Bedding units were down 3.4 per cent for the total bedding market in the first quarter, while the dollar value of bedding shipments was down 0.3, an International Sleep Products Assn. report said. The first quarter report issued by the ISPA reflects a number of changes it implemented. For the first time, ISPA has included figures for domestic production and imports in aggregated figures that reflect the “total market of mattresses, stationary and motion foundations.” Previous reports included domestic and imported data in separate sections that were not added together to reflect the broader bedding market.

The new quarterly report includes five categories for mattresses and foundations, including mattresses produced in the US, mattress imports, and stationary foundations produced in the US, stationary foundation imports, and motion foundations imported and produced in the US. While the total market for bedding units was down 3.4 per cent in the first quarter, mattresses produced in the US and imported saw 2.2 per cent unit growth. US-assembled mattress units were down 11.3 per cent, while imported mattress units were up 54.2 per cent. US-assembled stationary foundations were down 24.6 per cent in units, while imported stationary foundations were up 59.1 per cent. Motion foundation units produced in the US and imported were down 22.1 per cent, ISPA said.

The situation is similar with dollars. While the total market for bedding dollars was down 0.3 per cent in the first quarter, the dollar value for US-produced mattresses and imports was up 3.1 per cent. The dollar value of US-assembled mattresses was down 1.6 per cent, while the dollar value of imported mattresses was up 50 per cent.

The dollar value of US-assembled stationary foundations was down 17.3 per cent, while it was up 70.7 per cent for imported stationary foundations, and it was down 21.3 per cent for motion foundations produced in the US and imported. In a column accompanying the report, Jerry Epperson, a Managing Director of Mann, Armistead & Epperson, said the changes to the ISPA reporting represent “a significant upgrade.”

“For the first time,” he wrote, “we integrate import numbers that correctly address our universe of mattresses, excluding animal beds and other extraneous items that had been included in the prior import series, which was the only one available. ISPA played a key role in encouraging the International Trade Commission to publish this new, more accurate series.” Epperson says the most important figures to him are those that show dollar sales for domestic and imported mattresses grew 3.1 per cent in the quarter and units increased 2.2 per cent. “I believe this best represents the current state of the US bedding market,” Epperson wrote.

“Looking at the detail, there was a 1.6 per cent decline in domestic dollar sales of mattresses and an 11.3 per cent drop in units,” he continued. “The past two years showed domestic declines as well, so this trend continues.” But the domestic declines are offset by increases in the dollar value of imported mattresses and in unit gains for those imports, Epperson noted.

The average unit price for US-produced mattresses increased 11 per cent in the first quarter, to $411.27. The average unit price for imported mattresses declined 2.7 per cent, to $95.38, the ISPA report said. Epperson said an analysis of the first quarter domestic and import figures in the report implies that in dollars mattress imports were 15.4 per cent of the total, while mattress imports were 31.5 per cent of total units, “a surprising number to most and an alarming number to many.”