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The Pandemic is Creating a Mattress Shortage and Prices are Rising Fast

mattresses in a store showroom

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If you’ve been shopping for a mattress online you’ve likely noticed that the most popular brands have some extreme shipping delays. Customers have reported delivery dates that are more than two months out in some cases. Salesmen in mattress stores have been telling their customers that prices are going to increase soon and that they should expect delivery delays.

What the hell is going on? Why is it taking these companies so long to get mattresses out to customers? Why is *everything* back-ordered?

Brands with fast shipping speeds

The situation is changing rapidly, but as of this writing these brands are still shipping mattresses within days instead of months.

  1. Casper (read review) – Most customers are reporting that they are receiving their mattresses within a week of placing their order.
  2. Purple – We’ve heard reports that customers are receiving their mattress orders in as fast as three days. Accessory orders are taking slightly longer.
  3. Saatva (read review) – The classic bed-in-a-box brand is still shipping out mattresses relatively quickly. Recent customers told me that their Saatva shipped within a week of placing their order.

Global supply shortage

It turns out that there’s really nothing that these companies can do. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on the global supply of nonwoven roll goods, since this type of material is prioritized for personal protective equipment (PPE) production (masks, surgical gowns, wipes, etc.).

It turns out that mattress companies need to use the same material when manufacturing their products. Brands like Amerisleep, Zoma, and Bear use nonwoven roll goods for pillowtop construction, backing for quilt and border panels, and innerspring coil wrapping.

The coronavirus crisis has led to a shortage of the components that companies need to manufacture mattresses. Some innerspring and nonwoven manufacturing companies have started rationing their products, meaning that some mattress brands may not have enough supplies to meet consumer demand.

Mattress coils
Innerspring coil wrapping is in short supply due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Increased demand for new mattresses is causing shipping delays

Most physical brick-and-mortar mattress stores were forced to shut down when pandemic restrictions began in March. The Department of Homeland Security decided that mattress stores were not part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce (try going without sleep for a few days if you think this logic makes sense).

Most stores began reopening in May or June, depending on state. As of October 1st, 2020, mattress stores are open in the vast majority of states. All those small retail stores reopened at the same time and placed a flood of orders for new mattresses to fill their showrooms. This pent-up demand combined with the shortage of manufacturing materials is enough to create a serious situation in the mattress industry. It’s common for most orders to have a 3-4 week delay.

Workers carry a new mattress during the COVID mattress shortage.
Workers carry a newly manufactured mattress at a factory during the COVID-19 crisis.

Reduced workforce

Many companies were allowed to continue manufacturing throughout the shutdown, albeit at reduced capacity. Like many of us, they were caught completely off-guard by the pent-up demand and are scrambling to make more mattresses to meet the spike in orders.

Companies are attempting to recall their workforce, but many workers are choosing to stay home rather than risk exposure to the virus. Other workers prefer to stay home because they make more in unemployment and other government payments than they do from their employer.

In addition to the labor shortage, factories are staggering production to help maintain social distancing. These factors are combining to create a severe shortage in mattresses for the foreseeable future.

Workers measuring foam at a mattress factory.
Workers measure a slab of foam at the C.J. Mulholland Mattress Factory.

Prices are increasing for consumers like you

Prices for mattress components have increased 15-20%, and companies are rationing supplies to make sure they can meet PPE demand. These types of cost increases are almost always passed on to consumers, and we’re starting to see that reflected in the advertised retail prices that popular brands are posting on their websites.

Online stores aren’t the only ones increasing prices, however. Physical stores have also began marking up prices, and the increases are only getting more extreme as the supply shortages deepen.

Suppliers are openly stating that they expect the shortages to last 3-6 months. You can expect that mattress prices are going to continue to increase for the foreseeable future, and that shipping speeds are going to continue to slow down. If you’re planning to buy a new mattress and you know you’ll need it soon, buy it now (unless you’re looking at Nectar, according to Reddit).

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