Consumer Psychology – Understanding the Millennials Way of Mattress Shopping

The millennials are shaping the world now. They make up more than 30 percent of India’s current population, creating a huge impact on the mattress industry and retailers. It is important to understand how to evolve the right concepts to target this population and hold its interest. Being able to understand the culture of millennials will provide many advantages to the mattress industry.

Till now, the marketing of mattress products is mostly aimed at the previous generations because of their buying
power. But, with the millennials having entered their earning age, the industry will have an early-bird advantage if the
focus and marketing resources are also dedicated towards this population. Over the years, much research has been
done to understand and market products for the millennials and the time is now for sleep product retailers to shift focus towards them.

What do we know about millennials?

The millennials often prefer a digital experience, and this is one of the primary markers that define this generation. This
often leads to them having clearer ideas regarding products and making purchases. So, the millennial buyer is most likely to be sure of their purchase decisions even before actually buying the mattress.

Millennials have grown up in a world largely influenced by digital media, and they spend the majority of their waking
hours interacting with digital devices. Thus, their buying choices are also largely influenced by digital media.

Sustainability is a big yes to these youngsters as they are connected to the global community. They usually
research products and their origins before making big purchasing decisions.

Sustainability, durability and environmentally acceptable mattresses do influence their decisions. For example, if the
mattresses are made out of coir, recycled or natural products, the millennials will feel confident and make their purchases without feeling guilty about harming the environment.

As this has been an era of new concepts, ideas and disruptions, millennials appreciate innovations and accept
technologies that improve their health in the long term. Technologies like temperature regulation, antimicrobial
qualities, and foam mattresses that fit the contours are more acceptable to them.

What the eye-opening research found out

In all, 43 percent of millennials said sleep is more important to their health and they are more likely to say that they
don’t get enough sleep and are thus likely to buy more sleep accessories. Recent research done by the Better Sleep Council, which is the education arm of the International Sleep Products Association, suggests as much. Millennials, overall, are estimated to spend over $300 billion in India.

Millennials have grown up in a world largely influenced by digital media, and they spend the majority of their waking hours interacting with digital devices. Online marketing and other information sources are very important to attract millennials. As time progresses, and with the Covid pandemic in the backdrop, the focus on online marketing will only grow.

Millennials seem to make purchasing decisions faster. The study found that 79 percent of millennials spent less than a month from starting their shopping to making purchases. Since they are more likely to say that they are happy with a shopping experience, retailers should be able to sell big-ticket items to them with more ease.

Millennials are also more likely to make repeat purchases, as nearly 47 percent of the last generation said they are
likely to keep the mattresses for 10 years or longer. Only 15 percent of the millennials said they are going to keep the
mattresses for 10 years or longer, while 44 percent were replacing their mattresses that were less than 5 years old.
This means that millennials are a stronger segment for repeat purchases and have a long time ahead of them.

While millennials typically opt for less expensive mattresses, they are also more likely to buy accessories. But, that does not mean the focus should go entirely away from the previous generation. They continue to spend more on mattresses and are more likely sure of their purchase decisions. The previous generation has also entered into an age of solid savings, so they are also likely to buy quality and more expensive mattresses, while Millennials look out for deals.

How to include Millennials in your Marketing Strategy

For physical stores, the older generations are more valuable than the millennials, as the previous generation still
would like to touch and feel the products before making purchases rather than ordering online. The study found
that 70 percent of older generations still made purchases in brick-and-mortar stores, as compared to 50 percent of
millennials. They also rely on information from in-store sales professionals and displays put out rather than online buying options.

Older people also have concrete ideas about where to buy mattresses and what products to buy. They are also less likely to fall prey to advertisements since they have dedicated stores that they buy from; whereas Millennials almost depend entirely on advertisements to make their purchase decisions. So, the mattress industry should definitely apportion more time, energy, attention and resources towards attracting and engaging millennials.

Online marketing and other information sources are very important to attract millennials. As time progresses, and with the Covid pandemic in the backdrop, the focus on online marketing will only grow. As the millennials start researching even before making purchases, there should be enough information available to them online. Over 40 percent of the millennials said they were aware of the brands.

Millennials use more online sources to glean information about different kinds of mattresses, technologies and pricing.
As compared to older generations, millennials rely on online platforms and different media sources throughout the entire process, from making the decision to completing the purchase.

A large segment of millennials are highly certain about how much they are willing to spend, and more than 50 percent
would have made up their minds on the type of mattress they need and would have already selected their brand. The
research also revealed that the millennials considered only one or two mattresses when shopping for mattresses, which
is much lower as compared to older shoppers. This stresses the need for mattress brands to increase their presence
online and attract the millennials and give them channels to know about the products rather than convince them when
they actually make the purchases or visit a physical store.

This also makes it important for mattress product marketers to constantly update information online, keep working on brand-building exercises, use newer technologies to hold the interest of the millennials and make payment, purchase and delivery options easy and convenient. If marketers wait to approach customers only when they are actually making purchases, then they would miss out on opportunities to actually sell any product.

How brick-and-mortar stores can compete with online retailers

Here are some of the pointers on how to make that happen

  • Offline retailers should look at what online stores cannot and do not offer to their customers. The biggest advantage of brick-and-mortar stores is that they allow customers to touch and feel products before they make the decision to buy mattresses.
  • Though doing research online is convenient and can be done anywhere, getting information in physical retail stores is much easier and less time-consuming as salespeople and store managers have a wealth of information on every product. They can explain to customers in simple terms the advantages of various products and offer comparative pricing on the spot
  • Millennials really value their time, and the online experience has shortened their attention span. The physical store personnel should keep in mind that a customer has taken an effort to visit the store and their time should not be wasted
  • Retailers should be able to pinpoint the exact mattress that a customer needs by asking a few questions. While this can be done online too, it takes a lot more time and a consumer has to go in circles before arriving at a decision.
  • Physical stores can offer to deliver the mattress within a few hours of the customer ordering it. This is an advantage as online stores take up to a few days to make the deliveries. This should definitely be a strong marketing point. Since the physical stores have lesser distances to cover to make deliveries, they can assure the customer that the product can arrive in a better shape than online deliveries.
  • The physical store can always be a better and brighter place to visit than online stores. Since the millennials have expressed being happy while shopping, the experience can be augmented with brightly-lit stores, selfie corners, Instagram-able photo options and tasteful displays. One should not forget that the shopping experience is still about visiting physical shops, even if it is for window shopping, rather than going through website after website.
  • When it comes to choosing a mattress, size and price are the most important considerations for millennials. Free delivery and quality also are important. Other research suggests millennials also care about sustainable materials and other innovations.
  • Companies have to stay ahead of the curve and provide cutting-edge technologies to be acceptable to millennials. When the millennials make their purchasing decisions, they not only go deep into the product but also the company. Mattress firms that keep the ideals of giving back to society and helping the environment will get the thumbs-up from this generation. If the imagination of this population is captured now, it will be a long-lasting association and increased, recurring revenues for firms.

Generational habits are changing, marketing needs to change too

Millennials are absolutely certain about getting good quality sleep and are willing to spend for that. Studies have found
that they rated sleep above diet and exercise to support their lifestyle choices. Nearly half of all the millennials also
said that they used some kind of app or device to monitor their sleep, something that very few people from older
generations practice.

The millennials are a generation of upgrades. As they do with their smartphones, tablets and other devices, they also
want to upgrade their mattresses. The number one reason for them to buy the new mattress is to upgrade from their
present mattress to a better quality mattress with improved technology. This mindset needs to be used by retailers to develop their tactics.

The pricing and size of the mattress hugely matter to the millennials. Free delivery and quality are also equally
important. More millennials had positive emotions while shopping than the older generation.

They said they experienced optimism, anticipation, serenity and joy. The only negative feeling was they were
overwhelmed by the range of products that they have to choose from. So, providing the perfect product through a
quick and meaningful experience is the key here.

Though the millennials are comfortable with online purchases, nearly half of them still bought mattresses from
brick-and-mortar stores.

There is a lesson here, and offline retail stores can build on their strengths to keep millennials coming back to their shops and spread the message through word of mouth, which can be amplified by online platforms. But, the time
to act is now, and without the push to digitization in certain aspects of the retail business, this will not be possible.

ISPF is an industry body which promotes importance of sleep and role of mattress for a Indian consumers. ISPF plays very important role in connecting Indian bedding industry ecosystem. ISPF also acts as bridge between India and international players.