Impact of COVID-19 on the Global and Indian Mattress Market

COVID-19 has shaken the global economy and its full impact is yet to be seen as India is still grappling with containing the virus. While some sectors like pharma and diagnostics have benefitted from COVID-19, some sectors like aviation are trying to sail through, and others have seen massive lay-offs and are on the verge of shutting down. According to a study by Technavio, a global research and advisory firm, the global mattress market are poised to grow by USD 14.36 billion during 2020-2024. The APAC region is expected to take half of the chunk. In India, the mattress market is around 18.6 million units, with an estimated new demand for mattresses at approximately 7 million units per year. However, COVID-19 has had some unprecedented effects, some of which are already visible.

Particularly on the retail side, where there has been nil customer footfall during the lockdown and after. There has been a lull over the last 3 months and as expected, there is also a heavy cash crunch, and companies may choose to pay against supply. The online medium is still available for all mattress manufacturers and the stress is on connecting with customers online and ramping up efforts in the digital space. Especially so, considering the fact that people will largely be spending their time on the internet for most of the foreseeable future.

This has to be the biggest take-away for mattress manufactures and retailers. Despite the lockdown, people were working, studying, shopping and going about their lives online. With eCommerce reaching beyond Tier 1 & 2 cities, a wider market has opened up for companies. We believe that this is the time to be advertising and finding innovative means and ways to engage and connect with people.

Many experts also believe that with people confined to their homes for an extended period of days, they will be looking at ways and means to make their stay comfortable. Given that most homes do not have an ergonomic setup, furniture would probably see a surge. Somewhere on the list would also be upgrading mattresses. With restrictions on movements, home delivery too will become routine.

Going forward, most consumers would want to opt for superior quality and risk-free products and will look for the highest safety standards and efficacy, particularly with respect to mattresses. Manufacturers, retailers and other mattress related industry players need to clearly communicate why their products and supply chains should be trusted, and also need to emphasize more on their manufacturing process and how safe their products are.

Within the mattress segment, there has been arising popularity of eco-friendly mattresses made of latex. This is stated as one of the prime reasons driving the mattress market growth for the next few years. With rising concerns of pollution, shifting consumer demands for pollution-free products, organic mattresses are finding popularity among the people since they are devoid of any harmful chemicals and are manufactured using natural elements. Latex is also naturally hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial, to begin with – an added immunity which is a blessing during times like COVID.

At Sarvotham’s Spine Care Mattress, we have zero dependencies on China for raw materials. All materials are sourced from within the country, except for latex which is sourced from Belgium. Post-COVID, our strategy will remain in line with consumer sentiment. We have adopted a digital-first strategy for marketing and have also completely migrated to the online channel from the traditional medium for sales. We have also shrunk our profits and absorbed costs to ensure that the additional cost is not levied on our customers.

Hygiene is of utmost importance for us, at the core of which is the safety of our employees and our customers. With a focus only on Bangalore for now, all our deliveries are being made in-house too which gives us more control on hygiene. In this regard, we have changed the manufacturing process, and have ensured certain SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) have been put in place. Checks and balances have been added to material handling and are being strengthened. We have purchased UV lights that help kill any bacteria and germs on the product. We also ensure that our dispatches are thoroughly sanitized before and during transportation. We also don’t accept returns against purchases keeping in mind the hygiene factor.

Lastly, online sales in the overall mattress segment are estimated to close at Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of Rs 500 crores in FY20 growing at the highest rate of 25% year on year in India. Despite the pandemic, we believe that prices for the customer may only increase marginally. With the right efforts in understanding customer requirements, there is still potential do well. As noted earlier, there are opportunities for the industry that needs to be explored further.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelloPost.)

Contributed by Dr. Vijay Sarvotham, Non-Invasive Spine Specialist & Founder at Sarvotham’s Spine Care Mattress