Yes, the growth rates are slowing in the bedding e-tail segment, which has been one of the highest-flying categories in the home furnishings industry. Our latest report on the top 15 bedding e-tailers makes that point clear.
But before brick-and-mortar retailers start celebrating, they should keep several points in mind.
First, the online retailers as a group continue to outperform their traditional counterparts, by a very wide margin. The Top 25 bedding retailers last year grew by a modest 2.7%. The top 15 bedding e-tailers, by contrast, grew 20.9% last year. More than half of the top 15 recorded double-digit retail growth or better last year, while about one-fourth of the top 25 managed that feat.
Second, the largest online bedding retailer, Amazon, boosted its bedding revenues 33% last year, pushing its revenues above the $1 billion mark. That figure, by the way, excludes sales of other bedding brands counted on the list. Amazon added $300 million in bedding revenues last year, a stunning achievement.
Third, leading bedding e-tailers are partnering with brick-and-mortar retailers. Traditional retailers should be looking to further expand their partnerships with online bedding brands and not looking at the online players as rivals.
Fourth, the COVID-19 pandemic will give the bedding e-tailers a big boost this year.
Our top 15 bedding e-tailer reports document the rise of the e-commerce bedding brands in recent years.
In 2016, the top 15 bedding e-tailers grew by 102.8%. In 2017, the growth rate was a sizzling 66%, and it was a red-hot 41% in 2018. And remember, each year the base has grown larger, making those growth rates all the more impressive.
The top bedding e-tailers last year generated retail bedding sales of more than $3.6 billion. Those online players have achieved significant size and scale in just a few short years.
Now you can look at Casper’s 5% growth in online bedding sales last year and say that retailer is struggling in the online channel. But Casper is partnering with blue-chip traditional bedding retailers, most recently Macy’s, and it also operates its own stores. That is a true omnichannel strategy, one that gives the company several ways to grow.
We will acknowledge that growth in the online bedding space has been much harder to come by than it was a few years ago. There are clear e-tailer winners and a few losers.
Take out Amazon’s big growth spurt last year, and almost half of the top 15’s growth last year is gone. About 20% of the top 15’s growth came from Brentwood Home, whose $120 million gain was sparked by its Avocado brand. And about 10% of the top 15’s growth came from Resident, whose portfolio strategy and strong marketing are driving success. Those three players generated the lion’s share of the group’s growth last year.
Still, the bedding e-tailers as a whole remain on the ascent. So don’t write them off. It’s better for brick-and-mortar retailers to partner with them and develop new omnichannel strategies. That’s what the smart retailers are doing.