HIGH POINT – The bedding industry will record a 2.4% unit increase this year, while the wholesale dollar volume of bedding shipments will grow 4.2%.

Those are the predictions of Furniture Today’s Consensus Bedding Forecast, an annual feature developed by the newspaper to give bedding players additional insight on business prospects in the new year.

The FT forecast is more conservative than the latest forecast issued by the International Sleep Products Assn., which envisions 3.5% unit growth and 6% dollar growth this year.

ISPA issued its latest 2017 forecast last fall, before the presidential election in November. Furniture Today developed its forecast after the election, with figures generally supplied by bedding producers after the election.

The FT Consensus Bedding Forecast represents the views of more than two dozen bedding producers surveyed last fall.

Furniture Today begins the process of developing the forecast by asking dozens of bedding producers to share their confidential unit and dollar projections for business in the new year. That confidentiality is designed to encourage the producers to share their candid thoughts.

Next Furniture Today weights the projections based on the market share enjoyed by the various producers. The projections from the four top brands – Serta, Sealy, Simmons and Tempur-Pedic, which command about 70% of the market – are given more weight than the projections offered by other Top 15 producers, who together command about a 20% share of the overall market.

And the projections by producers outside the Top 15, who together command about an eight percent market share, are given weighting that reflects that share.

The most optimistic bedding forecast, offered by a producer outside of the Top 15 group, envisions 6% unit growth this year, with 10% growth in the wholesale value of bedding shipments. That forecast assumes a growing sense of optimism in the country following the presidential election last fall, the producer said.

The most pessimistic forecast for dollar growth comes from a producer outside of the Top 15. That producer sees a 1% decline in the wholesale dollar value of bedding shipments this year.

Cash-poor Millennials don’t have as much money to spend on mattresses as older consumers, the producer said.

That was the only producer to forecast a decline in units or dollars this year. But one Top 15 producer sees 0% unit growth this year and just 2% dollar growth, one of the most conservative forecasts.