Why Are Mattresses So Expensive? [5 Reasons]

A good quality mattress does not come cheap. After all, a good night’s sleep should be worth every penny you spend if the mattress you get has the top of the line materials such as memory foam, latex, pocket springs, and border trimmings. But aside from materials, why are mattresses so expensive? 

Mattresses are expensive for 5 main reasons:

  1. High-Quality Materials
  2. Special Requirements
  3. Buying from a Mattress Boutique
  4. Scarcity of Second Hand Options
  5. Marketing Strategies

Mattresses are made with high-quality materials and are built to last for years. Newer sleep technologies also drive the prices up, especially when special requirements are added, such as combatting allergies or aid in orthopedic disabilities.

Overhead costs such as rent, commissions, and advertising are also added in part to what you’re paying for when you buy a mattress at a physical store. 

Read on to know more about what makes mattresses so expensive and some tips to help you save on the cost.

Why Are Mattresses So Expensive?

why are mattresses so expensive

Your dream mattress should be considered just as big an investment as, say, a new car. After all, it is where you will spend most of your hours both asleep and awake. It is a space where you should relax and recharge and have a high-quality mattress that fits your specific needs is a must. 

There are quite a few factors that affect the pricing of a good mattress, and not all are due to the materials used for the mattress itself. Here are five factors that make mattresses some of the most expensive fixtures you will ever invest in.

1. High-Quality Materials

Needless to say, higher quality materials really drive up prices of anything manufactured, not just mattresses. As a general rule, you pay more money for something made with more organic material than one made out of cheap synthetic stuff. 

Choosing higher quality materials in a mattress is not just for those with specific allergies. It could very well be a life-changing move for anyone who needs better sleep. Who doesn’t? Here are some of the materials you could look for in a perfect mattress if you are not afraid of shelling a fortune:

  • Natural fibers
  • Proprietary Memory foam
  • Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certified organic latex
  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton
  • Natural flame retardants like wool
  • Individually wrapped coils
  • High-density polyfoams and memory foams

2. Special Requirements

Some people have specific requirements for mattresses and other home fixtures to aid in disabilities, injuries, or prevention of allergic episodes. Special features installed or customized into a mattress can really boost the price not just because of additional material but also the expertise required to install these specific parts.

These are the features that can increase the overall price of specialized mattresses:

Hypoallergenic Properties

It can prevent dust mites and other allergens from getting into the mattress cover and reduces the risk of skin irritation upon contact.

Orthopedic Features

To provide additional support against joint pains and injuries.

Cooling Materials

Used mainly to regulate temperature; could be in the form of perforated or corrugated designed foams, gel foams, or additional materials infused with moisture-wicking technology.

Edge Support

Additional security to avoid sagging along the edges of the mattress; could be in the form of high-density foams or firmer springs.

Additional padding for extra thickness is great for those requiring a little extra cushioning for back support or pressure relief.

3. Buying from a Mattress Boutique

It is no secret that buying anything from a retail store would most likely be more expensive. This is because retailers include overhead costs such as advertising, sales commissions, store rent, and staff payroll into the overall pricing of products. 

According to industry experts, you have to be prepared to see a markup of 40 to 50% range of price in an average showroom mattress. However, the Sydney Morning Herald said that a 200 to 300% markup is not impossible thanks to massive factories in China that can manufacture a mattress for a mere $400, which will then be sold at a whopping $4000.

While there is an advantage with buying your next mattress from a store, like a better sales experience and human interaction, there is also a downside.

Buying from a mattress boutique may be more expensive as these stores would often mark up the price then provide a discount at checkout to make it seem like you are getting it at a really great deal. Be wary of these tactics, as you might still end up paying more than the fair price.

But if it doesn’t really bother you not having the special customer treatment at a boutique, you might find that ordering online for your new mattress could save you more money. This is called “direct to consumer,” where online companies can cut out many overhead costs and steps in a conventional supply chain.

4. Scarcity of Second Hand Options

Understandably, not many people would want to sleep on a mattress with previous owners, no matter how well maintained it is claimed to be. This is largely due to the material degradation, which can go up to 70% after 7 years of use, the risk of bed bugs and other allergens, and of course, for hygiene reasons. 

5. Marketing Strategies

why are mattresses so overpriced

Tactics are being done together by retailers and mattress companies that do not necessarily advocate for consumer welfare. For one, a mattress manufacturer can make the tiniest of changes to a specific model – such as a new cover pattern design – then sell it as a completely new model with better features to different retailers.

This actually creates a problem for consumers in so far as comparing prices are concerned. No matter how good you are as a shopper in finding the best deals, what you are not told is that most retailers hold the same type of mattress, only with different labels, which make each one seem unique.

Again, why are mattresses expensive?

  1. High-Quality Materials
  2. Special Requirements
  3. Buying from a Mattress Boutique
  4. Scarcity of Second Hand Options
  5. Marketing Strategies

Mattresses are expensive (or overpriced) because they are made with high-quality materials and are built to last for years. Newer sleep technologies also drive the prices up, especially when special requirements are added, such as combatting allergies or aid in orthopedic disabilities.

How to Save on Mattress Costs – Five Easy Tips

All things considered, a good quality mattress – with normal sleeping requirements – should not cost more than $1500 when shopping online. Because there are no additional costs to consider, such as marketing, store rent, and commissions, the price range of standard mattresses available online is a mere $600 to $1500.

Typical spring mattresses, as well as those simple memory foam or polyfoam mattresses, are some of the most budget-friendly mattresses you can buy online. Here is a simple table of approximate prices for each type of mattress:

Mattress TypeLow-endMid-rangeHigh-endAverage Price (~)
Memory/poly foam<$600Up to $1,500>$1,500$1,000
Traditional spring<$600Up to $1,200>$1,200$900
Organic latex<$1,500Up to $2,500>$2,500$2,000
Hybrid<$1,000Up to $2,500>$2,500$1,750

And now that we have established the main factors that drive up the costs of mattresses, let us look at what we can do to save on costs or at the very least get our money’s worth when buying one of the most important investments we make in our lifetime.

Here are five simple tips to further reduce the costs of mattresses:

1. Shop Online

Buying your mattress online could save you 50% or more, especially when you add discount codes available on websites. It is best to choose a product that offers at least a 30-day sleep trial, so you have ample time to assess if you are really comfortable with the mattress you bought.

Many manufacturers even offer 100-night trials, and some can last up to a year or more. That says a lot about the company’s confidence in their product if you ask me.

Another helpful hack is to review the fine print to make sure you get the mattress delivered to your location for free and return it to the manufacturer for free as well if need be. Some companies also offer white glove delivery, so this can also be one more thing to look out for when buying online. Who doesn’t want to save on effort and energy as well as money, right?

2. Discounts and Sale Seasons

It is good practice to watch out for discounts when buying big-ticket items and even better if you shop online during the holidays. A simple trick is to sign up for newsletters of manufacturers that you like, as some of the most exclusive discounts and sales are released via that medium. 

Another thing you can try when you’ve found your mattress choice is to go through the whole checkout process – just so your email address gets registered in their system – then abandon the cart just before checking out. You might find that you receive an email after a day or two reminding you of your pending order with the addition of a better deal or further discount. 

The holidays also drive more discounts and sales. A 10-50% discount is up for grabs in most stores during the following holidays:

  • New Year’s – when inventories of last year are being cleared
  • President’s Day – best discounts at physical stores during this holiday
  • Memorial Day – the best time to shop at online retailers for great deals
  • Independence Day – sale usually happens from June until mid-July
  • Labor Day – big sales event both for online and physical stores
  • Veteran’s Day – stock clearing out before holidays
  • Black Friday – like Labor Day, this is also a massive sales event for both online and retail stores
  • Cyber Monday – Online sales extensions that last all week

April and May are generally the best months to shop for a new mattress as companies sell off old models before debuting new ones in the summer. This type of sale is usually unannounced, so best to check regularly for changes in pricing.

3. Consider Buying Second Hand

why are mattress expensive

Some people swear by this tip, but with very particular rules to follow. You won’t just buy a second-hand mattress from a shady neighborhood, and you have to look for one that’s from an upscale neighborhood, where you can easily contact the owner for pictures or ask if the mattress cover has an owner or any other questions you might have before making the deal.

There are associated risks with buying a second-hand mattress, such as hygiene concerns, but if you do your research and find something that is in good condition and really suits your needs, then you are looking at an 80-90% drop from the usual retail price. 

4. Take Advantage of 0% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) Finance Deals

This is technically not a direct way to reduce costs on a new mattress, but getting yourself a 0% APR deal can significantly impact the item’s affordability by spreading the cost across months without having to worry and pay any interest. Many manufacturers with online platforms allow this upon checking out as long as you spend a minimum amount. 

5. Don’t Forget to Haggle

Haggling is such a useful skill, especially if you prefer going to physical stores to buy products. Shopping at big mattress chains can save you upwards of 50% of the cost of your haggle smartly.

Remember that a salesperson wants to sell you something they would likely make a big commission on. Keeping this in mind would help you steer clear of the first (and more expensive) ones they will offer. Take the time to really look for what suits your needs and your budget best before making a decision.

Conclusion – Why Are Mattresses So Expensive?

A mattress is one of the big-ticket items you will buy to make your house feel more like home. After all, you will be spending an average of 1/3 of your day sleeping or resting on it, so understandably, it needs to be worth the price you pay. So why are mattresses so expensive?

  1. High-Quality Materials – such as organic latex, organic cotton, or memory foams
  2. Special Requirements – such as hypoallergenic properties and cooling materials
  3. Buying from a Mattress Boutique – with the addition of overhead costs
  4. Scarcity of Second Hand Options – not a lot of options due to hygiene concerns
  5. Marketing Strategies – tactics such as markups on costs and labeling differently to make products seem more unique

To combat the high costs of mattresses, here are five money-saving tips to help you in your next mattress shopping endeavor:

  1. Buy Online – can save upwards of 50% as there are no additional fees to pay for, unlike when buying at boutiques.
  2. Avail Discounts and Sale Seasons – take advantage of the end of season sales and additional discounts to further save up on costs
  3. Consider Second Hand – with a bit of research, and you may find a good condition second-hand mattress at 80-90% off from the retail price.

Related reading:

Do You Need a Box Spring? What Is the Point of It?

Bed Sizes in Order – 7 Most Common

Largest Bed Size [What Is the Biggest Mattress?]

Best Inflatable Mattress – Top 10 Picks

Replacing Slats on Bed [How to]