Insider's Guide to Furniture & the Home Furnishings Industry

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Are Mattresses Advertised at 50% or 75% Off Discounts Really Bargains?

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[The Insider's Guide to Furniture blog contains over 500 articles, including new articles published after March, 2022 and updates of articles in this blog.]

There are always Mattress Sales featuring deep discounts of 50% - 75% or even more.

All of these deep discounts are phony.


There may be some smaller, legitimate, discounts in the 10% - 25% range, but there are no real discounts of 50% or more.

  • Many years ago I was a buyer for a major furniture retailer. Over a 4 year period I purchased over $20 million of mattresses.
  • Every week we ran sales promotions, including mattress sales claiming 50% off or more.
  • Retailers do not lose money on mattresses sold at these deeply discounted prices. The profit margin is about the same as they get for non-discounted mattresses.

Last year I shopped for a mattress for personal use.

I was looking for an innerspring mattress that was 12 - 14″ thick, priced under $1000 and made by a major brand.

I researched a lot of mattresses and I compared approximately 200 different innerspring queen-size mattresses being sold by more than a dozen different retailers. Most were from Serta, Sealy and Simmons.

Nearly half had discounts of 50% or more. The others had no price reduction at all.

Mattresses have always been tough to compare across brands.

  • When shopping for my own mattress, I discovered that comparisons within a single brand are now equally difficult.
  • Each individual mattress model has unique specifications. Different models that look identical in photos can have completely different specs.
  • Each major brand offered hundreds of different models.
  • Models offered by an individual retailer were rarely available from their competitors.

This eliminated the possibility of comparing prices on identical mattresses across retailers.

Despite this, I was able to identify one universal measurement that enabled me to compare mattresses. Both across brands and within brands.

I compared the weights of the different mattress models.

  • In almost every case the queen-size mattresses selling between $799 - 999 weighed 80 - 100 lbs -- regardless of the original "list" price.
  • Mattresses at the lower end of my price range weighed 80 lbs - 90 lbs.
  • Mattresses at the top of my price range weighed 90 lbs. - 100 lbs.
  • This included mattresses with "list" prices of $1999 - $3999 that were selling at discounts of 50% - 75% off.

I subsequently examined several mattresses actually selling in the $1999 - $2999 price range.

  • All of these weighed 110 - 120 lbs.
  • This included mattresses on sale for 50% - 75% off selling with list prices ranging from $3999 - $8999.

There was absolutely no relationship between the “list” comparison price and the weight of any mattress.

  • Mattresses listed as $3999 values and selling for $999 weighed approximately the same as mattresses selling for $999 with no discount.
  • Mattresses listed at $8,999 values selling for $2999 weighed approximately the same as mattresses selling for $2999 with no discount.
  • Mattresses actually selling for $1999 weighed more than those selling for $999.
  • Mattresses selling for $2999 weighed more than those selling for $1999.

What are you paying for when you get a mattress selling for $2999 instead of one for $999?

According to my best estimate:

  • $500 for quality improvements.
  • $500 for cosmetic improvements.
  • $1000 extra profit.

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