In conversation with Rakesh Chahar, Chairman, Indian Sleep Production Federation

"We invite you to explore the recent advancements in mattress technology at the upcoming edition of India Mattresstech + Upholstery Supplies Expo 2023. From innovative materials, products, solutions to cutting-edge technology, attendees will have the opportunity to experience the latest trends. We are proud to bring together industry leaders and experts to share their knowledge and insights on the future of the industry. Join us to discover the latest in mattress technology."

Q1: How do you see the Mattress and Upholstery industry evolving in the next few years?

A1: The Mattress Industry hopes to have a promising future in the next few years. Consumers are more involved now and showing greater interest in choosing the right mattress for a comfortable Sleep. Especially after Covid, consumers are giving more attention towards their health and realizing the Importance of Mattress for Quality Sleep, Good Health and Immunity.

The rise of Online Businesses and Digital Marketing opportunities promise the brand reach to a wider consumer base. Brands are now investing more in spreading the Consumer Awareness on importance of mattress for physical comfort. This has brought in a substantial change in Consumer Behavior in a low involvement category like Mattress.

Q2: How is technology impacting the development of the Mattress and Upholstery industry?

A2: The ergonomically designed mattresses for the natural spinal alignment, pillows that suit the varying needs for head and neck adjustments, the germ protection formula in the products, sleep products especially designed considering medical needs, compressed sleep products delivery in a box: these are a few examples that demonstrate how newer technologies have revolutionized the way sleep products are designed and delivered to the new age consumers.

Not limited to the sleep products, the upholstery industry has also advanced manifolds by the use of latest technologies to the smart and comfortable product innovation that fill the need gap of the consumers.

Q3: What role does an event like IME play to benefit those in the Mattress and Upholstery industry?

A3: The showcase of the latest technologies in Materials, Machinery, Fabrics, Foams, Product Innovations and Seminar Sessions: all of this offer deep insights in designing mattresses and products that are best suited for the human body. The diverse exhibits and interactive sessions also offer great networking opportunities for visitors. Events like IME actively supports Indian Brands in manufacturing international standards of Sleep Comfort Products for our new age discerning Indian consumers.

Q4: Can you discuss any specific trends or developments in the industry that will shape the future of this Industry?

A4: Consumer's buying journey has shifted to a more informed decision making, while choosing mattresses that offer them best comfort and support requirements. Consumers have started looking for VALUE in sleep products as compared to just the cost alone.

• Consumers have started investing in not just quality mattress but also in sleep product accessories like Mattress Protectors, better Pillows etc. Consumers have started understanding that sleep products, especially mattresses are an important part of their life and health regime. As it offers them a good, perfect sleeping environment to relax and recharge the body in the appropriate ergonomic way, keeping a lot of health issues away that develop over a period due to a poor mattress / other sleep accessories.

• Consumers are now looking for more convenience, where they get a one stop solution from the brands to buy a new mattress and also responsibly dispose-off the old and unhygienic used mattress, which otherwise will find its place in landfills, addition to the environment pollution.

The Mattress Industry has been a slow-moving industry due to passive consumer involvement. However, the above positive and more involved changes in consumer behavior indicate a revolutionized transformation in the way mattresses and sleep accessories are designed and used by consumers.

Q5: What are some of the latest initiatives of ISPF to further support this growing Industry?

A5: ISPF’s multi-directional 360-degree initiatives in the areas of Indian Bedding Industry growth, networking and expansion are aimed at bringing in innovations in crafting the finest of sleep products and services. Thus, enhancing the consumer’s buying experience and enabling them for choosing the right sleep solution for improving the quality of their sleep without any compromise.

1. ISPF’s Comfort Times Magazine:
• Shares knowledge and experiences of Industry leaders.
• Highlights the Business Opportunities.
• Offers latest industry news.

2. ISPF’s Market Research Activity:
• Our periodic market researches discover the insights and important information to get a wholesome perspective on every aspect of Consumer’s sleeping needs.
• ISPF has conducted about 4 rounds of Market Research and Consumer Behavior in a span of 4 years.
• It combines the latest thinking, sector knowledge, expertise and intelligence to tap into consumer’s behavior and motivations.

3. ISPF has trained more than 3,000 dealers and given certificates to them as 'Certified Retail Partners':
• Through our Retail Partner Certification Program, we deliver training to retailers on product presentation and consumer advantages with an objective to enhance the consumer’s buying experience and thus, skilling retailer to sell sleep as an experience.
• Our Retail Training Program will help you to formulate the most effective mattress selling strategies to increase your customer base and revenue generation.

4. Mattress Circular Journey for Environment Sustainability:
• In the pursuit to take care of the environment, ISPF and IPUA along with recycling partners have taken the initiative of #phenkonahirecyclekaro (Phenko Nahi Recycle Karo). that aims at recycling the used mattresses and not allowing them to go to the landfill, thus to achieve maximum impact on environment sustainability and pollution control.

Q6: What is the theme of the upcoming edition of IME? Kindly share the conference topics as well?

A6: The following points would be highlighted in IME EXPO 2023:

1. Global opportunities for the Mattress Industry: A seminar which will cover export opportunities for the modern mattress - a talk from expert is being considered.
2. MATTRESS FOR THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR: After Covid, the tourist inflow has increased by about 30 percent. Hence, most of the hotels are getting ready for the upcoming seasons. This will be an interesting avenue for increasing the production of sleep products.
3. AUTOMATION IN MATTRESS INDUSTRY: A talk by an international expert would be an added advantage for the visitors.
4. MATTRESS TICKING and new developments in the tapestry industry will attract many consumers.
5. ONLINE PLATFORM for the SLEEP PRODUCTS is another hot topic for the younger generation.
6. MATTRESS RECYCLING will be explained in detail by experts. This will highly improve the SUSTAINABILITY objective of ISPF and IPUA.
7. INNOVATIONS IN P U FOAM will be another important topic for consideration. The growth in P U Industry is quite appreciable year on year. There is a growth of 8 to 10% and the consumer preference among Foam is also increasing. The P U foam share is now about 55% compared to 40% three years back. Along with Foam, customers are also preferring spring-based mattress. Though the growth is slow, but growing steadily.
8. NEW PRODUCTS / COMPONENTS like Adhesives, Packaging etc. also will be discussed in detail which add more value to the visitors.

One of the main take away of the EXPO is that the modern mattresses are preferred more by the consumers of not only metro cities but also in huge quantities by tier-3 & tier-4 town people.

The brand penetration is quite evident and visible. This encourages all the brands to expand their focus on all smaller towns as well.