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Dynamism, technology, and community: ISPA president points out the future of sleep products

"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, ISPA (International Sleep Products Association) has positioned itself as “The Voice of the Mattress Industry” since 1915. In this more than a century of history, the association reinforces its vanguard 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 biggest sleep products fair in the world. The ForMóbile team will be in the 2020 edition and brings an exclusive interview with Ryan Trainer, ISPA president.

Check it out the full interview:

ryan trainer.jpgForMóbile Digital: Explain a little bit about the ISPA´s actions and targets. What was the focus of your work in the last year?

Ryan Trainer: ISPA’s was created over 100 years ago so that its members could find ways to work together to strengthen and improve the entire bedding industry. The idea is that working together through ISPA, we can to do more for the mattress industry than any single company can do on its own. Our mission is to lead and advance the interests of the sleep products industry.  By doing so, ISPA protects and enhances the growth, profitability and stature of our industry.

As “The Voice of the Mattress IndustryTM”, we focus on providing four categories of services.  ISPA:

  • advocates for the industry’s interests before legislatures and government regulators
  • collects and analyzes industry statistics and other data that is critical to driving growth in the mattress industry
  • conducts research and builds relationships with groups that will help the industry better understand and communicate with consumers the importance of sleep and a good quality mattress to a healthy and happy life
  • creates opportunities for members of the mattress industry to network and communicate with each other (such as during the ISPA EXPO and through our business publications, Bed Times and Sleep Savvy

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

Last year, we successfully dealt with a number of legislative bills that could have imposed significant new costs on the industry.  We improved the statistical products we provide our members and initiated new consumer research projects that will help our members improve the consumer’s mattress buying experience.  ISPA continues to host it’s ISPA EXPO and Industry Conference so that our members can collaborate, hear from innovative speakers and build new relationships.

FD: ISPA EXPO gathers representatives from the whole mattress and sleeping product supply chain. What is the importance of this synergy? Does this interaction help in the result of the final product offered by the companies?

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

ISPA EXPO is the largest trade show in the world dedicated exclusively to the sleep products sector, showcasing the latest mattress technologies, components and equipment. We attract both exhibitors and mattress manufacturers from dozens of countries around the world. Through the networking and relationship building made possible by EXPO, the industry becomes more efficient, helping manufacturers design and build a better product for the consumer.

FD: What is the future of the mattresses? In a scenario where the houses are more intelligent and connected each day, what is the role of the mattress and how it integrates in the 4.0/IOT world?

RT: Technology is changing not only the manufacturing processes we use to build our mattresses and how those finished products are sold and delivered to the consumer, but it is also improving the products and features we can offer our consumers to help them get a more restful and restorative night’s sleep. For example, new technologies can help the consumer quickly make her mattress warmer or cooler. She can use an adjustable mattress base to change the configuration, tilt and height of her mattress.  And a variety of biomonitoring options are now available that allow a consumer to track her sleep quality.  New innovations that incorporate sound, vibrations, lighting and other electronic features are also available. 

FD: How you see the scenario for the Brazilian mattress industry? What are the possibilities and main trends for the sector?

RT: I think Brazilian mattress producers and consumers can benefit from many of the same innovations that are available in the United States.  Sleep is a universal human need.  Although the specific products sold in different markets must be tailored to meet the local culture and traditions (for example, consumers in some countries prefer a firmer mattress, while others favor products that are more plush), I think that many of the technological innovations that have developed in the United States and elsewhere would be very popular in Brazil as well.

FD: What ISPA is doing to increase the consumption of mattresses? What actions could be adapted for Brazil?

RT: ISPA’s Better Sleep Council (BSC) educates today’s mattress shopper about the important relationship between a quality mattress and a restful night’s sleep. The BSC wants to keep the mattress “top of mind” when a consumer is searching for a better night’s sleep. Through research, blogs and social media campaigns, the BSC helps today’s mattress shopper feel confident and informed as she navigates the buying process.

Using the BSC’s own consumer research, we develop relevant, engaging, sleep- and health-related content for a wide consumer audience. Since everyone needs sleep, the BSC helps consumers make getting that necessary sleep a priority.  To help the consumer be more informed and confidant once she decides she needs a new bed, the BSC has developed the Better Bed QuizzzTM (or BBQ) to help her think through important questions she needs to consider when choosing her new bed.  The BBQ (https://www.betterbedquiz.org/quiz) is a simple online app that helps the consumer focus on her physical and other sleep-related needs, the product features that she wants, the size of the bedroom in which she will sleep, whether she sleeps with a partner and so forth.  The BSC’s goal is that after taking the BBQ, the consumer will be more confident in selecting the best product for her needs and budget. 

Research is important for both the consumer and the industry. It validates our messages and guides the BSC as we develop our campaigns. In 2020, the BSC will release the results from a new research project that looks at the mattress buying experience itself.  By understanding this experience from the consumer’s perspective, retailers can learn how to be more receptive to what the consumer wants and needs. 

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

FD: Considering the trend of sustainability and conscious consumption, what is happening with mattress recycling? Do there exist a recommended time for mattress exchange by the consumers?

RT: ISPA regularly encourages consumers to evaluate the comfort and support of their current mattress every  eight  years, and replace it if necessary.  We know that the human body and one’s lifestyle can change significantly over this time period.  For example, we may develop body aches and pains, we might marry or divorce, we might gain weight, temperature control may be more of an issue and so forth. Although the mattress itself might not change much during this period, it still might not give you the comfort and support you need to sleep well.

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

In addition, mattress recycling has become an important issue for the U.S. mattress industry.  Three states in the U.S. now require that the industry (through the Mattress Recycling Council, which ISPA created in 2013) run mattress recycling programs.  Mattress recycling is funded by a small fee collected when consumers buy a new mattress.  MRC currently recycles over 1.5 million mattresses annually and expects this number to grow as more states enact similar laws.

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

RT: At ISPA EXPO 2020, industry professionals will learn about thousands of new and better mattress components, services and machines that will be displayed on the largest show floor in our history. Over 200 companies from around the world will occupy over 140,000 square feet (approximately 13,000 square meters) of exhibition space.  At EXPO, mattress manufacturers can connect with suppliers, business partners, colleagues and customers from all over the globe. ISPA will also offer attendees a variety of industry-related educational opportunities and networking events.  At EXPO, the industry will discover new ideas and trends, and expand their knowledge with information that will help their businesses thrive by making better products for their customers.

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

RT: Like ISPA EXPO, ForMóbile provides an opportunity to improve and expand the mattress manufacturing sector. Every person requires restful, rejuvenating sleep to lead a happy and productive life.  ForMóbile provides an important venue where Brazilian companies can learn about new ideas and materials they can use to help give consumers a better night’s sleep.


Ryan Trainer is President of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), a U.S.-based trade association that is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the growth, profitability and stature of the mattress industry.  Trainer is also the President of the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), a non-profit organization formed to develop and implement state mattress recycling laws. 

Leia essa entrevista em Português. 

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