What's the Best Time to Buy a Mattress?

/ November 27, 2018

If you're in the market for a new bed, you may be wondering when is the best time to buy a mattress. When it comes to buying a mattress in a store, popular “deals" come at various times of the year, mainly around holiday weekends: Memorial Day, President's Day, Black Friday, July Fourth, Labor Day, you name it. When there's any sort of national holiday, you can expect to see mattress sales.

So does this mean that the holidays are the best time to buy a mattress? The truth is, those supposed super savings aren't really all that they're cracked up to be. “Markups are so high that stores routinely advertise blockbuster sales, but that just means you're overpaying, sometimes by thousands of dollars, when you buy a mattress at full price at a mattress store," says Jack Mitcham, owner and founder of Mattress Nerd. Consumer Reports, for example, has found that many mattress stores, especially the national chains, regularly mark up mattress prices by at least 50 percent when they aren't having a so-called sale. “When I was a retail salesperson, we'd put a mattress out at an incredibly inflated price—say, $2,000—and then advertise it as $1,000 during the sale," Mitcham recalls.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't jump on a good deal when you see one—the average consumer now spends about $1,100 for a mattress, according to a 2016 survey from the Better Sleep Council, an 18 percent increase from 2007. But it does mean you should take your time and not feel pressured to buy a mattress on a super sale weekend if you still need to do your due diligence. “The bottom line is, you can get a good deal at any time of the year, provided you do your research," says Mitcham, who worked as a salesperson for a major mattress department store for seven years. Here's how.

Know when it's the best time to find mattress deals

There are certain times of the year when salespeople are extremely motivated to sell, such as Memorial Day weekend. Though a popular weekend for sales, it actually the best time to buy a mattress? "Companies roll out new models during the summer, so in May, they are eager to get rid of the old ones," explains Joe Auer, editor of the mattress review website Mattress Clarity. And since Memorial Day falls at the end of the month and means a three-day shopping weekend, mattress companies have an even greater incentive to double down on deals.

President's Day is also big for mattress sales, according to Consumer Reports, as are other holiday weekends like the Fourth of July and Labor Day. “People tend to buy things more on these long weekends," Auer says, "especially big-ticket items like mattresses, because they have time to do some comparison shopping and research around their purchase." The lesson to take away here? These long weekends are excellent for exploring your options, but not always the best time to buy a mattress.

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Stand your ground with mattress salespeople

If you've found the best mattress for you, whether it's during one of these blockbuster sales or on a quieter weekend, tell the salesperson that you're interested, but that you still need to shop around. “Oftentimes, he or she will offer to drop the price immediately. But unless it's substantial—say, half of the original cost—don't take it," advises Mitcham. “Even if they say, 'If you buy it now, I'll give it to you at fifty percent off, and this is a limited time offer,' don't take the bait," he says. “They'll always be willing to give you the same—or an even better—deal." So if you're shopping during what's often presumed to be the best time to buy a mattress, fight the urge to succumb to the pressure of a quick sale.

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Comparison shop for the best mattress price

Once you've walked out, do some comparison shopping, in stores or online. This can be tricky, since the exact same mattress might be sold under a different name in another store. The best way to compare when buying a mattress is by double-checking specs, such as materials, dimensions, and coil systems.

Once you've found the match, you're ready to head back to your original showroom with the better offer in hand. “I always had customers who would bring in an invoice from a competitor and say, 'I put down ten percent, but if you beat this right now I'll call and cancel the order,' " says Mitcham. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, that tactic worked and I'd agree to lower the price." All salespeople "have a rock bottom price that they're allowed to go to," he notes.

Negotiating buying a mattress online is a little tougher, since multi-brand websites tend to offer heavily discounted prices to begin with, says Auer. And while you may be tempted to simply buy a mattress from the website that offers the best deal, make sure you check out the fine print, such as shipping costs and return policies. “You may end up wanting to buy the mattress directly from the manufacturer, for example, because they offer free shipping and returns," he points out. (Here's what to look for in an online mattress company.)

How to score a good mattress deal every day

While it’s certainly possible to get a good deal on a quality mattress at a retail showroom, there is another way: skipping the in-store buying experience altogether. The best time to buy a mattress could actually be every day of the year if you buy online.

Don't just take our word for it. According to the National Sleep Foundation, "you will typically pay 15 percent less online, compared with in-store (sometimes less than half the retail price!)." That's because selling online eliminates retail store overhead: store rents, sales commissions, insurance, and inventory stacked up in warehouses. Brands that sell online, like Saatva, can then pass those savings on to shoppers in the form of low prices every day, holiday weekend or not.

It still pays to do your research, of course. But without the pressure of a holiday weekend countdown clock, you can take the time to compare products and find the mattress that's right for you. To address consumers' concerns about buying a mattress without trying it first, most online sellers offer generous in-home trial periods; Saatva's, for example, is 180 days.

Still skittish about making a commitment online? Here's what you need to know about buying a mattress on the internet.

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