The voters have spoken, bless their hearts. (That’s a Southern way to subtly cast some shade, in the event that the results of the recent election were not to your taste.) Now we have to figure out what this means for the bedding industry.
So let’s get out our bedding history book, which in this case is the 2019 Mattress Industry Trends Report published by the International Sleep Products Assn. There you will find some two decades of unit and dollar performances for U.S.-produced mattresses and stationary foundations.
Executive summary: Those results show good news — and bad news — for both parties. Since 2000, mattress business in the year following a presidential election has seen dollar and unit gains (and declines) for both Democrats and Republicans.
If you think a Democratic president sets the mattress industry up for a strong year in 2021, you could point to the industry’s performance in 2013, when Barack Obama began his second term. Mattress dollars jumped 4.2% that year, with innerspring mattresses up a healthy 7.4% in dollars. Mattress units were up 1.0% in 2013.
If those numbers give you cheer for what a Democratic president could mean for Mattressville, you might not want to look at how the industry did during Obama’s first year in office, 2009. You may recall that there was a recession going on then. Mattress dollars were down 8.9% in 2009, while mattress units were down 7.4%. We don’t want to think about that year.
If you are in the camp that believes a Republican president brings good tidings to the mattress industry, you will want to look back to the George W. Bush presidency. In W’s first year in office, 2001, mattress dollars were up 1.7%, but mattress units were down 2.0%.
A better example of Republican good tidings comes at the start of Bush’s second term, in 2005. Mattress dollars soared 16.3% that year, the strongest mattress dollar performance in the last two decades. And mattress units that year were up 6.7%, the second-strongest mattress unit performance in the last two decades.
But before you get too excited about what a Republican president means for the bedding industry, let’s look at how the industry has fared under the current occupant of the White House.
Mattress dollars were down 0.1% in 2017, the first year of the Trump presidency, and mattress units were down 3.3% that year.
In 2018 mattress dollars were down 1.1%, but they were up 2.2% in 2019. Mattress units were up 0.7% in 2018, but were down 0.7% in 2019. So that’s been a mixed bag for the mattress industry.
Now, I know there is much more to how the industry performs than whether a Democrat or a Republican occupies the Oval Office. Still, this little exploration of bedding history reveals that the industry can do well with either a Democrat or a Republican occupying the presidency.
So, whatever your political persuasion, don’t be too upset about the election results. Probably the best thing to keep in mind is that the economy runs in cycles, and that growth in the bedding industry is far more common than declines.