Dynamism, technology and community: the president of ISPA points out ways for the future of the mattress

"Technology is changing not only the mattress manufacturing processes and how they are sold, but also the products and features offered" (Ryan Trainer, president of ISPA). Read the full interview!

One of the main representatives of the mattress sector in the world, the ISPA  (International Association of Products for Sleep) has positioned itself as "The Voice of the Mattress Industry" since 1915. In this more than a century of history, the association reinforces its leading position, both following trends and supporting the development of technologies in the sector, as well as generating statistics and conducting research. The organization is also responsible for ISPA EXPO, the world's leading fair for the sleep products sector. The ForMóbile team will be in the 2020 edition and brings an exclusive interview with Ryan Trainer, president of ISPA.

ForMóbile Digital: Explain a bit about the objectives and goals of ISPA. What was the focus of your work last year?

Ryan Trainer: ISPA was created over 100 years ago so that its members can find a way to work together to strengthen and improve the entire mattress industry. The idea is that, working together through ISPA, we can do more for the mattress industry than each company can do on its own. Our mission is to lead and develop the interests of the sleep products industry. By doing so, ISPA protects and improves the growth, profitability and structure of our entire industry.

As "The Voice of the Mattress Industry", we focus on providing 4 categories of services during the ISPA:

  • Defend the interests of the sector before government legislators and regulators;
  • Collect and analyze industry statistics and other critical data to boost growth in the mattress sector;
  • Conduct research and establish relationships with groups that will help the industry to better understand and communicate to consumers the importance of sleep and a good quality mattress for a healthy and happy life;
  • Create opportunities for members of the mattress industry to connect and communicate (as during ISPA EXPO and through our commercial publications, Bed Times and Sleep Savvy).

Through these efforts, ISPA and its members focus on creating and maintaining an innovative mattress industry, which helps the world sleep better.

Last year, we successfully addressed a series of bills that could have imposed significant new costs in the sector. We have improved the statistical products we provide to our members and initiated new consumer research projects that will help our members improve the experience of buying mattresses for the consumer. ISPA continues to organize ISPA EXPO and industrial conferences so that our members can collaborate, listen to innovative speakers and build new relationships.

ForMóbile Digital: ISPA EXPO brings together representatives from the entire supply chain of mattresses and sleeping products. How important is this synergy? Does this interaction help in the outcome of the final product offered by companies?

Ryan Trainer: The mattress sector today is very dynamic, both commercially and technologically. This sector is also a community that values the personal relationship between the provider and the customer.

ISPA EXPO is the largest fair in the world dedicated exclusively to the sleep products sector, with the latest technologies, components and equipment for mattresses. We attract exhibitors and mattress manufacturers from dozens of countries around the world. By creating networks and possible relationships thanks to EXPO, the sector becomes more efficient, helping manufacturers design and build a better product for the consumer.

ForMóbile Digital: What is the future of mattresses? In a scenario where homes are smarter and connected every day, what is the role of the mattress and how does it integrate into the 4.0/IOT world?

Ryan Trainer: Technology is changing not only the manufacturing processes we use for our mattresses and the way in which these products are sold and delivered to the consumer, but it’s also improving the products and resources that we can offer our consumers to help them achieve a more relaxing and restorative environment during sleep. For example, new technologies can help consumers heat or cool their mattress quickly. An adjustable mattress base can be used to change the configuration, slope and height of the mattress. And now there are several biomonitoring options available, which allow consumers to track the quality of their sleep. These innovations that incorporate sound, vibrations, lighting and other electronic features are also available.

"The mattress sector today is very dynamic, both commercially and technologically. This sector is also a community that values ​​the personal relationship between the supplier and the customer."

ForMóbile Digital: How is the Brazilian mattress industry seen? What are the possibilities and the main trends of the sector?

Ryan Trainer: I believe that Brazilian mattress producers and consumers can benefit from many of the same innovations available in the United States. Sleep is a universal human need. Although specific products sold in different markets must adapt to local culture and traditions (for example, consumers in some countries prefer a firmer mattress, while others prefer softer products), I think many of the technological innovations that have been developed in the United States and elsewhere would also be very popular in Brazil.

ForMóbile Digital: What is ISPA doing to increase mattress consumption? What actions could be adapted for Brazil?

Ryan Trainer: The ISPA Even Better Sleep Council (BSC) educates mattress buyers about the important relationship between a quality mattress and a good night's sleep. The BSC wants to keep the mattress "TOP OF MIND" when a consumer is looking for a better night's sleep.

Through surveys, blogs and social media campaigns, BSC helps mattress buyers today feel safe and informed as they navigate the purchase process.

Through BSC consumer research, we’ve developed relevant and engaging content related to sleep and health for a wide audience of consumers. Since everyone needs sleep, the BSC helps consumers prioritize the necessary sleep. To help consumers be more informed and confident in deciding that they need a new bed, BSC developed the Better Bed Quizzz (or BBQ) Questionnaire to help them reflect on important issues to consider when choosing a new bed. The BBQ (https://www.betterbedquiz.org/quiz) is a simple online application that helps consumers focus on their physical and other needs related to sleep, the product characteristics they want, size of the room they will sleep in, whether they will sleep with a partner, etc. The objective of the BSC is that, after doing so, the consumer will have more confidence to select the best product for their needs and budget.

Research is important for both the consumer and the industry. Validate our messages and guide the BSC as we develop our campaigns.

In 2020, BSC will publish the results of a new research project that analyzes the mattress purchase experience. By understanding this experience from a consumer perspective, retailers can learn to be more receptive to what the consumer wants and needs.

We believe that Brazilian mattress manufacturers could easily adapt many of these messages, tools and research to help sell more and better mattresses in your country.

ForMóbile Digital: Given the trend of sustainability and conscious consumption, what is happening with the recycling of mattresses? Is there a recommended time for consumers to change their mattresses?

Ryan Trainer: ISPA recommends that consumers evaluate the comfort and quality of their current mattress every eight years and replace it, if necessary. We know that the human body and lifestyle can change significantly during this period.

For example, we can develop body aches, get married or divorce, we can gain weight, we can have temperature control problems and more factors. Although the mattress itself doesn’t change much during this time, it no longer provides the comfort and support needed to sleep well.

ISPA research shows that consumers seem to increasingly understand the important connection between a good night's sleep and a quality mattress, because the average replacement period has gradually decreased to 8.9 years today, compared to almost 10.9 years in 2007. Our research also shows that replacement behavior is generational, since younger consumers replace their mattresses more frequently than older ones. For example, consumers between 18 and 35 years replace their mattresses on average every 5.3 years, while those between 36 and 55 years replace them every 8.6 years.

In addition, mattress recycling has become an important issue for the US mattress industry. At the moment, three US states require that the industry (through the Mattress Recycling Council, which ISPA created in 2013) execute mattress recycling programs.

Mattress recycling is financed with a small fee that is charged when consumers buy a new mattress. Currently, MRC recycles more than 1.5 million mattresses annually and expects that number to grow as more states enact similar laws.

ForMóbile Digital: What are the expectations for the ISPA EXPO 2020? What can we expect for the event?

Ryan Trainer: At ISPA EXPO 2020, industry professionals will learn about thousands of new and better mattress components, services and machines that will be exhibited in the largest exhibition hall in our history. More than 200 companies worldwide will occupy more than 13,000 square meters of exhibition space. At EXPO, mattress manufacturers can connect with suppliers, business partners, colleagues and customers around the world. ISPA will also offer participants a variety of educational opportunities and networking events related to the industry. At EXPO, the industry will discover new ideas and trends and expand its knowledge with information that will help your business thrive, producing better products for its customers.

ForMóbile Digital: How can events like ForMóbile help in the development of the mattress sector?

Ryan Trainer: Like ISPA EXPO, ForMóbile offers the opportunity to improve and expand the mattress manufacturing sector. Every person needs a restful and rejuvenating dream to lead a happy and productive life. ForMóbile generates an important meeting where Brazilian companies can meet new ideas and materials that can help provide consumers with a better night's sleep.

Ryan Trainer is president of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), a trade association based in the United States that is dedicated to protecting and improving the growth, profitability and structure of the mattress industry. Trainer is also president of the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), a nonprofit organization formed to develop and implement state mattress recycling laws.