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One of the UK’s First Online Retailers Mattress Online Celebrates 20th Anniversary Milestone

One the UK’s pioneering online retailers, now a leading retailer of mattresses and beds, is celebrating 20 years of success.

Over the past two decades, from humble beginnings storing mattresses in a garage, Mattress Online has grown to become the largest stockist of mattresses, and other sleep-related products, in the UK and has played a major role in shaping how we shop online today.

Launched when the internet was still in its infancy, Mattress Online emerged as an e-commerce pioneer after seizing an opportunity to address a gap in the market. Well ahead of retail giants and major supermarkets, the company boldly launched its website, offering a fresh approach to buying mattresses.

Steve Adams, CEO of Mattress Online, foresaw an opportunity when less than two percent of all retail purchases were carried out online.

Now, 20 years later, he’s at the forefront of UK e-commerce in the fourth biggest e-commerce market in the world. Now almost a third of all retail purchases are made online.

He said:

“In the early days of Mattress Online, the idea stemmed from a debate I had with co-founder Steve Kelly, about whether people would be willing to buy mattresses without a chance to bounce on them in-store and try them out.   “The lightbulb moment occurred when I realised Argos already had that type of business model, but they weren’t selling products online. That’s where we came in, to plug that gap in the market.”

As one of the first e-commerce sites in the UK bed sector, growth has always been underpinned by the in-house development team which continually innovates and finds smarter ways to use technology to make the customer experience slicker.

During the pandemic, Mattress Online saw its turnover leap to a record £37.5m, fuelled, in part, by stay-at-home spending on DIY and homeware. Since then, the award-winning company has committed to rolling out 10 physical stores over a five-year period. It currently has physical stores in Sheffield, Rotherham, and Skipton.

Now in late 2023, the company reaches an exciting milestone, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary this December. It will be hosting a big birthday bash for employees old and new.

Joining the company’s present team of 83 will be several employees who have been an integral part of Mattress Online’s journey over the past two decades.

This includes Martin Mitchell, previous business partner and supporting neighbour, his brother Nigel and Nigel’s wife Emma, who worked for the company in the mid 2000’s, as well as John Todd-Hunter who worked for the company in 2005, Lee Bennett, founding member of the digital team, and Rick Pearson, once a member of the retail team

“Mattress Online has always had family at its heart. Our commitment goes beyond words, it’s a part of who we are. Whether it’s fostering a close-knit atmosphere within our team, welcoming multiple family members as valued employees, or personally working alongside my brother Martin, Chief Innovation Officer, family is not just a concept—it’s a reality,”

Steve adds

“Even our beginnings are tied to family, with my parents, Roy and Nuala, playing crucial roles in our early days—packing pillows and crafting the packing tables still used in our warehouse today. As we celebrate our journey, this party is our way of saying a big thank-you to everyone who’s been part of the Mattress Online family since the beginning. It’s all about celebrating what makes us who we are!”

With a comprehensive health and wellbeing initiative, prioritising better sleep for employees and customers through partnerships with The Sleep Geek and Cavendish Cancer Care, and actively backing local and national charities such as Zarach, Cherrytree and The Sleep Charity, as well as professional and grassroots sports groups, Mattress Online puts people first.

Steve said:

“It’s the organic growth of this community, expanding alongside the website and the company’s physical footprint, that will drive Mattress Online toward a thriving future over the next two decades.”