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Trends Which Are Going to Dominate the Mattress Industry in 2017 When Indian consumers travel abroad, they are exposed to international levels of sleeping comfort of the finest innerspring mattresses. These experiences remain with them when they come back, as they hope and search for a similar experience back at home.

By K. Madhavan

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Dominated by electronic items, research studies on the preference of consumer durables almost always fail to categorise mattresses as even a consumer durable. This wouldn't be surprising, considering that the mattress industry is a sector where the interaction between the customer and the product is negligible. People don't give enough importance to the kind of mattress they sleep on until they actually go to bed. Once they wake up, the trivialities of the world take over the minds and they are lost to it once again. However, of late, a radical shift from this thought-process has been taking place. And in the coming year, this shift could revolutionise the way we sleep.

Amplified growth of India's mattress industry

The mattress industry in India is an amalgamation of the organized and the unorganized. Because of this, no scientific analysis on the size of this industry has been conducted till date. However, experts estimate it to be worth Rs. 4,000-6,000 cr. We are currently moving towards a much-developed India, filled with aspirations and wanting to maintain "the perfect lifestyle". This, along with a high preference for nuclear families, growth in the real-estate sector, residential units, and hospitality sector, play a major role in making it big for the mattress industry. With several global players also being keen on investing in Indian mattress companies, the industry will see a spiralling growth in the future.

Spring mattresses will rule

The outbound travel market of India is one that has been generating much furore due to its swift growth in the past couple of years. According to a prediction by the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation), there will be 50 million outbound travellers from India by 2020. And this will be dominated by those going on vacation or business trips. When Indian consumers travel abroad, they are exposed to international levels of sleeping comfort of the finest innerspring mattresses. These experiences remain with them when they come back, as they hope and search for a similar experience back at home.

Spring mattresses are light, and provide ideal support to the body as they are neither too hard nor too soft, due to which they hold the premier spot, globally. This coming year, India is expected to see a surge in foreign tourist arrivals. With about 70% of the global population in developing and developed countries preferring to sleep on spring mattresses, this will give the manufacturing and acceptance of spring mattresses the much-needed thrust it needs in the Indian market.

Functionality over Product

Generally, manufacturers are solely worried about the capitalization of their investment. Consequently, marketing is directed at promoting the product rather than promoting healthy sleep. This year has seen a gradual shift is this approach.

Due to the changing trends in the relationship between the manufacturer and the consumer, there is more emphasis on the promotion of a healthy sleep. In the future, mattress companies will not only convey the functional features of the product and focus on brand-building, but will also attend to the positive impacts of a good night's sleep. Popular brands have realised that what is currently being done is not enough, and hence, will invest more on PR and marketing initiatives, conduct seminars and conferences in an effort to educate the public on the subject. This will help bring about a change in the mindset of people.

Influence of hospitality and real estate

The hospitality sector has always acted as a revenue generator for the mattress industry. In the coming year, the boom of the hospitality and tourism sectors will converge to create demand for high-quality mattresses that can facilitate the need for the same by concerned consumers.

The mattress industry traditionally shows proportional growth with the real estate. However, the influence wavers from time to time. Due to the recent demonetisation of certain currency notes, there will be bumps in the sector, until April 2017. By then the industry is expected to thrive again. Consequently, the mattress industry, with respect to real estate, will reflect a similar trajectory of growth.

Rise of luxury mattresses

Consumers are more open to pay for quality products. From mattresses simply being a needed product to sleep on, consumers have specifications in the type of mattress, such as international-level comfort, elegance, classy finish, luxury, and better support.

In the past year, the sales of entry-level mattresses, which is the prime revenue generator in the market, has drastically dropped. It has also been observed that people are now seeking the best for their sleep, such as premium-level mattresses with all-in-one features and extra luxury.

In order to facilitate this demand, the production of luxury mattresses will see a rise.

Size matters- no more

Another peculiar fact of the Indian mattress market of is that there has always been high demand for customised mattresses rather than standard sizes. 30% of the Indian customers prefer customized sizes whereas this only remains true for about 5% of the customers abroad. This is a consequence of the long-held Indian tradition of tailor-made cot sizes that accommodate the rules of Vaastu while also fitting perfectly into the nooks of Indian houses. However, this trend is taking a walk towards standard sizes due to rising numbers in supermarkets and lifestyle stores.

No change in market for advanced technologies

The market does not seem strong for advanced mattresses such as gel-filled beds, water beds and air beds. These are technologies that have existed for a long time, and consumers cannot be fooled with tags claiming old technology as new. While it may catch the fancy of some, it is not here to stay.

K. Madhavan

Managing Director, Peps Industries Pvt. Ltd

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