Comfort Unleashed: Auxetic Mattresses
November 9, 2023
Imagine piling up more than 900 Mount Everests of discarded mattresses. This is our reality every year within the EU alone, and the majority of mattresses end up in landfills across the continent. The multi-billion-dollar mattress industry needs a change, and Smart Materials’ Auxetic polyurethane foam is the answer to the challenges facing the bedding industry. In this blog we’ll jump into the mattress industry and highlight the difficulties and how auxetic foam can address them.
The global mattress market displayed a value of $50.61 billion in 2022 and is poised for substantial growth, projecting a rise to $52.45 billion in 2023 and a striking $78.34 billion by 2030. This growth is indicative of a notable 5.90% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) expected during the forecast period.
What’s contributing to this growth? It’s not just about a good night’s sleep; it’s about luxury and customization. Consumers worldwide are increasingly perceiving mattresses as more than mere consumer durables; they view them as a reflection of social status. At a macroeconomic level, the expansion of domestic mattress manufacturers offering unique and innovative products is drawing consumers to various distribution channels globally. The industry is further fuelled by the success of recent product launches, promising a significant boost in sales volumes in the years to come.
The mattress industry is confronted by a series of significant challenges. Foremost among these is the increasing cost pressure, which permeates various aspects of the business. Notably, there is a trend towards lower-density PU foam production due to these cost pressures. Balancing design-to-cost principles with environmental considerations, such as recycling and circular economy impacts the overall cost structure. Production facilities must navigate more stringent regulations on use of harmful chemicals imposed by authorities, while prices of raw materials, labour, and energy continue to climb.
In addition to these challenges, the current mattresses on the market often fall short in catering to the distinct needs of two individuals sharing the same mattress. This presents a considerable ergonomic and comfort dilemma, further complicating an already intricate industry landscape. Encapsulating all this is the fact that without any real disruptive innovation since viscoelastic foam, it has become difficult to find any differentiation between products, thus hindering the industry’s ability to meet diverse consumer needs effectively. The recent successes have come by addressing the consumer experience of purchasing and receiving the mattress.
An auxetic foam mattress stands apart from the competition with its distinctive properties, allowing it to deliver exceptional comfort to all with; heightened support factors and superior resilience—effectively amalgamating the benefits of various foam types into one. This unique combination not only permits auxetic foam to reduce thickness but also decreases the need for multiple layers within a foam mattress allowing for the fabrication of a monomaterial mattress with superior comfort, making production cost and time efficient.
Additionally, the manufacturing process of auxetic foam employs fewer harmful chemicals compared to conventional foam and also proves to be economically viable for large-scale recycling initiatives by doing away with gluing several foam layers together. This aligns parallel to the current market push towards increased product stewardship, sustainability and closer to a true circular economy.
The introduction of auxetic foam would mark a significant leap forward in the mattress industry. Beyond its undeniable comfort, the ability of auxetic foam to stand alone in a monomaterial mattress and outperform competitors allows for large scale recycling, thus aligning seamlessly with international recycling initiatives. As the industry grapples with the challenge of sustainable practices, auxetic foam emerges as a beacon of eco-friendly innovation. Its recyclability not only addresses environmental concerns but also propels the mattress industry into a more responsible and circular future. Embracing this transformative material is not just a choice for enhanced comfort; it’s a commitment to a greener, more sustainable tomorrow.