Why are Sealy mattresses and other name-brand mattresses so heavily discounted on a regular basis?

Have you seen Sealy’s recent 50% discount in MTR advertisements or highway billboards? The Sealy mattress sale is certainly hard to miss. 50% off? That’s an insane discount. But wait, have you stopped to consider how a name-brand mattress company such as Sealy is able to offer such enormous discounts? This current sale is not the first time Sealy has advertised a 50% sale. And Sealy is not the only mattress brand in Hong Kong that offers enormous discounts of 30%, 40%, or 50% off on a regular basis.

How are mattress stores, department stores, and mattress brands able to offer such big discounts? The answer is simple: The mattresses in retail stores are overpriced.

Yes, dramatically overpriced.

Why are mattresses in retail stores so expensive?

If you've been shopping for a mattress in a retail store recently it's safe to assume you suffered confusion and shock.  Did it feel like the mattresses all looked the same, the sales person was vague in explaining what each mattress’s benefits and the price seemed higher than you were expecting? Let us assure you, those feelings are common to practically everyone who shops for a mattress in a retail store.

Mattresses have the highest markup of any consumer product in a retail store

In fact, the mattress that the store sells for HK$25,000 probably costs less than $2,500 to manufacture. That’s right -- retail markups for mattresses are commonly 10 - 12x. If that sounds high, that’s because it is. Compared to almost any other consumer product (such as apparel, appliances, or electronics), the mattress in the department store has the highest markup -- and it’s not even close. How do stores justify the high margins? Let's explain why mattresses in retail stores are so expensive.....

research online when shopping for mattress

Mattress shopping means typically leads to customer confusion

The first reason is lack of transparency (ie, customer confusion). Because mattresses are infrequently purchased and consumers have limited information on the mattress build, most consumers are at a severe information disadvantage versus the sales person.

One way mattress brands take advantage of this type of information disadvantage is adding extra features into your mattress -- features that make incredible marketing copy (think of brands that advertise “5 zone” or “7 zone” support), but zero difference to your comfort or sleep quality. Plus, stuffing a mattress with unnecessary features has the added benefit to mattress brands of justifying a higher price to consumers.

To make matters worse, most sales people will push you toward the mattress where they make the highest commission, not the mattress that’s right for you.

And to increase customer confusion, mattress companies such as Sealy engage in a well-known industry secret: Sealy and other popular mattress brands will give different product names to the exact same mattress when sold in different stores. Why? To make it nearly impossible for consumers to compare features and prices between stores. Add it all up and no wonder you’re confused the minute you step into a mattress store! The mattress brands and stores are purposely colluding to keep you in the dark.

But it doesn’t end there. In addition to customer confusion, what else justifies the crazy markup on retail mattresses? How does a HK$2,500 mattress end up costing HK$25,000? We help you break it down in the below infographic:

Why Sealy mattresses are expensive

Mattresses have hidden costs

If your mattress has been manufactured abroad (say, Australia, New Zealand or even closer to home such as Thailand), guess what? You’re paying for overseas transport, not the stuff that goes into your mattress. Once your mattress has made it ashore, you need to add the markups by distributor, retailers, and other middlemen, then expensive brand and product marketing on billboards, buses, and trams, store rent in malls and department stores, and sales commissions. When you do the math, it’s clear that less than 10% of your mattress retail price goes to craftsmanship. Most of your money is going to middlemen, rent, and (ironically) convincing you to buy the thing!

Smart customers are searching online for affordable mattresses

That’s why savvy consumers are recently turning to companies who produce high-quality products and cut out the middlemen (and more importantly their mark-ups). It’s one of the leading  reasons to buy mattresses online. With far fewer overheads than companies that invest heavily in brick and mortar stores, these companies can offer a high-quality product at a much more realistic price - everyone wins.

hush home mattresses

Although shopping online can get you a fairer price, treat it like any other purchase. Check that the mattress you have selected has a full set of the features that are important to you. Don’t be fooled by marketing gimmicks. And look out for mattresses where more than 50% of the construction material is inexpensive foam. Yes, that’s right. A number of new online brands will pass of inexpensive foam as a revolutionary innovation in mattress design. They may even give the foam a fancy name. But it’s not revolutionary. It’s just a cheaper way to make a mattress.

So do your homework and make sure you pay an honest price for your next mattress. If you are seeking a hybrid mattress that features pocket coils and high-density memory foam, we recommend you try out the Hush Mattress. You’ll sleep better knowing the big mattress brands didn’t fool you.