What’s In Your Mattress? Do Consumers Really Care About the Materials, Construction and Chemicals Inside Their New Mattresses and Bedding?

What do consumers really care about when they are buying a new mattress? Every piece of meaningful research on consumer preferences from Furniture Today and other sources confirms that consumers are mostly interested in comfort, support and performance leading to a really “good night’s sleep”, as well as price or real perceived value when purchasing a new mattress.  

So the questions have arisen: do consumers really care about what is in their mattress, just what are the materials used, which chemicals are part of the mattress and what goes into that mattress or how is it constructed?

Recent reports from ISPA and Furniture Today indicate that nearly 20 million mattress units are sold in the United States every year, and along with that another 17 to 19 million foundations or box springs are sold. Total sales for these reached 38 million-plus units and  $14.2 billion in retail mattress/ bedding sales.

According to Furniture Today’s July 27th “Making the SLEEP Connection” column written by David Perry, consumer research “…found that one in three consumers –31% - said that the main construction materials in a mattress are important to them when they buy a mattress for themselves or spouse or partner..”  That 31% of $14.2 equals $4.58 billion in sales that are affected by consumers wanting to know what is inside a mattress. Perry wrote,  “Any good retail sales associate should be able to talk knowledgeably about how the materials inside the bed will yield a good night of sleep.”

In October 2015 Colonial LLC, a leader in mattress showroom top-of-bed displays and POP materials released a study that stated “ seven in ten respondents said that it is ‘very important’ to them too know how a mattress in constructed.”  This research makes an even more compelling case that  $9.94 billion in mattress sales could be affected by a retail sales associate knowing what is in the mattress that the RSA is selling to the consumer.

Believing there is ample evidence that a significant percentage of consumers really do want to know “What’s in Your Mattress”, while also keeping it simple, and getting to the point, The Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) is now re-introducing a new, simplified “consumer disclosure contents label program called BEDFAX. It is a simple, third-party, voluntary contents verification program supported by extensive written documentation, testing and certifications declaring the percentage by weight or volume of the materials, chemicals, and contents in the mattress cover, the quilt or comfort layer and the core of the mattress. BEDFAX is a contents transparency program, not a “green” marketing program, although one can make “green” claims by submitting current, active certifications and testing reports from valid third parties according to guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission for meeting substantiation requirements.

The simple, easy-to-read BEDFAX contents labels will make it easy for both sales people and consumers wanting to know exactly “What is in Your Mattress.”


Dale T. Read
President of
The Specialty Sleep Association (SSA)