How do you cut the clutter in a low involvement category in a digitally connected world? One, focus on value adds. Two, make sure you know where your customers are. Three, devise a well-oiled channel strategy. Four, get the word out.
If you were Duroflex, you would check all the boxes.
In the process, the five-decade-old mattress maker doubled its turnover from Rs 500 crore in FY20 to Rs 1,000 crore in FY22. The company’s managing director Mathew Chandy attributes this growth to a series of “bold moves”, which include ramping up the company’s online presence and expanding its offline footprint. Over the past couple of years, Duroflex opened over 50 new experience centres. It forayed into the furnishing space as well, launching a range of recliners, sofas, sofa beds and bed linen, including an eco-friendly range. The brand widened its portfolio in the mattress space, offering products to address orthopedic needs and made with materials such as latex and pocket spring.
“With most people working from home, and often from their beds, we launched and sold a lot of products through digital channels, and also ramped up our offerings under our digital native brand, Sleepyhead,” says Chandy. The company, which had just 3-4% of its sales coming from digital channels before the pandemic, now sees close to 33% of its sales from e-commerce. Chandy says the brand focused on educating consumers about the value of sleep in the context of building immunity during the pandemic years. It helped that the company received a $60-million funds injection from Norwest Venture Partners last year.
A Rs 2,000-crore opportunity
The mushrooming of digital-first players like Wakefit and The Sleep Company over the past few years has livened up the segment. Chandy says, “The launch of Sleepyhead was not in response to the new, D2C brands but rather to cater to younger, digitally savvy consumers seeking different products and convenient modes of purchase and delivery. This was a trend we identified in developed markets a few years ago.” Earlier this month, Ranveer Singh was named the face of Sleepyhead. Last year, Duroflex had roped in Alia Bhatt as brand ambassador.
This fiscal, the brand is stepping up its efforts in markets like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Delhi NCR for retail expansion. “A large part of our growth will come from the new markets, which is why we recently set up a factory in Indore. Currently, the South accounts for the larger share of our business, while around 25% comes from the North and West. We expect new offerings, along with e-commerce, to drive growth. With our sights on the Rs 2,000-crore mark, we plan to add another 50 experience centres in the next 12-15 months,” he adds. An IPO is also in the offing.
A report by RedSeer puts India’s mattress market at around Rs 15,000 crore, and growing at a CAGR of 10%. The branded market, with around 37% share, is expected to grow at a higher CAGR of 13% to occupy 40% share this year. Innovation in the mattress industry has helped increase sales in the branded segment.
Traditional brands have their work cut out for them when it comes to staying relevant to the younger demographic, with the advent of D2C brands that promise 100-day trials, purchasing convenience and 10-year warranties. Therefore, older players in the business like Duroflex will need to borrow from the D2C playbook if they have to take on new-age competition, observes Kartik Iyer, VP and head of Publicis Commerce, India. He says, “The customer has to be at the centre, and brands need to focus on education and strengthening their digital presence. Duroflex has a legacy advantage in this segment that it should leverage, since it has already won consumer trust and understands the market far better than new players. It also has a strong offline presence and solid dealer network, which is critical in a touch and feel category like this.”