Where Did The Online Mattress Company Fad Come From, And Where Is It Going?

If you’ve been looking for mattresses online you’ve probably come to this conclusion—there are a million companies out there all selling what looks to be a similar product. It can be overwhelming when you search for a bed in a box and are greeted with endless names that all start to melt together. It can be baffling to be met with such a large sea of options.

How did the online mattress industry explode into its current state and what started it all? What makes some of these companies rise above the rest, and what does the future hold for foam? Before you start shopping, you should familiarize yourself with the world you’re diving into!

The Beginning It’s always a good place to start, right?

In 2006, BedInABox was founded. They shipped memory foam mattresses straight to the consumer online, which was the first of its kind. For their first 6 years, they were the only prevalent company offering this service.

In 2012, when Tuft & Needle was founded, we adopted an online model as well. We weren’t sold on memory foam as the best material to sleep on, so we got to work and invented our very own foam. Tuft & Needle Adaptive Foam is unique in that no one else uses it, and we created it as a solution to a set of problems that we felt weren’t being addressed—we wanted to offer something that combined all the benefits of existing materials without the high price tag, middlemen, or confusing jargon.

We set out to solve a problem we saw in the mattress industry as a whole and could have never predicted the boom in the mattress world that followed quickly after.

Now In 2014, most of the big names in e-commerce mattresses found their way onto the scene. Casper, Leesa, Yogabed, Bear Mattress—the sites were popping up left and right as everyone put their own spin on the “bed in a box” business.

Even in 2018, over five years after we started, we’ve seen dozens of new companies crop up on a near-weekly basis. At our last count, there were over 100 digitally-native mattress companies all fighting to be the one you choose. The logical question is one that’s hard to answer—is this all just a passing fad?

Obviously, we don’t believe so. But it’s more than just hoping that the industry keeps trending away from traditional experiences, we’re investing our time and energy into constantly improving every aspect about how we sleep, and we’re just getting started. We don’t think that we should just stop at mattresses, and we’re excited to keep creating and innovating on all things comfort.

While many of these companies are simply copy-cats, there are plenty putting their own stamp on the industry, and those who are taking a unique approach to mattresses have seen remarkable success. We’re proud to be one of the companies leading the charge and see the response and support from customers as a sign that we’re on the right path. We know you could make one of hundreds of choices, but we've created a product that over 95% of our customers keep after their 100-Night Sleep Trial, and that's a pretty good indicator to our team that we're on to something good.

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Shelly Weaver-Cather
Shelly Weaver-Cather

Shelly Weaver is part of the Content Team at Tuft & Needle, leading the writing and editing of our blog. Not quite a Phoenix native, (They take that sort of thing super seriously.) Shelly has spent most of her life in the Phoenix Metro area and has no plans of leaving anytime soon. She made the unexpected jump out of wedding photography and onto T&N’s team in 2016, and found a passion for the people that keep the lights on. She still finds herself shooting in her free time, though these days there are less bridal portraits and more masterpieces of her first child, Duke, a lab-pit mix with an unparalleled love for both T&N mattress hogging and couch destroying.

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