BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews conducted and 8 years interviewing experience
Book a coaching

Hi, I got this market sizing question during an interview. How many mattresses are sold in the US per year ?

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
replied on 02/05/2018
BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews conducted and 8 years interviewing experience

While I agree with the demand side approach outlined by Bruno, for me the answer suggested would not meet the bar as it is missing entire segments of market:

- hotels (this would make it a pass)

- hospitals and prisons (this would make it good because we can discuss if these are same mattresses or specialty ones)

- recreational vehicles (this would make it exceptional since it's a relatively tiny market vs the two above)

also if case is done in current year and is in US I would definitely highlight the uptick in demand due to new D2C players that made people replacement cycle shorter (but I might be biased here since I worked as an advisor for this industry and have intimate knowledge of the numbers).

hope it helps,


Bruno replied on 02/05/2018
McKinsey Associate | London Business School consulting coach, with 300+ mock interviews | 100% recommendation rate!

Hey Eli,

Find below a quickly drafted proposal on how to crack it

Population of the US: 320M

Average household size: 3 (rationale: a mix between couples with no children and familities that often have more than one child; in the US it might be even closer to 4, but the idea is just to guarantee you're able to come up with the right way to solve it and some reasonable numbers, don't need to be 100% accurate as they are just assumptions!)

Number of households: 320M / 3 = 107M

Average number of mattresses (beds) per household: 2 (double one for couple + individual one for children; again this number needed to be scaled up a bit I if considered bigger household size assumptions)

Number of mattresses in the US = 107M * 2 = 214M

Assuming a replacement rate of 10 years = 214M / 10 = 21.4M is the number of mattresses sold every year in the US

Finally, if you want to go even a step further: to this number you might want to add some numbers for a growing real estate market (new incomers for US getting their first house or people moving homes significantly below the 10 years considered in replacement rate)



Francesco replied on 02/05/2018
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for meetings done (1100+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Eli,

Agree with Andrea. You can consider the following macro elements to structure this problem. Ideally you would like to structure in a table, with each variable as a column and each group (household and businesses) as a row:

  • A) Groups who buy the product. For mattresses:
    • Households
    • Businesses (eg Hotels, Hospitals). Will keep hotels only for simplicity for the remaining. In the actual interview, you should consider the other groups as well.
  • B) Number of units per group. For mattresses:
    • Households: 320M/3~110M
    • Businesses (Hotels only for simplicity): 50k
  • C) % in the group that use the product. For mattresses:
    • Households: 99% (exclude some thin subsegments with waterbed or similar)
    • Businesses (Hotels only for simplicity): 100%
  • D) Number of units per group that use the product. Just multiply B*C:
    • Households: ~105M
    • Businesses (Hotels only for simplicity): 50k
  • E) Number of products needed per group
    • Households: 2 (1 for parents and 1 for child)
    • Businesses (Hotels only for simplicity): 200. Could average small (50 rooms), medium (300 rooms) and large (2000 rooms) hotels, weighting more the small and medium.
  • F) Number bought in one year. Assuming 10 years replacement: multiply D*E/10
    • Households: 21M
    • Businesses (Hotels only for simplicity): 1M
  • G ) Total = 22M

Checking online, the actual number is 35M as for the following link, due to the fact we did not include hospitals and similar other facilities.

In case you don't know it, to estimate the number of hotels the easiest thing would to

  • estimate the demand of rooms needed per day
  • estimate the supply per room per day of the average hotel (200 as for our previous estimate)

and divide the first by the second. The full solution for that would be good for a new question ;)




Related BootCamp article(s)

Market Sizing

Market Sizing Cases are used to test your quantitative and reasoning skills. The interviewer evaluates your structure, numbers-handling and business sense.

12 Comment(s)

Important Facts

It's essential to know some key figures regarding geographies, population, economies for your case interviews. We summarized them for you here.

9 Comment(s)

Related case(s)

Oliver Wyman case: Full Electrons Ahead

Solved 20.4k times
4.8 5 3316
| Rating: (4.8 / 5.0)

Your client, large automotive OEM WyCar, has developed its first fully electric vehicle (EV) and introduced it as a pilot on the Austrian market last year. However, sales have been far below the expected numbers. The management has engaged you to support them in understanding the reasons and advise ... Open whole case


Solved 29.2k times
4.5 5 854
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |

Nutripremium is a very well-known premium nutrition food company in Europe (€1 billion revenue last year). It is based in Spain and has an excellent market share not only in its home country but also in Portugal, France, Italy and Germany. Nutripremium has two main lines of products: Vitam ... Open whole case

Children vaccine

Solved 27.5k times
4.4 5 780
| Rating: (4.4 / 5.0) |

Beyer, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, just invented a very reliable vaccine against Chickenpox, a disease that affects children in the age from 2 to 16 years. Beyer came to you wondering what their potential sales in Europe in the first year would be if they launched th ... Open whole case

Gas station

Solved 20.0k times
4.4 5 395
| Rating: (4.4 / 5.0) |

How many gas stations are there in Paris? Suppose a friend of yours wants to open a gas station in Paris. What aspects should he consider? Open whole case


Solved 12.3k times
4.5 5 389
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |

Your client, Fairway, is a manufacturer and supplier of golf balls. The company is acting globally in almost every market. They are now planning to expand to Portugal, but they do not have any information about the market there. Portugal is a small country in West Europe with a population o ... Open whole case