The best time to buy a mattress

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It’s generally best to buy a mattress during the Boxing Day and New Year sales. After which, many manufacturers increase their prices. Keep an eye out for extra savings off sale prices. Some retailers may offer up to 10% off the sale price to maximise sales. These additional savings are usually provided at the end of the sale or during bank holidays.

In a world of never-ending sales, it can be difficult to know when the best time to buy a new mattress is. Do you persevere with your old worn-out mattress and wait until the sales, or buy a new mattress now? Here’s what you need to know.  

happy young couple bed shopping

Shop online or in-store

How and when people are mattress shopping has changed. Traditionally, many shoppers would wait until the sales, then head over to their local store, try out a few mattresses and decide which one is best.

But the rapid rise in online shopping gives shoppers access to a wider range of mattresses and online offers. With more choices than ever, many shoppers prefer to browse and buy online instead.

The consensus is that buying a mattress online is cheaper than buying in-store. However, this is not necessarily the case. While bricks and mortar stores may have more considerable overheads, such as rent and wages, they may also have greater bargaining power with their suppliers. Some may have multiple locations or significant storage capacity where they can buy in bulk or nurtured long-term relationships where they receive better deals.  

When do mattresses go on sale?

Most bed retailers will have at least two sales during the year. There is a winter sale, which usually starts on Boxing Day and typically runs until February, and a summer sale, which generally begins in June and ends in September.

The sales season is a good time to buy because retailers focus on maximising sales at the expense of their margins. Suppliers typically provide sales support to retailers by providing extra discounts throughout the sale period. These discounts are usually passed onto the customer.

Boxing and New Year sales

Bed retailers rely heavily on Boxing Day and New Year sales. For some retailers, it can account for up to 10% of their yearly revenue. Customers expect to find a bargain, and retailers are under pressure to drop prices in a buyers’ market.  

Many bed retailers introduce early bird offers where prices are slashed significantly on a limited range of mattresses to increase store footfall and create a buzz around the sales. Some retailers may attract further interest throughout the sale by offering extra discounts on sale prices.

But despite the retailer’s best efforts, some shoppers may not be ready to buy and instead choose to wait until the next sale to buy a new mattress. But due to rising costs, such as raw materials, many suppliers increase prices throughout the year, which are typically passed onto consumers. So it is generally best to buy a new mattress earlier in the year to avoid the price increases.

Summer sale

Although most of us will be spending our time outdoors, summer sales are typically a good time to buy a new mattress. Many retailers offer extra discounts off the sale prices during the bank holiday weekend at the end of August.  

Price-establishing

Many bed retailers’ price establish during quieter trading periods, like immediately before a sale. This means that certain products are offered at the full price for a limited time, such as one month.

They do this to comply with advertising guidance to ensure offers are fair and genuine. Some products, such as those that carry a recommended retail price (RRP), may be exempt from price establishment rules. So you may still be able to pick up a good deal. Retailers may also offer multi-buy deals, where you get a discount for buying several items together.

It is generally best to avoid mattress shopping in stores that are price establishing. Either shop around or wait until they have a sale.

Out with the old, in with the new

Many mattress manufacturers launch new products at the start of the year, ready to be rolled out in the spring.

Manufacturers need to clear out existing stock first to make space for new products, with significant discounts on ex-display items and surplus stock on offer. This is a great opportunity to pick up a bargain. You may even pick up clearance items for less than the cost price!

Many retailers have clearance sales throughout the year. Some may be closing down, while others may be clearing stock as part of a showroom refurbishment. Stores are generally busier during these times. Clearance sales are worth keeping an eye out for if you don’t mind the queues.

Spring promotions

Many bed retailers look to the spring bank holidays for a boost in sales. This can be challenging for the industry as many shoppers switch their attention from the home to the garden or go away on holiday. Bed retailers usually respond with strong offerings, and some may even have a shortened sale. The spring promotions can also be a good time to buy.

Autumn promotions

The start of autumn tends to be quieter for bed sales, with many families getting ready to send their children back to school. Many retailers will consider autumn promotions to help maintain the momentum from the summer sale. Faced with quieter weeks ahead, some retailers may even decide to price establish instead.

Store footfall tends to pick up again in October as many of us switch our attention back to the home.

In-store events

Inviting customers to exclusive in-store events is a strategy that has been successful for many years. But retailers realise that to entice customer’s they have to make it worth their while.

These invitational events are usually a great time to buy. Not only can you get exclusive offers, but many retailers promise the best prices. Most events occur outside normal store opening hours, which may be more convenient for shoppers.

Price-matching

Bed retailers often offer price-matching guarantees by matching the lowest price if the same mattress is cheaper elsewhere.

Usually, the customer will need to provide proof of the lower price, but this reassures them that they are getting value for money. It also gives them peace of mind, knowing that they can buy the product when they are ready to and not feel pressured to decide because the offers are ending.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

In recent years, Black Friday has grown into one of the biggest global shopping events. What started as a single Friday event in November now spans several weeks. In 2019, mattress brand Emma claimed to have sold around one mattress every second during peak hours.

Shoppers expect rock-bottom prices, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get them. A recent study from Which? found that most items were no cheaper during Black Friday.

Despite this, there are some excellent deals out there, with mattress brands typically offering anything between 10% and 30% off. So if you’re looking to pick up a bargain, it helps to get all your research done early. Compare mattress prices across different websites; follow a few brands on social media and sign up for their newsletters. This will help you determine whether the offers are genuine.

Cyber Monday is an online event that typically falls on the Monday after Black Friday. UK online retailers refer to Cyber Monday as the busiest online shopping day of the year. Deals typically go live a few days earlier than the main day itself.  

Black Friday and Cyber Monday usually offer the last chance to get a good deal on a new mattress before Christmas. If you have guests staying over during Christmas, you may also want to think about upgrading your mattress in the spare room.

Final thoughts

It’s difficult to establish the best time to buy a mattress because there are so many factors to consider. If your mattress is causing you aches and pains, sleepless nights or you’re sleeping better elsewhere, you should replace it straight away.

Every retailer will have its own sales promotions throughout the year. Some promotions will be planned, such as sales, while others may be in response to competitors’ activities or boost short-term sales.

It’s generally best to buy a mattress during the Boxing Day and New Year sales. After which, many manufacturers increase their prices to cover rising costs. 

Keep an eye out for extra savings off sale prices. Some retailers may offer up to 10% off the sale price to maximise sales. These additional savings are usually provided at the end of the sale or during bank holidays.

Price should not be your only consideration when choosing a new mattress. You should only buy from reputable stores or shopping sites.

About the author

About the author

Tony Brown is the founder and creator of The Bed Consultant. His career in the bed industry began in 2002. After graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration, Tony joined one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the UK as a bed consultant. Tony has helped thousands of customers find the perfect mattress.

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