Look-Alike Mattresses: It’s Not Just You

Find out why so many mattresses look and feel the same and how you can make sense of a crowded mattress marketplace.

By Andrea Pisani Babich

If you are confused and overwhelmed by shopping for a mattress, I’m here to tell you: it’s not your fault. There are literally hundreds of mattress companies — almost 200 online companies alone — and distinguishing one brand from another can feel impossible.

Stack on online mattresses piled on top of each other

It’s not because you’re not very discerning or haven’t done enough research. It’s not because you don’t know what you want. The most important reason you can’t tell one mattress from another is that most bed-in-a-box companies use one of the same four mattress manufacturers, potentially using the same materials and the same design.

According to Dan Schecter, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Carpenter, one of these four manufacturers, their company produces mattresses for 40% of the mattress industry. Their clients include over a dozen bed-in-a-box brands as well as traditional mattress companies like Tempur Sealy. Schecter says that Carpenter does not use the same foam formulations for multiple mattress brands, but he describes the design process this way:

“The customer comes to us…they say they want a mattress that does these things against the body, and they would like to have these features and advantages as part of their marketing story. We then create the mattresses that dovetail with what their vision is.”

Assuming that every mattress brand will request a mattress that relieves pressure points, for instance, there are only so many ways a manufacturer can respond to such a request, inevitably resulting in similarities in their mattress designs. And with only four manufacturers taking a shot at meeting their clients’ design request, there is bound to be significant overlap in the final products.

Now there are companies like Brooklyn Bedding who control and manage the production process from start to finish. Brands like Leesa, Tuft & Needle and Casper design their own proprietary foam layers making them distinct from other bed-in-a-box mattress materials. When this is the case, we’ll make note of it in our mattress reviews.

Similar by Design

It’s not always an unfortunate accident that any one mattress begins to look and feel like many other mattresses. Newer companies often try to ride on the coattails of other successful, more established companies, hoping consumers will confuse them with the big guns.

Just look at mattress company logos, for example. Here are the logos of four of the major players in the online mattress field.

Notice anything curious? You don’t have to be a graphic artist to see that the letters in each logo are remarkable similar as is the overall effect of the design: modern, sleek, minimalist, simple. That’s probably no accident, according to Armin Vit, co-founder of the graphic design firm UnderConsideration. Such confusion could mean that the success of one brand will mean a win for another.

And it doesn’t stop there. Ever hear the firmness level of a mattress be described as “just right,” or “universal firmness.”? With descriptions like that, it’s no wonder there’s so much confusion.

A Crowded Field

Do we really need so many mattress brands to choose from, especially when many of them are indistinguishable from others? Probably not, but there’s money to be made and the timing is right for new companies to enter the field.

There are a few reasons why the past few years have seen online mattress companies popping up on the Internet like so many crocuses on the first warm spring days.

  • Terrible Shopping Experiences. For years, consumers have complained about their awful shopping experiences in bricks and mortar mattress stores. Uninformed sales associates, high prices, and assessing mattresses in ten minutes by lying in a bright showroom while a sales person tries to earn a commission are just some of the reasons why buying a mattress in person can be a nightmare.
  • The Name Game. A little-known industry secret is that many stores offer the same mattresses under different names. According to Daniel Levine, Director of the Avant-Guide Institute, which studies social trends that influence the global marketplace, one store may sell a mattress called “Best Ever Sleep” and another store may sell the very same bed calling it “Great Sleep.” The result is you have almost no way to shop for the best price since it appears that all of the retailers are selling different beds.
  • Price inflation. Bricks and mortar mattress retailers are notorious for marking up the prices on their beds, many as much as 900%!

So, customers have been ready for a new way to buy mattresses for a long time. The big innovation that finally allowed many new companies to enter the online mattress market was the recent improvement of the “roll pack machine” that can compress mattresses and roll them into a handy, easily shipped package. According to Jonathan Prichard, Founder and CEO of MattressInsider.com, the new roll pack machines “enabled internet companies to ship mattresses across the country with minimal freight costs,” fueling the recent explosion in the numbers of online mattress companies.

Online companies offer a much less manipulative, more comfortable experience with extensive product descriptions, access to customer reviews, lengthy in-home trial periods, and competitive prices that cut out the middle man’s mark up.

Mattress Advisor Can Help You Meet Your Match, er…Mattress

At Mattress Advisor, we know how confusing shopping for a mattress can be, whether it’s online or in a store. We work hard to take the confusion out of mattress shopping by giving you as much information as possible so you can see clearly how one mattress differs from another.

Our comprehensive reviews include scores that incorporate human performance tests, material evaluations, ease of purchase/return, customer service, and brand integrity. With our 6-point testing procedure and 8-point evaluations of every single mattress we review, you’ll be able to find which mattresses meet your needs and wants in the bedroom for your perfect match.


CNBC: cnbc.com/2019/08/18/there-are-now-175-online-mattress-companiesand-you-cant-tell-them-apart.html 

Justin Brady: justinkbrady.com/online-mattress-companies/

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