According to several industry insiders, most Indians would buy a mattress as long as it is thick. However, few have heard of the ‘memory foam’. A NASA project in the 1970s for upgrading seat cushioning and crash protection for pilots and passengers gave birth to this type of foam. The material moulds itself under one’s body heat and pressure and remembers one’s posture - hence the name ‘memory foam’.
Over the past five years or so, in the United States, there has been a huge demand for the memory foam mattress with the country’s online mattress market valued at nearly $30 billion. Casper, an online mattress seller launched in 2014, raised $340 million in funding and is valued at over $1 billion.
There has also been a growth of a huge number of start-ups in this sector in India. Industry insiders are of the opinion that body pain, one of the predominant problems in most of the households, seem to have driven the demand for the memory foam. According to media sources, the Indian mattress market is around $1.7 billion and is expected to grow at CAGR of 10% to reach $2.5 billion by 2022.
Reacting to memory foam, Tarun Chugh, Founder, Shinysleep, one of the mattress brands in India, told BE, “The memory foam mattresses is made from certified components without any use of metal and the body shape mattresses have a long lifespan with minimal loss of support.” He went on explaining the benefits of this type of mattresses and said, “Orthoplus memory foam mattress is a combination of memory foam, high resilience foam, bonded foam and cool foam. The premium quality foam helps in distributing the body weight evenly, providing relaxation to the pressure points, up to a whopping 80% to eliminate numbness and soreness. The innovative ergonomic design eliminates negative space in-between the body and mattress, providing proper posture support and alignment for deep and restorative sleep.”
In India, the mattress market is mainly dominated by the unorganised sector – street-side shops and local ginners fall under this category. This sector accounted for about 65% of the sales in 2017. The unorganised sector use cotton filler, as it is the cheapest of the many options that are now available for mattresses. However, the organised sector is now fast growing, with increasing demand for good quality mattresses among Indian consumers.
Chugh stated that they are witnessing a big change in the industry and people are becoming more aware about mattresses. There has also been a minimum shift of 10-15% of mattress selling business from offline to online.
The variety offered by the organised players is also an important factor. Regarding the variations offered by his company, Chugh stated, “We made lot of changes in foam
to keep the customer’s body relaxed during our research and development (R&D). Now, we are making mattresses which are not too soft or not too hard.”
Industry insiders state that the Indian consumers prefer international brands, whenever they
think of high-quality and contemporary products. Organised players sell mattresses through both online and offline mediums. The offline mattress market consists of retail sales of mattresses from dealers/distributors or franchised stores. Several industry insiders are of the opinion that there are lot of competitors who tries to just focus on price and not on the
actual customer need. Hence, customers end up buying the wrong mattresses. Chugh stated, “Educating the customer about mattresses through knowledge sharing on website, social media and videos and having a core team to pass on the desired information to the end customer is the key.”
There has been an increase in demand for mattresses in India due to the growing number of residential units over the years. In addition to that, there is a requirement for hundreds of
beds and mattresses at every new hotel and it appears that the hospitality industry is thriving in India.
The Indian mattress industry is evolving at a rapid pace. However, there are many trends that it can follow. Chugh stated, “After doing a lot of research, we are now launching a natural latex mattress and conducting more research on sleeping products and expanding business in the offline market in India.”