLY industry, and I'm not saying Americans don't pay more than they should, but I'm not sure our price range is particularly out of whack with what you saw, and this is for coils, not foam.
At Ikea you can easily get a cheap foam mattress; we have one in our guest room. I've slept on it when I'm sick. It's fine. I don't prefer it, but if it's all I ever knew, or if I spent as much time on one as I've spent on coil mattresses, it might well be my favorite.
Yet, not many people here buy foam mattresses, or mattress from Ikea at all.
Perhaps the bias is just that Ikea = cheap, but some trendy internet-advertised foam brand with a new name and a fresh face must be some new high-tech amazing thing.
So far I've changed it twice, every 10k. To be honest, I meant to do my own change after 1000mi as it was my first new vehicle and I figured there was no harm in doing an early first change to satisfy my concern about the supposedly-old-wives-tale of flushing out breakin materials on my first-ever new car.
To make up for my guilt at doing the bare minimum I do a Blackstone oil analysis. Great so far, but what I expect out of an engine which, at 26,000 miles, has still not done half the mileage as my previous lowest-mileage car was at purchase!
Purchasing a mattress can be like purchasing a car when it comes to getting a good deal. Let's say you know what car you want, so you just e-mail dealers back and forth until you get their lowest offer. The same could be done with mattresses. Thoughts anyone?
I’m pretty sure that at the time, Tuft and Needle was the main name in the game, and I definitely hadn’t heard of Casper at that point, so there seems to be a bit of revisionist history attributing the rise of these mattresses to Casper? I don’t know.
I’m still happy with my T&N.
The inflection is taking something that used to be branded as a long term investment, and making it into something that doesn't have to be. Consumers seem to be reacting well to this change since there are many benefits. Everything else seems to be standard piling into a new market when there is obvious demand.
I got a similar feeling when a company advertised in my Facebook feed that it had “reinvented belts,” and then a different company advertised more or less the same thing a few weeks later! Same with pills designed to boost your brain power. One week you are being pitched by brand X, the next by brand Y, and each one gives the impression that someone passionate about belts, or neuroscience, or whatever, poured their blood, sweat, and tears into this revolutionary new product.
Edit: I actually bought a “reinvented” belt, and I love it. I wonder if modern marketing, i.e. Facebook, makes it possible to “reinvent” mundane objects and make a buck, maybe the way it used to be before products became more commoditized and distributed by big corporations.
Got a link for the belt?
What's funny is that people get rich reviewing mattress online and we developers still debate inheritance vs composition like it will make or break a business ;)
For example, someone else in these comments loves their floor futon, but I loathe mine.
IMO it looks like the mattress business is 99% marketing.
It is a rectangle of foams, I would love it if companies stopped pretending that they spent thousand of man hours improving it while they all come from the same factory (I am not even exaggerating much here :/ ).
I moved to the US recently and was shocked by how big the mattress business is here and how costly these are.
Mattresses are in a way kinda interchangeable. Sure there's different quality and a well worn mattress will be different from a new one, but, in general, you probably aren't going to sleep differently on a different brand of a similar quality mattress.
About 6 years ago I read that people who bought their mattress from the internet we're just as satisfied with their purchase as people who tried them out in the store beforehand.
Plus most people's opinions suck anyway.
this whole mattress in a box segment is essentially 70% marketing and 30% RD//Production//Shipping. Those companies price around 1000$ for a mattress, but I highly doubt the production (and shipping) is anything more than 150$.
I'm happy there is an alternative to the older shaddy company that cornered that market (sleeptrain and all of those), but it's still too much marketing, too little value for a fairly simple product!
(I have a Leesa and it's a mattress... It's ok).
I would much rather re-buy my setup again every time I move, than spend a ton of money on a "proper" mattress and deal with moving it/dealing with movers — for now, at least.
2 years later and I have no complaints with my 300$ Amazon foam mattress.
Casper was not the first mattress in a box online company. But Casper definitely is the first company to get the marketing right.
Given how they sued people who gave bad reviews to their products, I think that is more than enough reason to never buy from them, especially sight unseen.
They claim their mattresses are better because of reduced EMF radiation (compared to traditional mattresses with springs) and when i called them out on their pseudo-science bs I got a nasty reply telling me I was wrong and to do some research!
That's kind of why certain furniture brands catered to urban markets (smaller dwelling) tend to make some of furniture able to be dis-assembled: much easier for moving around.
Pretty much as soon as you buy a bed, your car is too small. And if you're at the level of self sufficiency where you own a bed, you probably own other things like chairs, tables and chests of drawers.
I figure they do it that way because it is much faster than just letting the vacuum do the work which for a production facility is a must. But when you have a small budget and more time then using the vacuum directly is the best way to go.
There is an interesting branch of manufacturing related to this trick:
Finally went to Ikea and tried a 200 AUD mattress, that felt good too so got that.
All the mattress were medium firm and I could not figure out any difference with all three of them with the 20 second demo.
The hardest part of shopping for this was finding pocket coils and a mattress enclosure/cover. My troubles finding this may have been because of my personal preference. There may be some alternatives to the typical mattress enclosures.
Just a few days ago, AVE did a few videos showing evidence that there may be a single supplier for some new airguns that are on the market. Thing is, these air guns range in price from less than $100 (harbor freight) to well over $500 (premium brand). He tested a Husky brand that was much more expensive than the HF one and found it to likely be worse than the cheap one. He had a good theory in the video that no one can beat manufacturing overseas now days for quality or price. So everyone just outsources it and is hoping no one notices.
And once someone figured out that you can roll and vacuum seal a mattress and ship UPS - lots of online stores.
Writing this while laying on an Avacado latex mattress.... HATED every second of mattress store nonsense... oh you’re having a sale just today!? My goodness how lucky! :/
I don't know for other countries, but German startup Bett1 was started in 2004. It became famous in Germany for uncovering the "mattress mafia", a cartell formed by producers and retailers that ensured their ridiculous high earnings stayed in place, eventually leading to criminal investigations by the authorities.
Has anyone who wasn’t a fan of memory foam mattresses been swayed by any of these companies? We live in the south and haven’t liked the few we’ve tried for them sleeping hot and general feel. Kind of wish I could try before I buy.
To be clear: I’m sure I could find a nicer mattress, but this was easy and represents a good value.
If you are doing or are interested in a _personalized_ mattress business/start-up, please drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking for collaboration partners. (We are a technology start-up, not a mattress company.)
If your distribution model has always been freight no need to try anything else - then someone came along and did something else.