The Rs 1,000 cr mattress giant, ventured into the online space and launched offline experience centres amid the COVID pandemic. Are its mattresses a raging lullaby?
Sleep is the real superpower. The COVID pandemic, for all its woes, brought this adage under the spotlight and managed to strike a blow to the burgeoning hustle culture and its disdain towards sleep.
Every superpower, however, needs a path to express itself. And, in this case, it is nothing but a warm and cuddly mattress. India seems to have finally embraced the pathway to sound sleep, thanks to this mattress.
A Research and Market report reveals that the overall mattress market grew at a CAGR of over 11% in the last five years. While the unorganised sector dominates the market, the organised one has grown at a CAGR of around 17% in the last five years, thanks to the rising earning capabilities of the consumers.
Mattresses are now indicators of a quality investment into health. However, one doesn’t buy them every day and most households pick one keeping at least 7-10 years in mind. Often, a family goes to a dealer or the local mattress seller where the primary buying influence is price.
”We have found that even if the family is living together, the younger generations are becoming the influencers,” reveals Smita Murarka, chief marketing officer, Duroflex, tearing apart the assumption of the family’s head taking the first and the final call when it comes to buying a mattress.
The legacy brand, which as per Business World is now a Rs 1,000 crore brand, known mostly for its line of orthopaedic mattresses, is not the most affordable one, with prices starting around the Rs 20,000 mark. “We start interacting with, and appealing to, everybody who is 25 years of age and upwards,” says Murarka.
To appeal to all age groups, Duroflex divides customers into life stages. Its orthopaedic mattress range (called Duropedic) caters to 30-somethings, who lead a hectic lifestyle. There is a premium natural living range (eco-friendly) for the above 40 year olds, who are conscious about consumption.
The brand battles with the likes of Wakefit, Sleepwell, Kurlon, The Sleep Company, among others, online as well as offline for sleep supremacy.
Despite such consumer markers for better targeting, is the Indian consumer willing to shell out so much money for a mattress?
Murarka says that one of the biggest reasons for people to not spend so much money on mattresses, isn’t the lack of money. It’s because “they don’t think it’s valuable enough or makes sense. The minute brands like us start giving scientific reasons on why mattresses and sleep solutions are important, and are able to connect with people, then upgrading is an easier decision to make.”
Today, a mattress is available both online and offline. Duroflex, which started its omni-channel journey as a D2C brand amid the pandemic, sees a healthy number of buyers from its physical stores as well as its website.
Murarka says they see potential customers spend a lot of time on online research. When these consumers walk into the brand’s experience centres, “they are 80% certain of their choice for Duroflex, it's just the choice of mattress.”
It was after the first COVID wave in May 2020 that Duroflex launched its first experience store. Before this, the brand, for the past 50 years, had been selling through its dealer networks.
“We have thousands of dealers and they are an important backbone of our business because ultimately, they know the nook of the country and can relate to a certain kind of audience,” mentions Murarka
This move to stores and online was “fuelled a lot thanks to COVID and for businesses like us, it was the vaccine we needed, in terms of accelerating consumer awareness.”
Before this move and the pandemic itself, Duroflex was a regional brand from South India, with “some presence” in the west. Murarka says Duroflex is a now leading national brand that sees “high growth in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Pune, Kolkata.”
Duroflex also exports mattresses to the US and to brands from Europe. It is also starting to export to the Middle East and recently participated in the Middle East Expo.
And while at it, the brand has ventured into furniture offerings too. Says Murarka, “We are not a furniture brand, we are just into living spaces.”
The brand has been silent about its campaigns despite having actress Alia Bhatt as its ambassador. The last ad, featuring Bhatt, was released nearly a year ago. When asked, Murarka remarks, “You should expect a new campaign soon.”