UK Bed Market Continues To Buck The Trend

In case you missed it, the latest GfK Consumer Confidence Index jumped 3 points in August to -7 and the Major Purchase Index (ie big ticket items such as furniture and beds) jumped 8 points to +6 which is six points higher than August 2017.

The client strategy director at GfK, Joe Staton commented; ““Consumers are no doubt aware of the incessant Brexit noise, the core debate about whether ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’, the accompanying threats, warnings and uncertainties, the wild hopes and dark fears, and the daily ups and downs.

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – August 2018
The Overall Index Score in August 2018 is -7. Four measures increased in August and one stayed the same.

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But are consumers putting their hands over their ears and quietly saying: let’s just wait-and-see? We are just months away from the Brexit crunch but there is no sign (yet) of any crash in consumer confidence. Yes, the core index continues to muddle along in negative territory, but Armageddon seems a distant prospect. With this month’s jump to -7, we have four of the constituent scores up and one unchanged. And we are well above the worrying -39 we saw in July 2008. Are consumers being more sensible than the pundits? Have they developed an immunity to the Brexit babble?”

Looking at the UK beds market, figures compiled by The Furnishing Report, based on ONS data for the first half of 2018 showed retail sales value up by 1.5% to £909.3m. Compare this to other sectors of the furniture industry – upholstery down 4%, Cabinet down 5.1% and carpets down 1.1%.

Further encouraging news for our members comes in the form of the Euromonitor report for the UK Home Furnishings Category in which they predict the mattress sector to be one of the most dynamic over their forecast period to 2022.
They put this optimism down to the relatively short replacement cycle of mattresses and by the ongoing trend of putting emphasis on the virtues of sleep. Articles highlighting the importance of a good night’s sleep are common, and consumers are consequently increasingly willing to trade up to higher quality products.

In addition to this, the new pure-play online start-ups are re-shaping the category, putting mattresses (and beds) at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to home improvements and bringing a degree of ‘cool’ and ‘sexy’ to an otherwise fairly dull sector.

Our own NBF Tracker figures for the first quarter of 2018 showed a slight decline in revenue against quarter one of 2017 and the word on the street was that April – June was even tougher! We are just compiling figures for the second quarter, so if you haven’t done so already, please help us by submitting your sales data as soon as possible, ideally prior to 14th September.

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