The latest state of trade report from the National Bed Federation (NBF) shows a drop in total unit sales and value for the UK bed market in 2018 compared to 2017, estimating that the total sales of mattresses, bed sets, divan bases and adjustable beds were down by over -4% YoY (at 8.3 million units), with revenue down just under -2% at £900m at factory gate prices.

Jessica Alexander, executive director of the NBF, comments: “The uncertainty surrounding Brexit has had a negative affect on overall business optimism, with an annual drop of -10%. There was a more marked decrease of -15% from Q3 to Q4 in 2018 as the deadline to leave the EU looms nearer – whether that’s 29th March or 30th June.

“However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some encouraging news can be found in the reported softening of raw material price increases from Q3 to Q4, with 5% fewer members reporting significant increases and over 40% of members saying that prices have stabilised.”

While retailers continue to be by far the largest outlet for UK manufacturers’ products, the steady rise of DTC trade now accounts for approximately 11% of output, compared to 4% just three years ago.

The NBF Sales Tracker and Barometer of Trade report is available in full to the federation's members.