Adjustable beds are the latest trendy pandemic buy for millennials

A bed that can do it all.
A bed that can do it all.
Image: Casper
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“Anything that can’t be done in bed isn’t worth doing at all,” writer Groucho Marx once said.

Thanks to the pandemic, more people are taking that sentiment to heart. Nearly three quarters of participants in a survey by mattress company Tuck said they had worked remotely from their bed during the pandemic. One in 10 reported they spent “most or all of their workweek”—24-to-40 hours—in bed.

That trend is prompting more Americans to take a second look at the adjustable bed. Once associated with nursing homes and hospitals, transformer beds are now becoming popular among millennials multitasking from their bedroom.

Internet mattress and bed brands including Purple, Casper, and Helix have responded by taking the concept beyond just a bed that can shift to various inclines. They’ve added massage functions, memory settings to save favorite positions, and a zero-gravity mode, an angle NASA research shows relieves pressure on the body. Industry stalwarts like Tempur-pedic and big retailers like Walmart have also jumped in.

The global adjustable bed market will reach $12.41 billion in the next six years, growing an average of 9% a year until 2028, according to market research firm Data Bridge. That’s up from a yearly 2.2% between 2017 and 2022.

Casper, for example, introduced its first adjustable bed frame in 2017. Sales were strong enough they added two more adjustable models in 2019 and 2021. “Adjustable bases represent a sizable opportunity for the brand and the industry as a whole,” the brand’s director of product and brand strategy Aaron Feldman said.

Why people are buying adjustable beds

Health experts warn that working from bed can result in headaches, permanent stiffness, arthritis and other negative side effects. Makers of adjustable beds say their products can help address some of these concerns. The bed frames are built with mechanized components that can lift, shift, and vibrate a bed, and are paired with a standard mattress that sits on top and moves in tandem.

In addition to working from bed, another reason people are buying adjustable beds is to improve their sleep quality, which has suffered during the pandemic, says Michael Breus, a psychologist known as The Sleep Doctor who serves as a consultant to the mattress brand Purple. Sleeping pill prescriptions, he says, have jumped 23% in the last two years.

Today’s adjustable beds, he said, are “not the hospital bed that your mother died in,” Breus said. “This is a piece of technology that can give you all kinds of benefits if you have lower back pain, reflux, snoring.”

Passing trend or lasting sleep innovation?

While certain areas of pandemic-inspired spending are falling back to 2019 levels, spelling trouble for companies like Peloton and Netflix, those in the bed industry say adjustable frames are here to stay. Unlike water beds, which were all the rage in the 80’s before suddenly dropping out of the mainstream, the adjustable bed should have more staying power because of its medical benefits and a shift among the general population towards greater health consciousness, they say.

“We don’t believe adjustable bases are a fad because they serve many utility purposes as opposed to something that is more of a novelty,” said Casper’s Feldman. “Zero gravity pressure relief and anti-snore functionality serve a benefit to the consumer, as does the ability to position oneself to be able to do more while relaxing in bed.”

Soon adjustable bed designs should accommodate for even more functions. The industry is moving towards more integrations with technology such as smartphone pairing and device charging as well as features like cooling to regulate people’s temperatures as they sleep.