In conversation with Harshil Salot, Co-Founder, The Sleep Company
“At The Sleep Company, we constantly strive to revolutionise the way people sleep and are thrilled to be at the forefront of the rapidly evolving mattress industry. IME's upcoming edition presents a fantastic opportunity to delve into the latest innovations, be it in materials, technology, or design, in the mattress manufacturing industry. We see this exhibition as a crucial hub for connecting with fellow industry leaders and furthering our knowledge in this expanding field."
Q1. How important is research and development to your company's approach for creating new and innovative products?
A1. At The Sleep Company, research is at the core of everything we do. Our journey as a brand began with a passion to revolutionise the sleep industry and address the lack of science-backed, innovative mattress solutions. After a comprehensive two-year study by our R&D team, we introduced our patented SmartGRID technology, the latest innovation since Memory Foam, which has since been integrated into all of our products. We firmly believe that continuous research and development is key to staying relevant and innovative in the market. Our R&D team's dedication to innovation has led to our success as a comfort-tech brand, offering not only a range of mattresses but also seating solutions and recliner bed frames that provide exceptional comfort and keep our customers coming back for more
Q2. Can you describe any recent innovations or advancements in materials or technologies that your company has implemented in its mattress designs?
A2. Mattresses are a crucial aspect of our lives as we humans spend more than a third of our lives on them. Despite its importance, the mattress industry has seen very little innovation since the introduction of memory foam by NASA in the 1960s. Since then, many brands have relied on the same technology to base their products and not made any significant disruption in the market.
The Sleep Company introduced its patented SmartGRID technology in 2019, which serves as the foundation for all our products. This technology offers a unique combination of softness and firmness in specific areas, providing advanced posture support and unparalleled motion isolation, eliminating any disturbance caused by a partner's movement. The SmartGRID technology also offers optimal temperature control with its 2500+ air channels and premium cover, ensuring a cool and comfortable sleep. Additionally, the durability of SmartGRID is unmatched as it doesn't sag or sink like traditional foam, coir, spring or memory foam mattresses, thanks to its ultra-elastic material.
Over these years, we have expanded the use of our patented, game-changing technology to a range of smart sleep accessories including adjustable beds, pillows, seat cushions, and back cushions. Additionally, we have developed the SnowTec cooler technology for our plush pillow range. Our innovative technology, unique product offerings, and unique business model are what sets us apart as a leader in the industry.
Q3. How do you stay current on the latest trends and consumer preferences in the mattress industry?
A3. Staying up-to-date on the latest trends and consumer preferences in the mattress industry is crucial for any modern brand to remain relevant. As a D2C brand, we have the advantage of having a direct connection with our customers, allowing us to have a better understanding of their needs and preferences. By constantly monitoring and analysing customer feedback, conducting market research, and staying updated on industry developments and advancements, we come up with fresh insights on what the trends are and in which direction are consumers headed. For example, we realised that while we were doing well on digital marketplaces, our customers were still wanting to touch-and-feel the product before making a purchase. Hence, we started our physical stores so that our customers have a physical experience of our brand and the products we offer. Moreover, garnering real time feedback from customers allows for more astute product development and consumer satisfaction, as is evident through the success of our orthopaedic line. Indian sleepers face many lifestyle challenges, especially with their backs and this insight led us to develop our orthopaedic
range which has been immensely successful. Additionally, we have a strong community on social media where we engage with our customers and monitor market trends and competition. All of these incorporated into our wider business strategy ensures that we stay ahead of the curve and provide the latest products and services to meet the evolving needs and preferences of consumers.
Q4. In your opinion, what is the current market potential for the mattress industry?
A4. The pandemic has caused a shift in the way people perceive sleep and the awareness of sleep related products. India especially has become more sleep conscious and the past two years have seen a growing awareness among consumers of the value of lifestyle products that support physical and mental health. An ergonomically supportive mattress is no longer considered a luxury or a lifestyle choice, but rather an investment in overall well-being that appeals to a wider range of consumers. Factors such as rising income levels, growing health consciousness, and the expansion of the real estate and hospitality industries have also contributed to the growth of India's mattress market.
Valued at USD 39.4 billion in 2021, the global mattress market is expected to continue its growth trajectory, with a projected CAGR of 6.2% between 2022-2030. In India, the mattress market has grown at a CAGR of 11% in the last five years, with the organised industry growing at 17%. The mattress category in India is worth `12,000-13,000 crore, with the organised segment commanding 40% of the market share. This can be attributed to the shift in consumer perception towards health and wellness products. The pandemic and the rise of ecommerce and D2C have played a major role in boosting the online mattress market, leading to a growth of almost 100% in online purchases. The Sleep Company saw its own growth skyrocket, with a 10X increase during the pandemic and over 400% growth in the last year.
Q5. How important are forums like India Mattresstech and Upholstery Supplies Expo to build awareness and promote collaboration amidst the Industry Stakeholders?
A5. The Sleep Company actively participates in forums, panels and industry events like the IME. We believe that forums like India Mattresstech and Upholstery Supplies Expo are crucial for building awareness and fostering collaboration among industry stakeholders. The events not only provide a platform for companies and individuals to showcase their offerings but are also an apt opportunity to exchange ideas and network with peers. They allow for open discussion and collaboration on the latest advancements and challenges in the industry, and help to promote growth and innovation. At The Sleep Company, we encourage participation in such forums since they can have a significant impact on the overall development of the industry and the businesses within it.