Two trends around weighted blankets include the growing market shift from fad to mainstream usage and the entry of new players, such as Pizza Hut, with other key players, such as Tranquility, gaining prominence.
(i) Usage: The Shift From Fad to Mainstream
- Weighted blankets, which, until recently, were thought to be only a craze, are now becoming mainstream, mainly attributed to Gravity Blanket’s mass-marketing initiative.
- The concept of heavy wraps is not itself new, having been used for more than a decade as a calming mechanism for children with sensory disorders, such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- However, Popular Science notes that weighted blankets are now not only being used by consumers but also occupational therapists during sensory integration therapy. Additionally, at least in the US, they are gaining adoption in psychiatric wards as an alternative to traditional treatment methods such as medication or physical restraints.
- According to WebMD, experts estimated that there were half-dozen manufacturers of weighted blankets up until 2018. However, the number had grown to two dozen by the spring 2019, including participants such as Target, who introduced the Pillowfort weighted blankets in response to consumers’ demand for more affordable options for children with special needs.
- Additionally, there has been a growing range of options available to buyers, including waterproof models, cooling weighted blankets, larger weighted blankets, and bundling options, for instance Gravity Blanket’s subscription plan including access to its app as well as a $249 weighted blanket.
- Aside from Gravity Blanket’s initial mass marketing, word of mouth is another key driver of the trend, according to Donna Chambers, founder and CEO of SensaCalm. She notes that the stigma surrounding anxiety and mental health is on the decline, enabling more comfortable discussions and recommendations for weighted blankets.
(ii) New Entrants
- Pizza Hut is one of the most recent entrants into the weighted blankets landscape, having partnered with Gravity Blankets to launch its product for the December 2020 holidays.
- Inspired by the famous pan pizza, the weighted blankets are designed to look like pizza, patterned as though they are covered in cheese, sauce, and pepperoni.
- Crafted using Gravity Blanket’s tested technology, the company claims that the blanket “utilizes the power of weight to relax your nervous system. By achieving deeper sleep, people are supposed to improve cognitive performance, emotional well-being, and physical health.”
- The pandemic’s impact is one of the drivers behind the entry of new players into the weighted blankets market. According to Marketplace, “The pandemic has given their pitches new currency, as more Americans report signs of anxiety and depression.” In the same report, Andrew Csicsila, a retail consultant with AlixPartners is quoted noting that “there’s a handful of companies out there that are really taking advantage of this and seeing the opportunity in this market and are doing quite well.”
- According to George Felix, Pizza Hut’s chief marketing officer, “This partnership with Gravity Blanket was the perfect solution to bring one of our legendary pizzas to life while bringing our fans a little TLC at the same time.”
- On the other hand, American Textile Company, one of the leading suppliers of bedding products in the US, announced IN March 2021 that Tranquility™ weighted blankets, one of its brands, became America’s No. 1 selling brand in the weighted blankets category.
- The ranking is based on a survey conducted by The NPD Group, where 91% of the surveyed consumers stated that Tranquility helped them fall asleep faster, with 92% sleeping more soundly and 87% staying asleep longer with fewer restless awakenings during the night.